Grandfather clocks

Howard Miller Floor Clocks

09.10.10

Floor Clocks are more or less synonymous with grandfather clocks.  Howard Miller Clocks, for many years, as have other major clockmakers, preferred the term floor clocks to grandfather clocks.  If one looks at the catalogs of major makers like Hermle Clocks, Ridgeway Clocks, Howard Miller, and others, Floor Clocks are the preferred term for free-standing clocks.

The basic definition of a grandfather clock or a floor clock or longcase, or tall-case clocks, are standalone weight-driven clocks, which also have a pendulum, frequently with a round brass pendulum bob.  Some grandfather clocks may not have weights if they are spring driven.  Also, the doors to the grandfather clock covering where the pendulum and weights are housed, may have a glass door or a solid opaque wood door.

Grandfather Clocks with one weight are almost always time only.  A grandfather clock or floor clock with two weights are generally time and strike.  A very small percentage of these made in the early 1900s, and in more recent years, may have chimes as well.  In general, most all Floor Clocks or Grandfather Clocks with three weights also have chimes, such as the Westminster Chime, Whittington Chime, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or Schubert’s Ave Maria Chime.

Depending upon the clock and the chime, it may strike quarterly or hourly.  Mechanical Westminster Chimes almost always chime quarterly, with progressively more of the chime played on each quarter hour, and the full chime played on the hour, and then striking for the number of times to tell the hour it is, such as 8 times for 8 o’clock.

A grandmother clock, which we usually define as one being approximately 8- inches in height or shorter, is also a Flor clock.  Even smaller are Granddaughter Clocks, generally 60 inches or shorter, and last year 1-800-4CLOCKS.com actually introduced a new kind of clock called a Grandson Clock™.  It is important to note that clock experts will not agree on the precise criteria for defining a grandfather clock or grandmother clock etc. in one category vs. another.  With ten experts, expect 15 opinions, at least!

The history of Floor Clocks and Grandfather clocks are essentially identical, being introduced in approximately 1650 in Britain and Western Europe.  The early grandfather clocks in the 1700s and 1800s frequently came in 2 distinct categories, among the many other variations between them, regarding the length of time that the grandfather clock will run on one winding.  Today, as well as throughout grandfather clocks history, 8 Day mechanical movements were the norm for high-end clocks, whether chain-driven or cable-driven floor clocks.  It used to be that many now antique grandfather clocks had 30 hour movements.  These were generally purchased by wealthy individuals for the live in help, so they could have their own grandfather clocks, but were not quite as good, for obvious reasons.  Today, when evaluating an antique grandfather clock, an informed buyer would want to know whether the mechanical floor clock movement was a 30 hour movement or an 8 day movement.

Digital atomic grandfather clocks or floor clocks?  We sure hope we are able to offer one or many styles to customers some time very soon.

Hope this history and the definition of grandfather clocks and the definition of floor clocks was and will continue to be a useful resource.

Moonphase Grandfather Clocks

03.13.10

The writer of this blog post has always been a sucker for a clock with a moonphase dial, sometimes also referred to as moondials, whether moonphase grandfather clocks, moonphase mantel clock or bracket clock, or moonphase wall clock.  And watches too!

With antique clocks, dials with a moonphase were especially prized, and were found most often, when they were found, on grandfather clocks or floor clocks.  The lunar cycle is 29 1/2 days, which is one full revolution of the moondial on the moonphase clock.  When there is a full moon outside, the clock is supposed to show a full moon at the top center of the moonphase dial.  It will take another 29 1/2 days to be in the exact same position again.  In the olden days, these days were actually used by farmers to help to know when to plant crops.  They were also of use for people traversing the oceans, although a movement that would work on a clock with enough reliability was invented later and also had multiple uses for navigation and charting voyages.

In more recent years, moondials are seen on many types of clocks.  They are also on wristwatches too, as well as some antique pocket watches. Many clocks, particular in the relatively lower price ranges, and generally with all chain-driven mechanical grandfather clocks, the moonphase dials are faux dials (the nice, and French, word for fake), and are stationary and do not move.  hey are for decorative purposes only.  Most higher-end cable driven grandfather clocks, particular by makers such as Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle Clocks, and Ridgeway Clocks, have working moonphase moondials on their grandfather clocks.

A working moonphase dial on a new or antique grandfather clock is a great feature, if one can afford a clock in that generally somewhat higher grandfather clocks price range.  Keep an eye out for grandfather clock discounts and individual grandfather clocks for sale that have this feature.  You very likely will not be disappointed, whether a grandfather clocks enthusiast or not.

