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Clocks, Watches/Emperor Clock 501M Movement


I built an Emperor Clock that uses the 501 M Tubular Chime Movement.  I completed the clock in 1986.  It has run very well since I completed it.  However, a problem just recently came up.  The clock now runs for a short time (approximately 30 to 45 minutes)and then stops.  

The weights that drive the mechanism are all in place and appear to move as they should.  I assume the mechanism needs lubrication, but am not sure what to lubricate or what lubricant to use.  I have no experience maintaining clocks (other than my experience building this and one other Emperor clock that used a different movement).

If this sounds like it might be a simple problem, I would appreciate some advice on what to look for and how to approach this situation.  If this sounds like it needs an expert, if you could give any advice about how to find/qualify someone to work on my clock, I would very much appreciate it.  I live in northeast Ohio and there are numerous people listed on the Internet but I have no way to determine who may be capable and who may be nothing but a potential problem.

Thank you

Lou, the tubular chime movements require quite a bit more service (diagnos, cleaning, repair and oiling) than the chime rod types.  If the clock has not been serviced since 1986, it could have old gummy lubricant and/or some worn parts which would contribute to the problem. Unless you have had some experience in servicing these types, I normally do not recommend tackling a tubular type.  

However, as you did build the clock and know how to remove and replace the movement,you could use clock oil and lubricate the clock on all the pivot points and grease the sliding parts such as levers and cams.  You can obtain clock oil and grease from clock parts suppliers such as Timesavers, Merritts Antiques, Black Forest Imports, R&M Imports, Mile High and Ronell.  These are some To do a proper job the movement should be removed from the case and separated from the dial. For my general clock work I use the oil and grease found in the applicators that aren't the most expensive.  

I have checked my list of member of my Internet Clocksmiths Group and do not list anyone in your area.  I will check with an inquiry to see if I missed anyone.  If I do find someone I will get back with you.  The best way I can suggest to find a good clockmaker is to ask around and see if any of your friends or acquaintenances can recommend someone.  If I receive any replies from my group I will get back with you.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

Lou I received a couple of replies from my Internet Clocksmiths Group:

Steve Shroyer  
The Cottage Clock Shop
405 North Union Street
Galion, OH 44833

Bakers Clock Repair.  Damascus Ohio.  You will find him on an internet listing.  

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John Newman


As I am not a certified appraiser I do not give values of clocks over the Internet. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". However, 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. As clock case model label numbers are difficult to relate to the movements, it is helpful if you can give me the information usually found on the movements themselves. Modern clock movements usually have the information on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 40 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 in Prattville, Alabama.


One of my greatest accomplishments was traveling to China to assist a clock factory in building clocks to the standards which we required at Emperor. 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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