Clocks, Watches/mainspring

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Question
I have a steeple clock from New England Clock co. The movement,I believe, is Urgos UW 16/60. When I was winding the clock, I heard the spring snap. The key now moves freely. There is no wind up tension. I removed the barrel containing the spring and removed the cover. The spring has a hole in it at the end of the spring. There is a round piece which the key goes into to wind the spring. It has a small nub on it which I believe used to engage the hole but it seems too short. Could that piece be broken. What is that piece called? If I could find it online maybe I could replace it. Am I missing something. Everything else seems fine but that's from a laymans eyes. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Answer
James, I am reluctant to give advice on mainsprings, because of the danger of injury if they get out of hand when handling them.  However, you seem to have done a good job of getting it out.  The barrel houses a mainspring with two hole ends.  Sometimes the end of the mainspring on the inside becomes deformed when the ratchet click malfunctions and the mainspring jumps backwards.  It is one of the more difficult jobs in clockmaking to form the inside loop so it will catch on the "nub", or hook.  The nub is usuall small so it doesn't protrude to the next coil of the spring.  They usually don't go bad.  If the arbor (shaft) is defective, it would not available from suppliers stock, but a clockmaker experienced in this work can repair one. It could be that the hole in the mainspring has cracked or deformed and will not catch.  Then it is time for a new mainspring. This Urgos movement is not made anymore.  Urgos went out of business many years ago.  Hermle bought their stock and some tooling and manufactures some of the grandfather movements only.  If you measure the thickness (to the ten thousandths of an inch, like .0165"), width and length of the mainspring, it is possible that one of the suppliers could stock it.  If you think that is what it might be, get those dimensions and send them to me and I will see if I can find a supplier that has one. There are other things to check when replacing mainsprings, such as if the spring did let go, look for damage to the teeth of the barrel, the teeth of the pinion and signs of wear on the next arbor.  Also check to see if the click and click spring holding the barrel ratchet are functioning properly.  Look forward to hearing back from you.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama  

Clocks, Watches

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John Newman

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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