Howard Miller Stewart Grandfather Clock Model 610-948

Howard Miller Stewart Grandfather Clock Model 610-948 with working moonphase dial

Grandfather Clocks Favorites

02.23.10

Many people growing up over the last couple of hundreds years, particularly in Western Civilization, have grown up with a grandfather clock as almost a member of the family.  If nothing else, the look and sounds that these wondrous timepieces called grandfather clocks remind many of their childhood at home, or perhaps visiting their grandparents or the homes of other friends and loved ones.  Way back when, as is still the case in much of Western Europe, these clocks are and were  more commonly referred to as longcase clocks, or long case clocks, and tallcase clocks, or tall case clocks.

Customers of our who are discount grandfather clocks shoppers will frequently begin their discussions with us by mentioning a grandfather clock that in one form or another grew up with, and they are hoping to recreate that memory, including look, sound, and overall grandfather clock feeling, as much as possible.  Interestingly, people who grew up with chain-driven clocks tend to be drawn to them, at least initially, because of the unusual yet memorable way these grandfather clocks are wound, by pulling down on each of the three chains to bring up each of the three weights.

Chain driven grandfather clocks frequently have a nostalgic appeal, and they also are the least expensive of the different types of grandfather clocks movements.  Partly because the movements are smaller, the grandfather clock manufacturers tend to make these among their smallest models, from a height, width, and depth dimension.

While cable driven grandfather clocks are more expensive, the movement will generally last, based on our opinion and experience, about twice as long as a chain-driven movement.  With proper care, a cable driven movement, we believe, will generally last 25-50 years.  This makes sense when you think about it in that these clocks have much more wear and tear on the clocks mechanisms or clock movements because the chain is sliding through the movement each time the clock is wound.  Cable-driven grandfather clocks can truly be heirloom quality treasures.

A cable driven grandfather clock will not only be larger and generally last much longer with proper care, these clocks also come with more extras or options, including automatic night shut-off, working moon phase dials, triple chimes, lit interiors, and some even have lit dials.  These clocks tend to also have much more heft and weight to them, in cases which can be carved quite intricately.

While the old adage “you get what you pay for” largely applies in this instance, one needs to be an informed grandfather clocks shopper to be an intelligent grandfather clock shopper.

All the mechanical grandfather clocks we sell currently have 8 day movements.

Grandfather Clocks Parts Movements Keys Service

12.07.09

We would suggest the following 3 resources:

  1. 1. Look on this page on our website to see if you can find an answer to your question(s): just click on -> http://www.1-800-4clocks.com/page/CLOCKS/ClockFAQ
  2. 2. You can locate a Howard Miller Authorized Service Center local to you here -> http://cql.howardmiller.com/HM/ServiceCenterLocator.aspx. NOTE that all mechanical Howard Miller clocks had Hermle movements in them until about 5 years ago, and that most any if not all of these Service Centers should be able to work on any Hermle Clock.  This Service Center Network is a great resource, and we have had an excellent experiences working with Service Centers around the Country (and also Canada) using this Service Center Network.  Probably at least half of these Service Centers can work on antique clocks too, as well as other Brands of Clocks!!!!
  3. 3. You can order Hermle (and other) Parts (e.g. movements, weights, pendulum, keys, etc.) from the following 2 suppliers -> www.BlackForestImports.com and www.Merritts.com.  While we have no relationship to them whatsoever, we personally have had good results working with them ourselves.  Their contact information is available on each of the noted  websites.  We would most definitely recommend calling them rather than attempting to order from their websites (which would likely be a fruitless effort).

Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks Warranty Information

11.30.09

Howard Miller’s Grandfather Clocks LIMITED WARRANTY

This product has been manufactured using only the very finest of materials and has been thoroughly tested prior to leaving our manufacturing facility.

Howard Miller warrants to the original consumer/purchaser or recipient that this product will be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use and service for a period of two years from date of purchase.  Howard Miller’s obligation under this warranty shall be limited to repairing the product with new or renewed components or, at its option, replacing it with a new or renewed product.  This warranty does not include damage to product or components resulting from abuse, accident, alteration, climatic/environmental conditions, damage beyond normal use, freight damage, mishandling, misuse, or unauthorized repair.

