HB Clocks
Clock Making and Clock Repairs

Current construction projects

I have 3 clocks at various stages of construction - a Scroll Frame skeleton clock, a 'Scissors' dual pendulum, skeleton clock and a traditional English pattern longcase clock.
Somehow, though, I seem to spend an increasing amount of time repairing clocks which, of course, slows down the construction projects (playing golf at every opportunity doesn't help either!).

Dating Painted Dial Longcase Clocks

Painted clock dials fall into three distinct types, commonly known as Period 1 (1770-1800), Period 2 (1800-1825) and Period 3 (1825-1860).

Period 1
Period 1 dials date from about 1770 to about 1800. The hour numerals are in Roman lettering (from I to XII) and the minute numerals are in arabic (5 to 60) numbered every five minutes (often called five minute numbering).

Period 2
Period 2 dials change in three distinct ways.
Whereas period 1 corner decoration tends to be simple gold scrollwork OR little flowers, fruit or the occasional bird, period 2 dials TEND to have either geometric shapes, or shells, or abstract patterns - usually with a little more colour than period 1. Period 2 dials start to lose the five minute numbering and this is replaced with fifteen minute numbering (15,30,45,60) possibly in slightly smaller size, around the hour numbers.
The Hour numerals are often in arabic rather than roman style.
Period 2 tends to cover the period 1800 to 1825-30
Period 3
Period 3 dials are from 1830 onwards until the demise of longcase clockmaking about 1850-70.
The minute numbering has disappeared completely and the hour numerals are back as Roman numerals, (I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, etc..) The corner decoration tends to be full colour scenes, often of country scenes, sometimes of the four seasons, countries (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) or the four continents. Sometimes there are specific corner or arch paintings to do with trade or commerce or perhaps with a religious or masonic theme.
Recent repair projects

A nice carriage clock that the owner couldn't seem to wind.

  • the clock was fully wound when I collected it but it wouldn't run
  • after letting it down I found that the platform escapement needed slight adjustment

After fixing that the clock ran perfectly (although with a somewhat louder 'tick'). Ref BC-Lo

8 day Junghans B21 movement Westminster chime bracket clock (circa 1900 vintage) that had:
  • a broken chime spring
  • a damaged chime pinion (as a result of the spring breaking)
  • incorrectly assembled chime and going train clicks - someone had got them mixed up so it was impossible to wind the clock (they appear to be identical, but ....)
  • a number of excessively worn holes
  • broken strike gathering pallet

Ref DCM-io

Junghans Bracket Clock
8 day Longcase Clock by William Barnard (circa 1780)
a typical Oak Cased English 'Country' Clock.  Generally in good order (although the case is getting a little 'tired') except that the owner could not regulate it - the rating nut had been lost during a house move. Not sure why it had been removed, but there we are ... Anyway, made a new one in the style of the period - i.e nothing too fancy!
Ref DCM-po00
8 day H.A.C. wall clock (circa 1910 vintage) that wouldn't run for more than 3 days.  Seems that at some time the strike spring had broken and someone had re-formed one end and re-fitted it (at about 50% of the original length!).

After fitting a new spring every thing ran as designed - surprisingly clean clock with little wear. Ref SH-pc0

Second visit for this clock - customer said that whilst winding the clock there was a loud 'bang'. Mainspring had broken and unfortunately the force of that had snapped off the intermediate wheel backplate pivot. Fitted e new mainspring, drilled the intermediate wheel arbor and fitted a new silver steel pivot.
31 day President wall clock (circa 1975 vintage) that had broken during winding (and had taken significant amounts of skin off the owners' fingers!). The clock had:
  • a broken strike click spring
  • bent strike flirt and strike lifting lever

After removing a few bits of finger nail, the click spring was silver soldered and the flirt and lifting lever were straightened. Ref DBB-r0

8 day Mantle Clock , originally retailled in Paris around 1890 but maker unknown, with a very unpleasant 'thud' on striking, instead of the normal pleasing sound of a well tuned wire gong.

Problem resolved when the gong securing bolt was tightened! Ref GRP-pIo

Second visit for this clock - mainspring slipping and strike spring apparently broken. Found that the mainspring had become distorted and was not hooking onto the winding arbor correctly. The strike spring ratchet had worked loose so the ratchet 'click' was not engaging. All fixed without the need for any replacement parts.

