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Clocks, Watches/Howard Miller Floor Clock will not run


I just recently inherited my grandparents Floor Clock which they've had as long as I can remember.  I know it is a Howard Miller clock, and the movement is a Hermle 85 451-050 94cm weight driven movement.  I know the clock has not run in several years, and it was just moved in a moving van 3 days ago.  I attempted to set it up and see if it would run, and I was able to get it to run for about 10 minutes and then it stopped.  After reading through many manuals and online advice sites, I have a few ideas, but I'm not an expert so I'm not sure where to start.  

One: I just noticed that the pendulum bob is missing. The lyre and adjustment nut are there, but not the bob.  I don't think my grandmother knows where it is or what happened to it, because I have every other part that came with the clock.  I was able to swing the pendulum and have it start, but it stopped after 10 minutes.  The tick tock was definitely uneven (goes ticktock....ticktock....ticktock.....), and I know I have a leveling issue because the whole house has carpet.  I removed the whole movement after the clock was moved into my house because nobody secured the chains so I had to feed them back through the movement.  When I had the movement out, I could see that there is black buildup on some of the pivot points of the movement parts.  Does this sound like it's a problem involving ALL of the mentioned issues?  (Leveling, pendulum bob missing, old oil needing to be cleaned)?  

Two, when I get the pendulum swinging for a few minutes, and I wind the minute hand clockwise, I cannot get the clock to chime.  The silence bar is as far away from the hammers as it can be, and when I turn the hands I can hear a click at the 15 minutes intervals, like the clock WANTS to start to chime, but it never happens.  I think I may have the weights on backwards as well, I put the heaviest one all the way to the LEFT when looking at the clock from the front.  I've seen info that has said all the way on the right, and in the middle.  I have two weights that are lighter, and one that is heavier.  Should the heavy one be on the right instead?  

Im thinking the best option is just to purchase a whole new movement, and a new pendulum.  Anything I should try before I spend several hundred dollars on this?  I'd hate to spend that much and have it be something simple like swapping the weights around or just leveling it better.

Hi, Elizabeth.  That clock must bring back some memories and we'll do what we can to get it running for you.  The Hermle movement you have is probably their most popular movement.  From the numbers you gave me, it was manufactured in 1985.  If it hasn't been serviced regularly every 7 to 10 years, it could have some gummy lubricant and wear problems.  The pendulum will need a bob to regulate and keep an even beat.  Setting in beat has to be done with a complete pendulum and the clock has to be relatively level, but level is not critical, as there is an adjusment (that has to be done anyway) to correct for being out of level.  Actually clocks look best in a room if they are lined up with wallpaper or paneling with vertical lines or doors and windows.  Some homes have floors and walls that have sagged, so the clock should be set up to match the room.  Then the beat adjustment can be made.  Another important factor is that the clock should be stable.  The soft carpet does not have anything to do with leveling, but the clock will rock and result in it stopping unless it is stablized.  But that we can discuss after we correct the other things.  

Whenever a movement is moved around or removed and replaced, the chime hammers will have to be realigned, as their placement is rather critical for good sound.  The heavier weight goes on the right as you face the clock.  If a lighter weight is used it can fail.  However, the black buildup is a result of wear and consists of steel, brass and old oil.  All of the things you have mentioned indicate a reason for the clock not running.  You are correct in that you don't want to spend a lot of money if a new movement is required.  If you will contact me at my clock shop email address below, we can discuss this further.  I would suggest getting a pendulum bob first, as this will be needed even if a new movement is required.  I will have to see a photo of the clock and get the inside dimension of the clock where the pendulum swings to determine the size of the bob.  It would be best to send it to my shop email address below.  I would imagine the pendulum is a wooden stick.  If it is a decorative metal lyre pendulum, the center weight would have to be heavier.  BTW, for weights for a stick pendulum and a bob that is less than 6.5", the standard specs are:  L 4.4-4.7#, C 4.4-4.7#, R 6.6#.  

In contacting me, I can have you check some things on the movment to determine if it does need a general servicing, a complete overhaul or replacement.  I do have all the parts needed, but as the Allexperts forum is for advice and not sales, I will also give you other suppliers from whom you could order parts, etc.

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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