Clocks, Watches/Emperor Black Forest Clocks 451-050H
Recently my family purchased a Emperor Black Forest Clock 451-050H Grandfather clock. The grandfather clock as been refurnished; however, the only complication is we don't know how to set the time and get it working. I've spent two hours looking for any helpful advice, but most of them turn into ads on buying a grandfather clock. I read through your past questions and have learned that our model as three weights (the heaviest one goes on the right if you are facing the clock). However, I am still confused on how to get it to start working and what steps need to be taken to get the clock to work again. If you could please provide guidance and clarity on this issue it would be greatly appreaciated. Thank you in advance for your time and support in this matter!
Stephanie, you are correct in the positioning of the weights. The left and center weights for the Hermle 451, as they are supplied from the clock factories, are either 4.4# or 4.7#, and the right weight is 6.6#. For a clock that is in good running condition and set up properly, the minute hand is moved to set the correct time of day and it is started by swinging the pendulum. One of the most common reasons for a clock not running is that the pendulum parts are not hung correctly. There is a horizontal suspension post at the top center back of the movement plate. From it hangs the suspension spring. The hanger (about 6" long) attaches to it and is connected mid-way to the crutch (the vertical arm that comes out of the top back of the plate). There are two types of crutch connections at the bottom of the crutch; one is like a pin and the other is like a sewing machine foot. The pendulum is hung from the hanger. When the pendulum is started the clock should be "in beat". That is, an even tick tock. I will include a set of instructions I have written for a clock not running. Check these out and if the clock doesn't run, send me a clear photo of the back of the movement with all the pendulum assembly parts in place and I'll see If I can determine what is wrong. My shop email address is below.
THE FIRST LEVEL IS THE SETUP.
For Floor Clocks If the clock is in operating condition but not working, I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor. It should be relatively level. The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.
Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly. On most clocks the weights vary in weight. The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock). If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left. This most often applies to clocks with a stick pendulum. If a decorative metal lyre pendulum is used, the center weight usually has to weigh a little more, sometimes as much as the right chime weight.
Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct? This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring. When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop. Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism. The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it. It will automatically correct itself. If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually. If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that. Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial. Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position. Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.
For Mantel or Wall Clocks The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock. There should be an even beat (explained above). If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other. Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment. Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat. These methods work if the beat is not off too much. If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks are excessive, other adjustments have to be made.
THE SECOND LEVEL INCLUDES MAINTENANCE
Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether. At this point the clock needs to be serviced. This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting. In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts. If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used. In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points. Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers. Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others. This even applies to different clock oils. After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments. I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.
THE THIRD LEVEL IS REPAIR.
This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested. I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Due to the number of Allexperts questions and
the workload I have at my clock shop, I regret
that I cannot answer personal email questions
on a timely basis other than Allexperts follow ups.