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Table of contents
- My Grandfather Clock has Stopped, Can I Fix It?
- History of The Grandfather Clock
- How The Grandfather Clock Got Its Name
- My Grandfather's Clock - Wikipedia
It was taller by half than the old man himself, though it weighed not a pennyweight more In watching its pendulum swing to and fro Many hours he had spent when a boy And through childhood and manhood, the clock seemed to know And to share both his grief and his joy For it struck 24 when he entered at the door With a blooming and beautiful bride, But it stopped, short, never to go again When the old man died CHORUS My grandfather said that of those he could hire Not a servant so faithful he'd found, For it kept perfect time and it had one desire At the close of each day to be wound At it kept to its place, not a frown upon its face At its hands never hung by its side But it stopped, short, never to go again When the old man died CHORUS It rang an alarm in the still of the night, An alarm that for years had been dumb And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight That his hour of departure had come Still the clock kept the time With a soft and muffled chime As we silently stood by his side But it stopped, short, never to go again When the old man died".
History of The Grandfather Clock. The Grandfather Clock Song by Henry Clay Work "My grandfather's clock was too tall for the shelf So it stood ninety years on the floor It was taller by half than the old man himself But it weighed not a pennyweight more It was bought on the morn on the day that he was born It was always his treasure and pride But it stopped, short, never to go again When the old man died Ninety years without slumbering Tic toc tic toc His life's seconds numbering Tic toc tic toc It stopped, short, never to go again When the old man died.
If the swing of the crutch is restricted say, by pins protruding from the back-plate , the escapement will have to be held at the top with one hand while the crutch is repositioned. If the crutch starts to flex, let go at once. Where no friction joint is fitted, the crutch arm may need to be bent; this may sound a little drastic but it is the recognised and only method and very common on longcase clocks.
But be gentle, and never put any firm pressure on a crutch against the escapement as this may snap the pivot or cause other serious damage. Instead, bend the crutch against the resistance of the other hand or between fingers of the same hand. Only make a very small adjustment before re-testing.
As it is not possible to measure the alterations you are making, it is largely a matter of trial and error and several attempts may be necessary. Wall clocks may be given final adjustment simply by moving the bottom of the case very slightly to one side or the other until they can be heard to be in beat. A small misalignment should not be apparent from across the room but if it hangs out of true vertical by more than that, then you'll need to adjust the crutch as above.
Some fine movements weight-driven Vienna regulators, for example have adjustable crutches, allowing for very precise alterations. You'll need to stop the pendulum each time, to turn the knurled screw with your fingers until you get it in beat. Antique French clocks will often have metal straps holding the movement in the case.
By slackening the two screws on the back door and rotating the whole movement from the front bezel one or two degrees to the left or right, it may be possible to put it in beat. But if this puts the dial visibly out of true vertical, you'll have to adjust the crutch as above. Don't forget to re-tighten the screws to prevent the clock from rotating when being wound. But as they unwind nearly fifty times slower than a French mantel clock, there are much more sensitive to error so be particularly careful. If the clock is supplied by me you can be reassured that it is already set up properly.
If it was not supplied by me, and you really want to try it yourself, there are plenty of useful websites explaining the process but here's my approach.
Stand with your head over the top of the clock an watch the escape wheel click one tooth as the pendulum nears the end of its rotation in one direction. As soon as the tooth is released, measure in your mind the 'overswing' of the rotating pendulum - how much further it continues to rotate. Then watch the pendulum rotate the other way and compare the overswing when the next tooth is released 8 seconds later.
It is important that the overswing at both sides is the same or else the clock will probably stop after a few minutes. If it is not, there are various methods of adjustment but the commonest is a screw at the top which needs to be turned the tiniest amount in the direction of the least overswing.
It sounds worse than it is but should only be attempted if the clock does not run at all, as then you cannot make it much worse! The quality of the movement will have a major influence on a clock's ability to keep good time. But construction material, temperature, the earth's rotation, height above sea-level and even the day of the week can also affect its performance. The longer the pendulum, the slower the clock will tick so high temperatures in Summer can slow a clock down through the effects of expansion on simple steel pendulum rods.
