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Question
I am from Adelaide South Australia and purchased a Harrington House Grandfather Clock recently at auction. It is a beautiful timepiece. The date the previous owner has noted on the instruction manual is 16/10/2000 - I presume this was when the clock was purchased new. Were these clock cabinets made by the Amish people? Are you aware of any dvd's or reliable sites that can offer advice on how to lubricate the movement? This is quality clock and I wish to get as much knowledge about looking after this quality movement as possible. What lubricant should I use? One weight section and two halves were in the base of the cabinet. I put them back into the Left weight which was much lighter than the other two and had the room to accommodate the extras weights. Was this the correct thing to do.
Kind regards
Anthony

Answer
Hello, Anthony. You are correct, the Harrington House clocks were well made and beautiful.  Also, I would say that the year 2000 was correct as to when it was purchased.  I'm not sure how dates are listed in Australia, but it would make since here in the United states if it was listed as mm/dd/yyyy or 10/16/2000.  If you designate it as dd/mm/yyyy or 16/10/2000, then that would make sense if the first Australian owner had dated the manual. I do not know of any cases made for Emperor by the Amish. They were manufactured by Emperor Clock Company, located in Fairhope, Alabama.

I do not know the exact dates of the following, but this is a general idea of Emperor and the Harrington House clocks.  Emperor had a case factory in Mobile, across the bay from Fairhope.  The case factory was closed sometime in the late 1980's or early 1990's, I'm not quite sure when. I believe they did have some cases made by Rhyne Clock Company (a division of Rhyne Lumber Company in Newport, TN.  You can Google Rhyne Clock Company to get a little more information on them.  Emperor would build up the clocks using the cases along with movements manufactured by Hermle and Kieninger, along with dials, pendulums, weights and gong assemblies from other companies. This is a standard practice with most clock companies.  Emperor, for quite a while, was known as the largest clock kit company in the world.  They did offer factory finished clocks.  Because of the factory quality of the Harrington House line, they were not offered as kits, but usually sold through authorized dealers. I was plant engineer at Emperor until 1996 and we were still making Harrington House Clocks at that time, but there was talk of discontinuing the line.  Sometime around 1997 Emperor was sold to Hermle (now Hermle North America.) Later, when Emperor had been sold, I became an engineering consultant for them until they closed the operation in 2005.  They moved the remains of the company to their Amherst, Virginia location and they now sell plans and replacement movements with accessories for the vintage emperor clocks.  I had helped them pack the remaining equipment, etc for the move.  It was agreed that I would buy the remaining vintage Emperor case parts from them and they would refer calls from customers to me that needed parts or advice on building or repairing kits.  It seems that I am the last person in the clock business that worked for the original Emperor company.

It would seem that you have assembled and hung the weights correctly.  The general rule on weights is that if one weight is heavier than the other two equal ones, it hangs on the right (as you face the clock.)  If one weight (in your case) is lighter than the two other equal weights, it hangs on the left.
The rationale behind this is that the chime weight (on the right) has to be heavier to power the chimes. However, if the pendulum is a lyre (metal decorative) with a large bob, it then needs a heavier weight to run the time portion of the clock.

I do not know of a video on lubrication, but I will be glad to send you a written set of instructions I have written on lubricating a clock and a couple of labeled photos.  Send an email to me below and I will reply with that information. The lubricants (oil and grease) you use should be those made for clock work.  The actual cost is very little.  We'll try to find the nearest supplier to you, as shipping can be rather costly.

John Newman
Vintage Emperor Clock Consultant
THE VILLAGE CLOCKSMITH
Old Prattvillage
Prattville, Alabama

klokdok@juno.com  

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John Newman

Expertise

As much as I would like to offer values of clocks, I am not a certified appraiser and will not venture into giving an unresearched guess. There is very little published information on what I consider to be the value of "modern production clocks". 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. It helps if you can send any information on the clock movement which is usually found on the back plate of the movement. I have been a clockmaker for about 35 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.

Experience

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

Organizations
NAWCC (National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors) 30 years Prattville, Alabama Chamber of Commerce

Publications
Horological Times, a publication of the American Watch and Clockmakers Instute. Collaberated column author, with Photos and ideas for clock movement conversion article.

Education/Credentials
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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