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Clocks, Watches/French regulator wall clock won't ding


I have a French regulator wall clock which I'm told is from about 1875; I've had it since the 1960's. I recently had it cleaned and now the chimes don't work. The clock doesn't "click" on the hour and half hour, either. The clock repair man is perplexed, so am I. Any suggestions? I attach a photo of the clock. Thank you.

Kay, that is a very nice clock you have.  By your description, I believe you are telling me that the chime (strike) was working before you had it cleaned.  By cleaned, did the clockmaker disassemble the movement to clean it? It could be that a part or adjustment is out of place.  Since this is for you AND your clockmaker, the following is a technical description:

By the age of your movement, it probably has a count wheel strike mechanism.  The minute hand arbor (shaft) has a two point cam on it with equal height points which trip the hour and half our strike.  The count wheel will allow the hour to strike the number of the hour and one time for the half hour.  I don't think it is a rack and snail strike, but the two would function about the same, as far as the prublem you are having. Just before the hour or half-hour, the cam lifts a lever which is holding a pin on what we call the warning wheel.  When the lever lifts it releases the pin and the warning wheel makes a partial rotation. When the hour or half-hour is reached, the lever or another lever moves out of the way of the warning wheel pin and the strike functions.  At the completion, the warning wheel pin is stopped, ready for the next strike trip.  Without having the movement in my hand, I cannot see what is happening.  But what I would do is carefully lift the strike lifting lever and see if the warning wheel rotates.  If it doesn't, there is a problem in the tripping. It could be that the cam isn't lifting the lever enough to trip the warning wheel.  This is why you wouldn't hear the "click".  I would be more than happy to discuss this with your clockmaker and offer "another head".  Occasionally I have had a perplexing problem which I could not solve. In consulting other clockmakers, they have diagnosed the problem immediately, and I have done the same with others.  A member of our Internet Clocksmiths Group has a problem with a clock and after much discussion, one of the members solved it immediately.  Also, it helps to put it aside and come back later with a fresh mind.  8>)   If you will reply to my shop email address below referencing this question, I will be glad to arrange a contact with your clockmaker and see if we can solve this problem.  For confidentiality, I do not give or ask for personal contact other than my email address for Allexperts questions.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clocks Consultant
Located in Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

(not a mailing address)

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
up questions.

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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)

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