You are here:

Clocks, Watches/Howard Miller grandfather clock


My grand father clock 's left weight wont wind up. I have had it for 15 years. I have moved with it twice. After one of the moves the builders men had to replace a broken tile in my foyer and they moved they clock and did not take the weights out.I called a repair man to come in so that I could have the clock recallibrated. He said the clock needs a cleaning and  kept the clock : without the case(the inner part/mechanism ) for three days before bringing it back  worked fine until my second move. Now the left weight wont move at all. other weights work fine but the left feels as if the gears are stuck. I tried as hard as I possibly can without breaking anything but no results. It is a Howard Miller grandfather clock. Model numder-610-751. Its called the Fairfield. Moon phase, cable driven,westminister melody, and accessible from both sides by way of removable glass panels. A beautiful clock that I wanted to hand down to my child. It brings back some nostalgic memories of a bygone time. I would like it to work again. Mope that the info provided will give you a better idea of the kind of clock. Any suggestions PLEASE.  I would VERY much appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks in advance and keep up the good work.

Paulette, you did give me some very good information on the type of clock movement you have.  I believe you are referring to the left weight as you face the clock.  That would be the strike weight.  It doesn't really matter, as the following applies to all weights.  The most common cause of the cables jamming is when the weight is removed and the cable becomes loose and crosses or comes off the drum. This can also happen if the cable is wound without a weight on it. I a rather sure that there is a clear plastic shield over the drum to help keep the cable from crossing or coming off. Sometimes it doesn't work under certain circumstances.  The cable can wrap around the winding arbor(some people call it a shaft, stem or something like that).  When it is wound, the cable jams on the arbor.  If it is wound further until it gets tight, it very well can become crimped.  It would require the services of an experienced clockmaker to take the movement out of the case and replace the cable.  Sometimes the cable drum has to be removed from the movement to removed and replace the cable.  There is one more possibility of a jammed cable, and that is a device called the stopworks.  It consists of two gears, one on the winding arbor.  The are designed so that they will stop the winding at a certain point and stop the running at the end of the weekly run.  They are set so the cables will unwind for 8 days.  However, this only happens when an inexperienced person works on the clock and does not know how to set the gears correctly.  There is ONLY one way to do it.  I find a lot of clocks that are missing these gears because the previous clockmaker did not know how to set them up properly, so they removed them.

This is what I need you to do.  Open the side door and look at the cable drum.  It is about 2 inches in diameter.  This is the part that the cable winds on.  You will see the cable as it has partially wound up on the drum.  Do you see any turns of the cable crossed on wrapped up on the winding arbor?  Get back to me and let me know what you find.  Then we'll go from there.

John Newman
Old Prattvilliage
Prattville, Alabama

Clocks, Watches

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John Newman


As much as I would like to offer values of clocks, I am not a certified appraiser and will not venture into giving an unresearched guess. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". Considerations are what the clock originally sold for, the condition of the case and movement, and particularly the area in which you live, the demand and the economy. ALSO, WATCHES ARE NOT MY FIELD. However, I can advise the clock owner on proper maintenance of a clock to keep it running, small corrections and adjustments and how to move a clock without damaging it. I can also advise on obtaining parts for clocks. It helps if you can send any information on the clock movement which is usually found on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 35 years and was plant engineer in the mid 90's and later operations and engineering consultant at Emperor Clock Company in Fairhope, Alabama. I now have my own clock shop.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required. With the proper specifications and quality control, some beautiful clock cases were built. The factory people from the wood carvers to the plant manager were very congenial, friendly and I left a lot of wonderful friends when I returned from my trips.

NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) 30 years Prattville, Alabama Chamber of Commerce

Horological Times, a publication of the American Watch and Clockmakers Instute. Collaberated column author, with Photos and ideas for clock movement conversion article.

Associate of Science Mechanical Engineering Technology Emperor Introductory Clock Repair (Eventually taught a portion of the class after becoming employee)

Awards and Honors
Small Business of the Quarter (Prattville, Alabama) Leadership Class of 2009 (Autauga County, Alabama)

©2016 All rights reserved.