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Clocks, Watches/Westminster Clock Not Chiming


QUESTION: I recently purchased an Elgin Westminster Hall clock at an antique store. Came with original purchase paperwork. Original owner bought in 1965. Model e403/1. While at the store, I hefted the weights and set the pendulum swinging, and verified that it was keeping time and that the chimes sounded. After taking it home, however, it does not appear to be chiming on its own. And, when adjusting the clock, the hands do not seem to be engaging the chimes. I have identified a lever on both sides of the movement that, when activated manually, sound the chimes - for each set of chime rods. When this occurs, and they chimes are manually engaged, the clock will chime for the right hour. The problem really seems to be with the hands engaging the chimes. The clock is keeping perfect time, and no other issues have been detected. Any ideas?

ANSWER: Blake, make sure the heaviest weight is on the right side (as you face the clock).  The levers should not be in the silent position.  The numbers on the clock are the model of the clock, not the movement.  I would need the information found on the back plate of the movement.  It could say Elgin, but probably manufactured for them by Hermle or another company.  One of the most popular movements, was the Heermle 451-050 94cm.  However, with two levers, I'm not so sure.  If you will check that information and get back with me, we'll see what we can do.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The movement reads :

P. L. 61 cm

I have confirmed that the heaviest weight is, indeed, on the right side as you face the clock.

When I say "two levers" I mean that I can move a lever that activates the hour strike side only, and one that moves the chimes side. When activated in sequence, the latter will chime quarter hour, half hour, 3/4 hour, then full hour plus the striking of whatever hour the face is reading.

Blake, I apologize for the delay in my answer.  I am having some Internet issues and some of my emails are being delayed sproratically.

When you a hall clock, do you mean a floor or wall clock?  Some of the terms we use for a standing floor clock is a grandfather, grandmother, tall case or hall clock.  Since it is a 61cm pedulum, they are used more in wall clocks rather than floor clocks.  However, there are exceptions.  Jauch made a 61cm pendulum length movement, and I just happened to have a Jauch catalog in front of me, researching another question.  They did not mark the identity of their models on the movements, but Jauch usually did note the pendulum effective length and one of theirs was the PL 61cm.  Unfortrunately, many of the movements had a 61cm pendulum.  And it could be another make.  Being a Westminster model, I cannot recall why it would have two levers. In some wall and floor clocks, there were two lever attached to strings that would pull the chime and strike hammers back to silence them.  Without knowing any more information about the movement, I can't tell you much more.  If you can send a couple of clear photos of different angles of the movement, I might be able to see somethig that would help.  Please reply to my clock shop email address so I can better see the photos, and it will help free up the Allexperts question queue of which I have a limited number of questions allowed per day.

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 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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