HOWARD MILLER DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY FOR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF BREACH OF THIS WARRANTY OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY. IMPLIED WARRANTIES ON THIS PRODUCT SHALL BE IN EFFECT ONLY FOR THE DURATION OF THE EXPRESS WARRANTY SET FORTH ABOVE AND THEREAFTER, THERE SHALL BE NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, (INCLUDING MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE), ON THIS PRODUCT.

Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages or the limitation on how long an implied warranty lasts so the above limitations or exclusions may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state.

SERVICE INFORMATION

Before pursuing service, ensure that all instructions provided with your Howard Miller product have been carefully followed. These instructions will provide detailed information to answer most questions. Contact the Howard Miller web site (www.howardmiller.com) for a list of frequently asked questions that may conveniently resolve your problem or answer your questions.

In the unlikely event that your clock appears to be malfunctioning or requires repair, in NORTH AMERICA please call one of our Repair Technicians at (616) 772-7277 (extension #386). OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA please call your distributor or agent. If they determine that the problem cannot be easily resolved, they will help locate a Service Center in your area.

Before calling, please have the following information available. The model number and serial number can be found on the Product Information Label (see General Information.) Model Number: ______________ Serial Number: ______________ Date Purchased: ______________ Where Purchased: ______________ Brief Description of Problem:____________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________

Please also have these instructions and the sales receipt or other comparable proof of original purchase available at the time of your call.

Most problems can be quickly resolved without returning the clock for service.

PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN REPAIR SERVICE

1. Contact the Dealer from whom you originally purchased the Howard Miller product or a Howard Miller Service Center.  Service charges will not be paid by Howard Miller for any repairs not performed by a Howard Miller Service Center.

2. You will be required to provide a copy of the sales receipt or other comparable proof of original purchase to obtain warranty service.

3. Provide the Dealer/Service Center with the Howard Miller model number and serial number and a complete description of the problem.

The Dealer/Service Center will make arrangements with you to service the product and/or to order any required parts from Howard Miller.

4. Howard Miller Dealers and Service Centers do not need prior authorization for service and repairs. The Dealer/Service Center will provide the necessary service and charge the party responsible within the guidelines of the limited warranty.

5. Return Authorization is required for all returns to Howard Miller. If you have been given authorization to return the product to Howard Miller, you will be provided with a Return Authorization number (RGA#).

Please include this Return Authorization number, above your name, on the address label. Also include a copy (original receipts should never be submitted as they can not be returned) of the sales receipt or other comparable proof of original purchase. Returns without prior authorization or proof of purchase may be subject to additional charges and delays. If a return is necessary, please package clock in the ORIGINAL packaging. Failure to properly pack the clock may cause damage that is not covered under warranty.

12

13

NON-WARRANTY REPAIR SERVICE

Charges will result for repair services if a sales receipt or other comparable proof of original purchase is not provided, if instructions were not followed, if the product is beyond the Limited Warranty period or is otherwise outside the scope of the Limited Warranty.

MINOR ADJUSTMENTS NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY The following minor adjustments are not covered under this warranty. Repair service and/or parts to correct these adjustments are at the consumer’s expense.

1. “Set-Up”.   Set-Up instructions have been provided with your Howard Miller product.  (As a Customer of 1-800-4CLOCKS, you may well be eligible for our FREE IN-HOME Set-up).

2. Mechanical Movement Oiling and Cleaning. The movement in your clock is a mechanical mechanism and, therefore, requires periodic oiling and cleaning depending on climatic and environmental conditions.

Under normal conditions a movement requires oiling with high quality clock oil approximately every two years from the date of purchase.

Please contact a qualified clock repair person or Howard Miller Service Center for this service.

3. Replacement of Suspension Spring. Replacement instructions have been provided with your Howard Miller product. Please return broken suspension spring to Howard Miller for proper identification. Replacement suspension springs are available from Howard Miller.

4. Pendulum, Timing, and Chime/Strike Hammer Adjustments. Instructions for these adjustments have been provided in this publication.

FREIGHT DAMAGE NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY It is the responsibility of the consignee to claim any freight loss or damage directly with the carrier. If the carton indicates signs of “visible damage”, instruct the driver to note the damage on the freight bill. If the carton contains “concealed damage”, notify the carrier and request in writing within 14 days of product receipt a carrier inspection and damage report. Failure to notify the carrier within 14 days of product receipt may waive your rights to a damage claim.

WE HOPE THIS IS AS CLEAR TO YOU AS IT IS TO US AT 1-800-4CLOCKS ;) .  Have questions?  Feel free to call us any time at 1-800-4CLOCKS (1-800-425-6257).

