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Clocks, Watches/re-attach brass cable to movement


We have a Howard Miller Gavin Long case grandfather clock and the center cable came loose from the movement as we were rewinding the three pendulum weights. When the cable came loose the center weight crashed to the bottom. The pully and weight were together but the brass cable  end was frayed and bent 90 degrees. how do i re-attach cable to movement and rewind cable on drum?

Roy, If the cable end is frayed and bent, a new cable would have to be installed.  Frayed or crimped cables are subject to breakage and the weight would crash to the bottom again.  If the cable was in good condition it could be reinstalled.  Usually when one detaches, it has detached from the anchor point up in the base of the movement or the mounting board (2 types depending on the model and the design of the movement.  If it has detached from the cable drum, the movement will probably have to be removed from the case.  The cable will have to be rethreaded and a set of gears on the front of the movement (called the stop works)has to be synchronized to allow proper winding.  This requires the services of an experienced clockmaker who is familiar with syncing the stop works.  I have worked on many movements in which the stop works have been removed because the clockmaker did not know how to set them.  The stop works gears control how high the weights can be wound and how far they drop before touching the bottom of the case or running out of cable.  If done incorectly the weights cannot be wound all the way or they will not drob far enough to run the clock a full 8 days.  I believe your movement would be a Kieninger, as it is a Howard Miller clock.  I know that another manufacturer redesigned one of their cable drive movements and the specifications changed.  Just to insure the correct cable is selected, the diameter and length of the cable have to be known along with the type of end tabs used.

Sorry I could not give you a quick fix answer.

John Newman
The Village Clocksmith
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
Located in Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

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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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