Clocks, Watches/Elgin E 7749

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Question
I have a Elgin E 7749 but I do not have the key for winding. The face of the clock has two portals for winding but the openings are only about 3/16" deep; looks like nylon stems that have been broken off. The ID of the openings Collects# look like they would accept a 1/4- 5/16" Allen key. This unit had been wound regularly but with what?, We don't have a key. Do the two collets thru the face actually twist #turn# with  the appropriately sized Allen Key? Where can I buy a key for this application? What does it look wike? Many thanks for your help with this mystery.

Answer
Bob, as far as I know, the Elgin E7749 is an Asian 31-day time and strike clock.  The normal configuration is that the two holes have steel winding arbors for the mainsprings.  The left one powers the strike and the right on is for the time.  These would not use Allen wrenches but clock keys withe square holes.  Key size for clocks is critical, as they have to fit perfectly.  They should go on without binding and have no more than about 5 degrees of play.  If the key is too big it can slip and the mainspring can kick back and damage the clock and cause serious personal injury.  Also note that the winding should be done slowly, carefully and with your other hand steadying the clock.  I have had clock owners come in with injuries from winding clocks, resulting medical treatment such as having to have serious cuts stitched.  And the 31-day clock are more powerful.  I have seen some slipped or broken 31-day clock mainsprings that have knocked the sides out of clocks.  The only way to select the correct key is to take it to a clockmaker that can match the key to the winding arbors, OR if you can have someone use a set of calipers or micrometer to check the dimension across the flats of the winding arbors, I can find a key for you.  To measure the winding arbors as described above, the hands and dial usually have to be removed.  One of the pitfalls of trying to select a key my name of clock and size of key is that some of these clock manufacturers are not consistent in the winding arbor sizes and the key manufacturer's key sizes vary.

Let me know what you want to do.  BTW, if you'll Google "clock winding key images"  you will see what they look like.  Many of the Asian keys have the winding wings on the key painted black.


John Newman
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Located in 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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