Antique Grandfather Clocks

11.21.09

Antique Grandfather Clocks offer a piece of history.  Not only the history of time and timekeeping, but also a physical connection to the past.  Heirloom quality grandfather clocks can be passed from generation to generation, and grandfather clock owners can take great pride and comfort  in knowing that their grandfather clock is like a living connection spanning, potentially, centuries.

If you are not the lucky beneficiary of a high quality antique grandfather clock, and you are shopping for GrandfatherClocks, one might want to consider whether it is worthwhile to purchase an antique grandfather clock or whether to buy a new one from one of the high-end clock makers like Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle Clocks, Ridgeway Clocks, or Bulova Clocks.  Each approach has its pros and cons, and in many cases individual timepiece and clock collectors may have their wants and needs based on exogenous factors.

Antique GrandfatherClocks clocks have the advantage, assuming the clocks are all original, of being highly collectible, and potentially having a rich history themselves.  For example, one grandfather clock near me right now was special ordered from Tiffany & Company by the Founder of Coca Cola as a gift to his daughter.  The daughter lived in a well known hotel in her later years, and allowed the clock to be in the Lobby of a well known Atlanta hotel for many years.  Upon her death, she bequeathed the clock to a Church, which had it in its rectory for many many years.  In recent years, the Church decided for whatever reason that it wanted to sell this grandfather clock, and the lucky buyer of this historic grandfather clock happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Now could any new grandfather clock have a story behind it like that?

So why would any grandfather clocks buyer think about buying a new grandfather clock instead of an antique grandfather clock.  The reasons are many and varied, especially in this season where individuals are looking avidly for grandfather clocks discounts and for a grandfather clocks sale.  To purchase an antique grandfather clock, a buyer really needs to know what he or she is doing, or there is a high likelihood one may either overspend in general on a clock, or more likely, not get what they really think they are getting.  Reproductions of grandfather clocks or outright counterfeits are not that unusual.  Clocks that are not all original, but rather parts of different clocks put together as one, known as marriages, can make a grandfather clock relatively worthless, or at least devalued to a small fraction of its monetary worth otherwise, from a collectibility standpoint.

Also, in terms of the features of a clock, not to mention the condition of the clock case and movement, can mean an antique will be significantly more expensive for a grandfather clock purchase for a comparable looking and sounding clock.  Antique grandfather clocks will not have automatic nighttime shutoff, something introduced relatively recently as one of the grandfather clock features.  It is unlikely one will find a triple-chime grandfather clock, unless one is willing to pay 2-3-5+ times the price for a comparable looking clock.  A working moondial, or even having a moonphase that rotates, is a feature on most new grandfather clocks. Having that on an antique grandfather clock will add significantly to the cost.

Want a contemporary grandfather clock?  Well, then your choices are pretty much limited to the newer ones.

Probably the biggest distinction and point to be mindful of when shopping for a grandfather clock is that an antique clock has the potential to be both a money pit and an ongoing headache, with much higher repair and service bills.  This does not even include the fact that there may also be restoration costs and that fact that it is much harder to find someone (one of the reasons it is so much more costly) who can work on antique grandfather clocks.  The potential for wood restoration, where a furniture or cabinetry expert, or possibly someone who works with inlay, may also be an added cost and consume a lot of time.

Any antique clock should be bought recognizing that there is a reasonable chance that it may end up being what we call a project clock, which requires a series of efforts over time with different experts.

Advantages to antique grandfather clocks are they they are general louder, assuming one finds this to be a benefit, and if one gets a good deal on an antique grandfather clock that is the genuine article, it is likely to hold its value better, and also more likely, in our opinion, to increase in value  over time.

Interestingly, when factoring in the above issues, which we don’t think many grandfather clocks shoppers do anyway, the vary large majority of grandfather clock and grandmother clock shoppers tend to go for new clocks, both said that they know they will be working “out of the container” and they no there will be no surprises.  The rich features of the new clocks help too.  And there are more easy choices to go with ones home decor or while doing interior decorating or interior design.

Regardless, there is one common denominator among grandfather clocks shoppers.  A grandfather clocks discount and a grandfather clocks sale is always welcome and sought after by shoppers of all kinds of clocks.  Go figure.

Grandfather Clocks Movements – Replace or Repair

08.27.09

In more modern grandfather clocks, there are 3 major categories of grandfather clocks with related movements, which are cable driven grandfather clocks, chain driven grandfather clocks, and quartz grandfather clocks, which are battery operated (there is also a tubular chime grandfather clock which has yet a different movement, but these clocks, while perhaps the most collectible, are the least collected because of their high price tag — so not addressed in this post).

