Today’s repair is an 8 day 2 weight cuckoo clock. This movement is a common Regula German movement. Upon arrival at the shop had an incorrect pendulum. This pendulum that did not match the wood of the cuckoo. In fact, it was partially plastic. A replacement pendulum was found and installed. The image below is of the finished repair.
This is a larger cuckoo with wonderful wood gingerbread.
The clock did not run Pictures are worth a 1000 words. The next set of images show the dirt in the pivot holes and markings of which holes were serviced:
Notice the bent crutch and the dirty oil buildup on the movement.
The image below shows all the pieces and parts……
Below are all the pieces above back together. Check out how clean the chains came out. Looks like a new movement.
Once repaired, cleaned, & back together the movement is placed on the test stand and ran until all is running well and adjusted to specifications.
While the movement was in it’s final stage of testing, the case was cleaned and oiled. Cuckoo hands and bird were cleaned.
The clock is ready to go home.
Here we have a Seth Thomas mantle clock made in Thomaston, Conn. Made in the U.S.A. in the early 1900’s. The clock strikes the hour and rings a bell on the 1/2 hour. A good looking clock.
The clock was brought into the shop for minor service and to replace the paper dial. The face was missing grommets on the winding holes. The image below shows the missing grommets and the cut off label at the bottom of the face. The face was replaced and grommets installed.
The movement was removed from the case. A check on the general condition of the clock is always performed. It was noticed that there was significant pivot hole wear. Upon initial observation, there were 12 pivot holes needing attention. With those warn pivot holes, there were 2 Rathbun Bushing installations. These needed to be removed and a proper repair made. The customer only requested an oiling and adjustment. Given the wear of the pivot holes and the Rathbun Bushings present, I felt it was appropriate to do the job right. Note these two videos demonstrating the wear. The first video toward the end shows the Rathbun Bushings in the clock movement.
Upon disassembly of the clock found that the mainsprings were original. This can be determined because “ST” (Seth Thomas) was stamped on the springs. Seth Thomas made so many clocks that they had springs made exclusively for them. In the 21st century, seeing the “ST” stamp is rather unusual. As shown above the clock needed pivot hole rebuilding. The original warn holes were reamed and a bushing was installed in each warn location. All clock wheel pivots were inspected and polished where needed. The image below shows the clock apart and warn pivot holes marked:
Further inspection of the movement showed the movement was in pretty good shape. The clicks were good, original mainsprings are still good, plates were flush, and suspension spring was in good shape. After the repairs were completed, the movement was ultrasonically cleaned and oiled with hi-grade clock oil. The movement was then tested.
As the movement was running the face got an additional “face lift”. The original replacement dial was removed and a new dial cut and sized. Installed with grommets. It came out very good. The case was a little loose in the joints. All nails were inspected and tapped back into place. Then the case was then cleaned, oiled, & fine polish was applied to the case while the movement and bezel were removed from the clock.
The hour strike hammer was missing the leather. This was replaced. A taper pin and washer was missing. This held the hands in place.
The image below is the finished product:
General information about the clock, the “Adamantine” finish, which is a patented laminate finish from the late 1800’s, is in good shape for its age. This “Adamantine” is a thin, soft laminate over soft wood which shrinks, cracks, fades and dents fairly easily with just normal use and handling over time. The finish on this clock was in great shape. Click here for the history of the Seth Thomas clock company.
Once the clock movement is put back into the case, the hour and 1/2 hour hammers were adjusted. The speed was adjusted to keep acceptable time.
Don’t forget Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday, March 12th, 2017. If you have questions about your clock concerning this time change. Give us a call (720) 333-6309 or shoot us an email at email@example.com
Now for the technical stuff…..
By act of Congress, civil clocks in most areas of the United States are adjusted ahead one hour in the summer months (known as daylight time) and returned back one hour in the winter months (known as standard time). The dates marking the beginning and end of daylight time have changed as Congress has passed new statutes. As of 2007, daylight time begins in the United States on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. On the second Sunday in March, clocks are set ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. local standard time (which becomes 3:00 a.m. local daylight time). On the first Sunday in November, clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time (which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time). These dates were established by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Pub. L. no. 109-58, 119 Stat 594 (2005).
Did anyone see the hand nut is missing from the cuckoo hands? I can see a sequel to this commercial. The dancing figurines, the women hitting the guy drinking beer, the guy playing the accordion wearing laderhosen, and finally those two animals watching the entire soap opera unfold.
Beautiful 8 day animated cuckoo. The problem description was winding the strike weight would always catch and was very difficult to get the weight fully wound.
Upon removal of the movement from the case which entailed removing the two cuckoo bellows, music box, and on/off lever it was found that the winding wheel click was stiff from the formulation of a little rust. The rust was removed and cleaned. There were no other problems found on this clock. Oil was applied to the click and spring. The movement was then re-installed along with bellows, music box, etc. All had to be adjusted. The case was cleaned and oiled then tested. All is well! “Time” to send it home.
In for repair is a small 2 weight cuckoo clock. The clock was purchased by the customer at a 2nd hand store. The only thing that came with the clock was the case & movement. The clock was missing the weights and pendulum. The case was very dry and looking at the movement, it needed bushings, a cleaning, & oil. The work was accomplished. There were 5 pivot holes that were warn. Bushings were installed and pivots were inspected. Those looked good. The movement and chains were cleaned and reassembled. The clock was oiled. The gathering pallet and cuckoo lifting lever where adjusted.