Wooden and bi-metallic rods and mercury-filled pendulums compensate for this. The gyroscopic effects of the earth's rotation can also affect the truth of the swing of the pendulum.
My Grandfather Clock has Stopped, Can I Fix It?
Weight-driven clocks are not susceptible to that problem. It's just that most clock hands are only reset whilst the owner is rewinding the clock: But this could mean half an hour or more at each rewind for a day clock. Furthermore, temperature has little effect on a day clock because of the development of modern alloys Ni-Span C that compensate by stiffening more as the temperature rises.
No matter how well a clock movement has been overhauled, some final adjustment is almost always necessary. But before making any adjustments, give the clock time to settle down - a fortnight at the very least. After that, a clock can be regulated by fractionally raising or lowering of the bob weight on the bottom of the pendulum. Raising it will shorten the swing and so make the clock run faster. Lowering it has the opposite effect. Most pendulums have a rating nut under or in the bob and adjustments should be small and infrequent.
Because of the way the power reduces as the spring unwinds, there is no point in making adjustments every day or the adjustments you make on Monday to slow the clock down will have to be unmade on Friday to speed it up again. An eight-day movement might well run for 12 or 14 days before it finally stops but timekeeping after a week tends to fall off drastically so there is no point at all in adjusting the pendulum on a clock after eight days. Ideally, you're looking for a compromise across the whole week. On French clocks with a Brocot suspension, it is possible to alter the swing of the pendulum with a small watch key by turning the arbor that is just visible in a tiny hole above the Twelve on the dial.
Turning it clockwise direction shortens the effective length of the pendulum, thus making the clock run faster. Again, day clocks are different.
History of The Grandfather Clock
Those with four balls sometimes three have a knurled nut in the centre of the top of the pendulum usually marked with arrows and S and F for Slower and Faster stamped on it. Follow the arrows but generally you will rotate the nut anti-clockwise to make it run faster and clockwise to slow it.
Earlier models have flat discs that need a small square-end key to draw the two small weights inwards towards the middle to make it run faster or outwards towards the edge of the disk to make it run slower. Only the tiniest adjustment is required - just a few degrees. If it gains or loses half an hour a day, you probably have the wrong suspension fitted so see the person you bought it from it won't be me. Never wind the hands backwards. When a clock winds down as it will before shipping , the strike train may stop before the going train and the strike therefore gets out of sync.
Transit movement by road can have the same effect as an almost completely run down spring can still turn a strike wheel when it's placed on its side.
How The Grandfather Clock Got Its Name
To correct this, you can slowly move the minute hand FORWARD with one finger for a carriage clock you can do from the back with the other end of the winding key. If you have a second hand, make sure that it is not pushed in too close and touching the dial. The second hand is very sensitive and the slightest resistance will stop the clock. If this is the case, slightly pull the second hand out just a pinch to allow it to turn freely 3.
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Make sure the grandfather clock is level. Some older grandfather clocks will run just fine slightly out of level once the movement has been adjusted. This is not true for the newer grandfather clocks. The newer grandfather clocks need to be level from both front to back and side to side. Are the grandfather clock hands touching the dial glass? If the minute hand on the grandfather clock is touching the front glass, this will stop the clock from working.
To repair this problem, slightly bend the hand away from the glass, but be careful not to bend it too much and allow it to touch the hour hand. There is a very fragile part in a grandfather clock that the pendulum hangs on. I have included a typical picture of one some grandfather clock suspension springs may vary in size and shape. If this suspension spring gets bent too much or if it breaks, the pendulum will not continue to swing.
You may notice when the pendulum swings, it will make a circle or a figure 8 pattern. This is an indication that the suspension needs replacing.
My Grandfather's Clock - Wikipedia
If this is the case, then the suspension spring will need to be replaced and it is recommended that a qualified clock technician performs this job. The picture to the right is a typical newer style Grandfather Clock Movement. It shows how the pendulum and parts are assembled. Many times this assembly will come apart during a move.
It is the same for all pendulum driven clocks. Just remember to adjust the nut in small increments. A quarter of a turn at a time will be plenty. You will eventually be able to get the clock to keep very good time. As always if you continue to have problems you are welcome to contact us for additional information. Please click on the video to the right and follow the instructions. Click on image for a larger view.