The finest of the 3 movements, in our opinion, is the cable-driven mechanical clock. These magnificent timepieces, especially when the movements are made by the leading German movement makers Hermle and Kieninger, can in our experience expect to have a true heirloom life expectancy of 50-100 years with proper care, literally spanning several generations. The movements are generally 8 days, so winding once a week keeps then running continuously. The chime quality is the best because one actually hears the hammer striking the chime rod on each note. And cable driven movements can come with many bells and whistles, such as automatic nightime shut-off options, and many have triple chimes, with 2 in addition to the Westminster Chime. The downsides are there is no volume control for practical purposes, and grandfather clocks with these movements tend to be the priciest, though within a wide price range.

Grandfather clocks with chain-driven movements have some advantages and disadvantages as well. The movements themselves are smaller, so they are generally put in smaller cases, resulting in grandfather clocks with less height and depth than average. Many are attached to chain-driven clocks for sentimental reasons, especially if one grew up with one in one’s home. They are generally less expensive. They are also mostly 8 Day Movements, so if one “winds” the three weights by pulling down on each of the 3 chains once a week, the clock will run continuously. The only downsides we see with this type of movement are that the associated grandfather clocks do not generally have the same “bells and whistles”, e.g. automatic nighttime shutoff, or a moving and working moonphase dial. Perhaps the biggest downside in our experience is that the lifetime expectancy on a grandfather clock with a chain-driven movement is perhaps roughly half of what it might be for a cable-driven grandfather clock movement — in our experience maybe 25-50 years for a chain-driven grandfather clocks vs. 50-100+ years for a cable-driven grandfather clocks.

Now quartz grandfather clocks, which are battery operated, have a separate set of pros and cons. The pros are they are the least expensive to purchase, they have volume control, most have auto-night shut-off, and one does not need to remember to wind one! The cons are that the cases tend to be not as nice as those grandfather clocks housed with mechanical movements, and the sound of the chimes is not as good as with a mechanical grandfather clock. The reason for that is with a quartz grandfather clock one is actually listening to the chimes on a sound chip, and it has a higher pitch and “tinnier” sound. In our experience, a high quality quartz movement for a grandfather clock might be expected to last 10-25 years.

The good news for all 3 of these types of clocks is that the movements can either be repaired or replaced, even many many years later (we will go out on a limb here, be futuristic, and say they should be available for the next 100+ years, if a replacement movement is needed). Proper care and maintenance of a clock, including a “check-up” with cleaning and oiling every 5 years, is a must to preserve the longevity of your clock. When parts where out, and they will, there is always the question of whether it is cost-effective to simply replace the movement, or to fix the worn or broken parts, e.g. worn pivots or a broken wheel.

Quartz movements are generally most cost efficient to have replaced. They are inexpensive. With cable driven and chain-driven grandfather clocks, one really needs to look carefully at the pros and the cons of each action, with a special focus on the cost and likely longevity factor weighing in with either choice for a grandfather clock. Currently, there would not seem to be a reason to keep the clock “all original”, but tell that to the kid who’s mom threw out his old junk baseball card collection in a house clean-up. The conventional wisdom and collectibility factor could be a set of changing rules over time.

Have a grandfather clocks service center that you trust makes all the difference. We might also recommend getting 2 opinions if that is possible in your situation.

If one is horologically inclined, one could even order a new movement directly from an authorized supplier, such as Merritts.com or BlackForestImports.com. One needs all the numbers and markings on the back of the clock to be most certain-likely to get the “exact” or close to exact movement.

Any specific grandfather clocks questions or comments, please feel free to post them here at GrandfatherClocksBlog.com, operated by 1-800-4CLOCKS.com.

Replacing A Grandfather Clocks Movement

08.04.09

With the advent of consumer electronics and the industrial age, many quite valuable mechanical grandfather clocks, as well as wall clocks and mantel clocks, had their works replaced when they broke down, with battery operated movements.  In most of these instances, the mechanical movements were simply tossed into the garbage as broken worthless remnants of a bygone era.  And many of these movements were simply replaced with new “state of the art” battery operated quartz movements.

This was as true for mechanical watches as it was for antique grandfather clocks and mantle clocks and wall clocks.  The reality, as many discovered years later, is that essentially threw away, or allowed to be gutted, the very core of the mechanical clock or watch, and with a critical component of the value of the timepiece.  As most all serious clock collectors know, a mismatched case and movement, whether for a grandfather clock or a pocket watch, are known, rather ironically, as a “marriage”.  Serious collectors as a general rule will not even collect a marriage, and Dealers who try to pass of a “marriage” as all original would be frowned upon as untrustworthy.