The case was oiled and weights and pendulum were located. The pendulum was not exactly the same color as the case but with a little stain and elbow grease, everything matched.
I did not have any pictures of this clock until the end. Here is the clock running just before it left to go home.
Here we have a Seth Thomas 12 inch drop octagon wall clock. Approximate born date 1910-1912. This is a time only timepiece with a label stating this is a railroad station office clock. The label on the clock reads “Railroad Station Office Clock”. The movement is definitely railroad quality. Seth Thomas made very quality movements.
Looking at the clock I noticed the suspension spring was broken as you can see to the left of the hands in the graphic below. Given the age of this clock, the face was in very good condition. Looking a little closer, I could see the face has a paper dial overlaying the original dial. The numbers on this replacement face are roman numerals. Roman numerals were not an accepted requirement for railroad watches. I would assume this is also a requirement for clocks too. A previous repairer did not take this to consideration when replacing the dial. There are other 12 inch drop Seth Thomas wall clocks that are not railroad grade that do have Roman Numerals. I suspect that since this is an “Office Clock” the requirements were not as stringent. There is a service date on the repair label of September 1947 and a repair date inside behind the face on the back plate dated February 2, 1971. No other marking on the case to help identify the clock and its unique history.
Here is a picture of the clock with the face removed. The movement is railroad quality. Similar to the Seth Thomas #2 model but spring driven instead of cable/weight/gravity driven.
- The winding stop gear is missing. This gear along with the 9 tooth gear next to the winding arbor works in concert to utilize the “best” part of the mainspring. What this does is to stop the winding process near to the end of the wind and again stop the unwind at the end thus utilizing the best part of the spring. The end result is a more consistent time keeper. American spring clocks have a characteristic of running a little fast at the beginning of the wind and slowing down at the end. By limiting the wind, the spring provides consistent power, hence speed the entire week.
- The 2nd arrow shows there was some wear in the canon pinion hole. A previous repairer tried to crowd the mettle to minimize the slop by using a punch. The ring is visible.
- Upon disassembly of the movement, I noticed that all the pivot holes have had replacement bushings installed. This is common in clocks this old. The pivots and pivot holes were examined and all were satisfactory. The edges of the bushings were cleanup and polished.
Here is a picture of the movement disassembled.
This picture was taken after some work was done to the clock. The mainspring was rough. Dirt and oil became hardened and the spring could not slide on itself as good as it should. Steel wool was applied to the entire surface of the spring. The mainspring was a little set, i.e. the spring kept its coil close to the arbor rather than expand to a greater diameter. The spring was un-coiled and responded to this very well. There was no need to replace the mainspring of the clock. Now for the broken suspension spring/rod. The suspension spring was broken and the entire suspension rod with spring was replaced. See picture below. Both original and new spring are set side by side:
Here is a short video of a loose main wheel. Never seen one so loose. In the video, I state it should not move which is incorrect. It needs to be snug but not fee wheel’n as seen in the video:
Here is the setup (rather crude but very functional) method used to tighten the main wheel.
First I had to remove the mainspring from the wheel. Then I mounted the wheel on a split anvil. I then took a punch and positioned it over the shoulder of the winding arbor. Careful not to damage the pivot on one side and the winding arbor on the other. One maybe two taps and I was golden.
After testing the winding wheel repair, the mainspring was installed and the rest of the wheels and gears were assembled.
Once the movement was back together, the new suspension rod/spring was attached and mounted on the test stand. The wheel, suspension rod/spring, escapement, depthing all look’n good.
The clock was then oiled as everything is running like “Clock Work” (Sorry for the pun). The next step because a new suspension rod/spring was fabricated, is to time it out. If the suspension rod is too short, the clock will run too fast, if it is too long, the clock will run too slow. There is an adjustment on the pendulum bob but the adjustments can only go so far. After the hands are installed and the clock is keeping good time. The next step is to put the movement in the case and run it. Again, if all goes well, the face is installed and final testing is done.
When the clock movement was first taken out of the case it was observed only one wood screw was holding the movement in the case, the other 3 were missing. The screw holes were warn to a point which caused them to fall out and get lost. To correct this problem, the holes were closed and secured with match sticks and wood glue. Screws were located and the movement was then installed in the case. The 4 screws are now nice and tight holding the movement where it should be.
And finally, the finished product.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. It has been a busy fall season at the clock shop. Many clocks have come in and gone out. The pace is quick but nice. I am thankful for all the clocks that have come through my doors this year. I am fortunate and thankful to have such nice clock owners. I appreciate their business and the opportunity to get their clocks working again.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Twice a year a group from NAWCC Chapter 21 and Emily Griffith Op School visit the E. Howard manufactured tower Clock at East Denver HS in Denver, Colorado. We do minor maintenance and adjust the hands for the new time change. We advertise this activity to both the school, club, and visitors who are interested in the historical clock. On November 5th, 2016, 9news came with us and gave the club and the school some exposure.
The following video was produced by 9News. Click on the picture below to see the video.