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Clocks, Watches/Sessions Mantle clock


Hello John
Recently purchases an 1890's Sessions Mantle clock (8 day) , it's in fairly good condition with original key and pendulum, keeps time well
I moved the clock and it went out of level, I corrected it and now it's chiming 2 hours 10:00 chimes 12:00. Any suggestions?
Thank you in advance

Hi, Richard.  First a little information on the strike operation of these early American movements.  Your movement has a "count wheel" mechanism.  The advanced and later movements have a "rack and snail" mechanism which automatically strike the proper hour and will correct themselves when the get out of sequence.  On the count wheel type, when the it strikes an hour, the next strike count will strike one more than that.  For example, if it strikes 8, the next strike will be 9, no matter where the hands are or what is changed on the clock such as moving the hands.  One exception is that some clock have an half hour strike (one strike) on the same mechanism.  Therefore it would strike 8, 1, 9, 1, 10, etc.  The exception to that is that some of these clocks have a passing strike on the half hour which is a lever which lifts and drops the strike hammer for the half hour, which does not affect the count wheel strike mechanism.

To answer your question on correcting this, there are a few ways do it.

1.  If this is what we consider a tall kitchen clock, some of these have a piece of wire dropping down on the left side and behind the dial face.  This is a strike trip wire.  Pushing it momentarily up trips the strike and advances it to the next hour (or half hour).  If not, the following can be tried.

2. Some clocks are the "safe-back" type.  This means that the minute hand can be safely turned backwards to set the time or correct the strike count.  The way to check to determine if it is a safe-back clock is to GENTLY turn the minute hand backwards past the hour.  I you hear a click (anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes before the hour) it is a safe-back clock.  If you feel an abrupt stop and the minute hand will move no further, it is not a safe-back clock.  DO NOT attempt to move it any further (When I buy a box of old clock hands at a clock convention, there are more hour hands than minute hands.  This is because many minute hands were broken when people tried to force them backwards).  So, if you have verified it is a safe-back clock, you can move the minute hand forward just past the hour until it strikes.  Now move it back again until it clicks.  Move it forward and it will strike the next hour (or half hour).  Repeat this until the strike count matches the hour hand.  Then to set the clock to the correct time of day, move the minute hand forward, waiting at each hour (and the half if applicable) for the strike to complete it's hourly strike.

If is is not a safe-back clock, the following apply:  

3.  The hour hand can be carefully slipped around to the hour that just struck.  Make sure the hour hand is pushed on so it is not too loose and check to see it is not going to interfere with the dial or minute hand as they pass each other.  To set the clock to the correct time of day, move the minute hand forward, waiting at each hour (and the half if applicable) for the strike to complete it's hourly strike.

3. Another way to set the correct time is after matching the strike to the hour hand is to stop the pendulum and wait until the time of day matches the clock and swing the pendulum to start the clock again.

I hope this helps.  If you have any move questions be sure to get back with me.  Enjoy your clock!

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama  

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John Newman


As I am not a certified appraiser I do not give values of clocks over the Internet. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". However, 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. As clock case model label numbers are difficult to relate to the movements, it is helpful if you can give me the information usually found on the movements themselves. Modern clock movements usually have the information on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 40 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 in Prattville, Alabama.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required at Emperor. 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)

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