Clocks, Watches/Replacing chain on Montgomery Ward Grandfather Clock
I recently purchased a Montgomery Ward grandfather clock, model number CCM 9090 A, and one of the chains is off. I believe it is the center one and from looking into the back of the clock it looks like one of the other chains is off the sprocket. Can these be replaced by me?
Theresa, the numbers you gave me are those of Montgomery Ward or the clock manufacturer that supplied the clocks to them and do not reflect the model of the movement itself. However, the general procedure for rehanging the chains is about the same for all movements, so I shouldn't need that model. First, I would think that your description of the chain being off the sprocket would indicate that you can move the chain in both directions by pulling on one end of the other. If pulled to far it would fall out of the movement. One other cause would be that the sprocket ratchet (which allows it to be pulled in one direction only) might be defective. If you see both ends of the chain coming out of the bottom of the movement and they are basically touching each other, the chain is off the sprocket and is hanging on the wheel arbor (shaft). If the chains are about 1" apart, they are on the sprocket and it is defective. It would then need to be looked at by an experienced clockmaker.
You ask if you can do it. I will describe how I do it and then you can decide whether you or a friend might be able to preform the operation. On the outer chains, right or left, the sprockets rotate from the top inward. Looking from the BACK of the clock, the left on would rotate clockwise and the right one would rotate counterclockwise. If the chain is just off the sprocket, you can use a long instrument such as a hemostat, long needle-nosed pliers or a piece of coat hanger wire with a little hook on the end. Lift the chain and place it back on the sprocket. If the chain is completely out of the movement it would have to be placed back on the sprocket and the sprocket rotated. On some models the end tab will have to be removed. The proper tab and it's removal is explained below.
The center chain is a little more difficult to re-install. I started out by having to remove the movement and turn it upside down to string the chain. But I designed a simple tool to do the job. The chain should have a tab on each end. One is usually solid and the other has a eye or hook for which the weight hangs. Remove the solid tab. This can be done by grasping the last link with a pair of pliers and slightly twisting (not spreading) the link just enough to remove the link and tab from the chain. The tool is a piece of coat hanger wire about 8" long and a small "S" is formed on one end. The section on that end has a bend. I do not have the picture on my laptop, but If you will reply to my clock shop email address (below), I will send it to you by the first of the week when I return to my shop. Also, from the above descriptions, let me know about the chains, on or off the sprockets or out of the movement.
The way I do this is to remove the weights and pendulum so they are out of the way and won't get knocked around. The last link is hooked on the "S" portion of the chain and lifted up into the movement on the right side (looking from the front of the clock) of the center sprocket. I usually have to use a flashlight to give me an idea of where the sprocket is between the plates of the movement. I will say this is a "backbreaker" the way you have to kneel and turn to see up in there. Using my right hand I place the chain up and over the sprocket. With my left hand I use a long thin screwdriver to turn the sprocket counterclockwise as I lower the chain onto the sprocket. I move the wire around as I continue turning the sprocket with the screwdriver. This is done blindly as it is difficult to see up in there when you are doing this work. Depending on the type of movement, I sometimes have to make quite a few attempts to get it done. Can be frustrating in that everything has to come together for it to work. When the chain is hooked on the sprocket and the wire has been removed, continue turning the sprocket until the end of the chain travels far enough down to grasp it and pull it down far enough to rehook the tab.
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