Clocks, Watches/No Chime

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Question
Hello Mr. Newman,  I have owned a Grandmother Clock that was made by the New England Clock Co. since 1985.  It has a 1984 Franz Hermle movement that keeps great time, but will no longer chime.  It has a choice of three different chimes along with a silent position.  I read where you should not choose a chime while it is sounding a chime.  Perhaps this was done and is now no longer working.  Any thoughts or advice as to how to get the bells to ring again??

Answer
Craig, first of all, the reason the chimes should not be changed during a chiming cycle is that one of the  chime hammer tails could be caught and stuck on a chime drum cam or pin.  If this is the case, look in the side or back of the clock hood and check the chime hammers.  At rest, all hammers should be in alignment, resting about 1/8" from the chime rods.  If one is back in the cocked position, carefully pull it back further to break the jam.  It should release.  Sometimes the minute hand has to be moved around to the hour to active the chime again, or the chime drum can be gently rocked back and forth.

If everything seems to be in order, and the clock hasn't been serviced in the last 7 to 10 years, it could be that the oils have become old and gummy and/or there are worn parts.  Usually the first symptom in this situation is that the chimes slow down and finally stop.  Of course the strike will not function either because it is dependent upon the chime to complete their hour chime.  The only thing that can be done is to have an experienced clockmaker service it.  That would be to test, clean, inspect, repair in necessary, oil and test.

Hit the wrong button to sign my name.

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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