8 day Wall Clock in Edwardian case that had fallen off the wall (!). Apart from extensive damage to the case, the pendulum and crutch were severely distorted. After repair and regulation the clock proved to be an excellent timekeeper, accurate to within half a minute per week. Ref DS-pL0
Weight Driven Striking Clock by Hermle & Sohne, bought mail-order as a working antique clock but didn't work when received. Seemed to have had some rough handling in transit - baseboard was loose, crutch and suspension distorted. Backplate shows the standard FHS logo with pendulum length and beats per minute. Engravings on the backplate suggest the clock had been repaired or serviced in 1949 and 2000. Unfortunately the maker's stamp shows that the clock was built in 1989 so someone seems to have tried to create a false provenance. Ref VG-io0
Swinging Cherub Clock by Emile Farcot, dating from about 1887. Clock had been knocked off a table, shattering the oval glass dome and damaging the movement. Pendulum crutch and fork severely distorted. After straightening the crutch and adjusting the fork, cleaning and oiling, the clock ran perfectly, keeping good time. Ref VG2-cio
Schatz 'Royal Mariner' ship's clock. Striking not working. Removed movement from case and released striking train. A nice clock and a good timekeeper. Ref PN-co0
Oak Cased Mantle Clock. A nice little clock with a 30hr movement. No maker's marks visible. Not working when received. Removed from case, let down the mainspring, cleaned, oiled and reassembled. Runs well! Ref GF-ro
Oak Cased Longcase Clock. An attractive provincial clock with a painted dial typical 'period 3', i.e. 1830 to about 1850. Dial, which is in quite good condition, is inscribed 'John Elliott, Blyth'. John C Elliott  is recorded as working in Leeds from 1839 and prior this in Blyth, Northumberland. This clock would therefore seem to date from 1830-1839.
Clock had stopped and would not run for moe than a few minutes. Several pivot holes were showing excessive wear and the date mechanism had been removed. Fitted bushes to most of the pivot holes; made a date wheel (from some old brass sheet that I keep in stock) and activating mechanism. Ref JEP-I00
Slate Cased Mantle Clock. Attractive clock that had just stopped working. Stripped, cleaned and inspected. No serious wear on pivots, no bushing needed. Pallets very heavily scored. Re-ground and polished, re-assembled and everything works fine. Ref KEJS-Lo
Brass Cased Mantle Clock with 3 glass panels, by W & A Schmid-Schlenker jr. Interesting clock with only one spring barrel, providing power to the going train and to the strike train (strikes hours and half-hours). Suspension spring seemed to be a replacement and was 'almost' the right size! Stripped, cleaned, re-polished pivots and pallets (badly pitted), modified suspension spring. Runs well and keeps good time. Ref VG-io0
Caddy Top Mantle Clock. Elegant case design on this 1930s Coventry Astral clock with platform escapement. When brought in the clock hadn't worked for around 10 years. Mainspring was fully wound - so much so that it ws impossible to use my let down tool, had to remove the platform whilst restraining the wheels. Awful noises as the spring wound down - years of accumulation of gunge and dried oil! Once cleaned and oiled clock ran perfectly and showed very little wear on pivots, etc. Good timekeeper, as is my own almost identical clock. Ref JGW-n0 Caddy Top Mantle Clock
Classic 1930s-1950s Mantle Clock. Smiths Enfield movement with pendulum recoil escapement. Strike not working - customer couldn't wind it. Broken click spring on strike train. Found a replacement in my scrap box (I have 3 or 4 of these movements in various stages of disrepair, used for spares!). Seems to keep good time. Ref JMS-io JMS
Oak Cased Longcase Clock. A provincial longcase clock with a painted dial in 'Period 1' style. The maker, William Nickisson, was apprenticed to Thomas Sillito of Uttoxeter on 10th April 1769 (7 year indentures). Nickisson is known to have been in business in Newcastle under Lume from 1780 to 1826. He is known to have used dials from Thomas Osborne, working in Birmingham from 1777 to 1809. This clock would seem to have been made between 1780 and 1800.
Customer reported that the clock would not run for more than a few hours. On inspecting the clock on-site it was apparent that the weights were catching on the case when they were about halfway down. Customer confirmed that the clock had been moved during redecoration of the hallway. Whilst re-fixing the clock to the wall the strike side 'click' fell out - it appeared to be original and had been made without a fixing screw, just a stud that fitted into the great wheel, held in place by gravity and the strength of the click spring! To preserve the authenticity of the clock I did not modify this but I did manage to improve the fit of the stud. When correctly fixed to the wall the clock ran well and it keeps very good time. Ref JEP-to0