Clocks, Watches/Diplomat grandfather
We have a Diplomat grandfather clock Model000-1M.
WE have owned it since new, moving 6 times and the clock being in storage 3 different times, up to a year each time. It does not work. I start the pendulum and hear it ticking but stops after about a minute. About 15 years ago, I had a clock repairman out. He did get it running and chiming again, but gave no assurance as to how long it would run. He wanted to replace the entire movement for I think about $500. It was too much to spend. The clock did run for a month or 2 and then stopped again. After another move, about 10 years ago it did start working again, but then again stopped. Any suggestions on trying to get it running again. THANKS - Bob
Bob, the clock has been moved around and been stored for quite a while. It has been a long time since it has been serviced. All of this could add to the problem of not running along with the age of the movement. There could be gummy lubricant and/or worn parts. I don't know the expertise of the repairman or what he did, but I would think that the service would carry a warranty of a little more than a couple of months. But then in suggesting a new movement, maybe he thought it was worn enough to require a replacement. You did not give me a model number of the movement itself (case numbers do not necessarily indicate what movement would be used), so I don't know what the current replacement cost would be. I will copy you below on a list of diagnostics for you to check. It might be that would need a complete restoration or replacement. Here are the diagnostics:
THE FIRST LEVEL IS THE SETUP.
For Floor Clocks If the clock is in operating I would check the stability of the clock in that it doesn't rock or wobble on the floor. It should be relatively level. The level is not critical, as setting the beat (below) will correct for this.
Next, verify that the weights are hung correctly. On most clocks the weights vary in weight. The general rule is that if two weights are equal, the third weight, if it is heavier, goes on the right side (as you face the clock). If the third weight is lighter, it goes on the left. This most often applies to clocks with a stick pendulum. If a decorative metal lyre pendulum is used, the center weight usually has to weigh a little more, sometimes as much as the right chime weight.
Is the pendulum hanging configuration correct? This means that the suspension spring, hanger, verge and pendulum are all connected properly with nothing broken, especially the suspension spring. When the pendulum swings, it should be "in beat", meaning that when the pendulum swings you hear an even tick....tock....tick....tock. If it is uneven, like tick..tock......tick..tock, the clock will probably stop. Most later model movements have an "auto-beat" mechanism. The beat can be set by holding the pendulum over to one side next to the case and releasing it. It will automatically correct itself. If it does not have this feature, the escapement crutch will have to be slipped manually. If required, I would need a good description of the verge and hanger mechanism or a photo of the back of the movement to give you instructions for that. Also check to see if the hands are catching on each other or the dial. Look at the chime and strike hammers to see if they are all in alignment at the rest position. Sometimes jammed hammers or the drive mechanisms will stall the clock.
For Mantel or Wall Clocks The clock should be stable and not wobble or rock. There should be an even beat (explained above). If not, wall clocks can be set in beat by moving the bottom of the clock to one side or the other. Some wall clocks have the auto-beat adjustment. Mantle clocks can be shimmed up on one side or the other to obtain an even beat. These methods work if the beat is not off too much. If the out-of-beat condition of these clocks are excessive, other adjustments have to be made.
THE SECOND LEVEL INCLUDES MAINTENANCE
Usually, the first symptom of a clock failing is that the chime and/or strike mechanisms slow down and then fail altogether. At this point the clock needs to be serviced. This includes cleaning, inspecting, oiling and adjusting. In the inspection, the movement is checked for adjustments, broken or worn parts. If there are any broken or worn parts, we go to the third level. If all parts are okay, a good clock oil and grease is used. In most cases the movement should be removed from the case to have access to all the lubrication points. Clock lubricants can be bought from clock suppliers. Using lubricants for other applications can cause problems, as some lubricants are not compatible with others. This even applies to different clock oils. After lubricating, the operation is checked for final adjustments. I recommend maintenance be performed every 7 to 10 years.
THE THIRD LEVEL IS REPAIR.
This requires that the movement be broken down and all parts inspected and repaired or replaced, and then reassembled lubricated, adjusted and tested. I do not recommend this except by an experienced clockmaker.
Check these things out and let me know what you find. Also let me know what area in Florida you live and I might have someone on my list that would be near you. I am going to be traveling until Monday and possibly might not be available on Allexperts, so I will give you my email address and if I get on my laptop I might be able to answer you.
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
137 First St
Prattville, Alabama 36067
Due to the number of Allexperts questions and
the workload I have at my clock shop, I regret
that I cannot answer personal email questions
on a timely basis other than Allexperts follow