Clocks, Watches/German Floor Clock


Hi John,

I work for a clock shop in Richmond, Va and I am wondering your opinion on a floor clock movement that I am working on. The movement is at least 150 years old and has a Bim-Bam chime.

The issue I am running into is that when the clock stops chiming one of the lifting pallets is making contact with the strike wheel and when I adjust the one making contact so that it is not, then the other is making contact. I am worried that the clock over a few years will stop chiming because of the extra pressure created by the lifting pallet being in contact with the strike wheel and there being no forward momentum allowed to help with the chiming.

My solution would be to remove one of the sets of hammers making the clock a single strike instead of a Bim-Bam, but potentially prolonging the life of the clock and its chiming functionality....what are your thoughts?

Thanks, Brad

I am leaving your name out, as I am going to make my answer public.  First I would not remove any parts to correct a malfunction, as it would devalue the clock somewhat and not give the customer the original sound.  If it was working before, and adjustment or repair to a part would correct the problem.  In normal operation, the strike cam rotates until the last hammer of the strike count drops.  It then should stop as close to that last drop as it can to allow the drop.  That will give the next strike room to perform the warning and a little rotation to build up momentum before the next hammer lifts.  There are usually two adjustments in this operation, one being the position of the strike wheel and the other being the amount of warning.  As this 150 year old movement would mostly be hand-crafted, there could be a design error which could make this (these) adjustments critical.  As emailing back and forth, particularly with there being a limited amount of Allexperts questions per day, I would be glad to discuss this on the phone with you.  Contact me at my shop email address below with your phone number and a good timeframe in which to call you, or I will give you my number.  Also, I am a member of the Internet Clocksmiths group of about 700 members world-wide.  We discuss problems like this frequently, along with tips, techniques, and good stories concerning clockmaking.  There is no cost to join and the only real requirement is that you have to be a legitiment clockmaker.  Amateurs are not allowed, as we do discuss customer service, pricing, etc.  We do allow beginners with the requirement that they are experienced in basic work in that simple questions are frowned upon, like "how do you install a bushing?" The basics should be first learned by experience, instruction or self-educated.  If you are interested, I will be glad to fill you in more and how to join.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

Note concerning questions not related to Allexperts:  Because of my commitment to answering Allexperts questions within a prescribed time limit and the large backlog of clock work at my shop, I regret that I cannot answer personal email questions on a timely basis, other than Allexperts follow up questions.  I will try to answer these emails as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience.  

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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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