Some forward thinking individuals, perhaps with the help of their grandfather clocks repair person, suggested that individuals keep the movement even when it was broken, but just store it separately.  This was a very wise move indeed.

In this post we have focused on replacing movements in antique grandfather clocks, wall clocks, and mantel clocks.  We will soon also post here on this Grandfather Clocks Blog what the considerations are when deciding whether or not to replace vs. repair a movement on a more modern clock.  Different thinking and logic frequently applied.  But that is what people thought when they replacing Rolex mechanical movements with quartz battery driven ones.  Anyway, stay tuned for our advice on more recent clocks, to discuss our current wisdom.

Oh, but if we only knew we and our ancestors would have held on to our old Model Ts, Packards, and Studebakers.  And do not forget the many many thousands of baseball card collections that were thrown out by parents during home clean-ups.

Grandfather Clocks Running Fast Slow Over Time How To Fix

05.12.09

Is your grandfather clock running too fast or too slow?  If so, what should you do about it.  This is a question we get asked many times, and we are attempting to provide here a useful guide for most owners of clocks.

Before deciding whether to raise or lower what is known as the pendulum bob – the usually brass round  weight near the bottom of the pendulum – it might first worth be asking whether the grandfather clock had been running fine for many years.  If so, and it has, say, after 5 or 10 plus years after purchasing it, a slow-running clock may be a symptom of a clock that needs a good cleaning and oiling.  If so, find a good local grandfather clocks repair center.

But what if your grandfather clock is new, or you’ve recently moved it, and it needs adjustment?  If your grandfather clock is RUNNING TOO SLOW, one should RAISE the pendulum bob to make the clock’s movement run faster.  If the clock is RUNNING TOO FAST, one should LOWER the pendulum bob to make the clock’s movement go slower.  One needs to have patience and be willing to experiment with how many turns of the screw beneath the pendulum will affect your clock.  Checking against a computer clock or other reliable timepiece once a day is a good idea, as is keeping notes of how many turns of the screw were made and the impact it had on the time.

Another key question is WHAT DIRECTION does one turn the screw beneath the pendulum to raise or lower the pendulum bob.  While it does not work the same for all clocks, the large majority of clocks made in the last 50 years will allow one to follow the direction of turning the screw clockwise or right to raise the pendulum bob and make the clock go faster.  Conversely, for most grandfather clock movements, if one turns the screw beneath the pendulum bob counter-clockwise or left to lower the pendulum make, it will make the clock go slower.

The best advice we can give is to try moving the pendulum bob a turn for every minute, for, say, up to a 10 minute daily variation vs. the correct time.  Recalibrate after seeing the results after 24 hours, and decide what to do the next day.

A final note.  We recommend not seeking the perfection of an atomic clock, but rather getting your clock to be accurate within, say, a minute or so per day.  After all, another way of looking at it is you can spend $25 for a very accurate quartz watch or many thousands of dollars for a Rolex, Audemars, or Vacheron Constantin.  One is buying more than accurate timekeeping when investing in a grandfather clock.

Howard Miller Newman Grandfather Clock

Howard Miller Newman Grandfather Clock Model 611-120 611120


Mechanical Grandfather Clocks – To Wind or to Allow to Wind Down

01.08.09

The vast majority of high-end mechanical grandfather clocks, whether they have cable driven movements or the chain driven movement type, have 8 day movements.  This means the movements, when fully wound, will run for eight days.  This is true for Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Floor Clocks, the Ridgeway Grandfather Clock Collection, Bulova Grandfather Clocks, and the made-to-order Kieninger Grandfather Clock Collection.

One question we are asked with some regularity is whether a grandfather clock can be damaged if it is allowed to wind down completely, or if it is stopped – by stopping the pendulum – while the weights are, say, halfway down.  The short answer is no, this should not hurt the mechanism of one’s grandfather clock.  The grandfather clocks are built to both withstand the pressure of the weights if they are partially down or fully down.  When winding a chain-driven clock, it is important, as it would be all the time, not to pull the chains too hard so that the weights go higher than they should.  But this would not be any different whether the chains are being pulled up after 7 days or after the clock has stopped and fully wound down after eight days.

Many super high quality grandfather clocks in fine condition that have been owned by the person writing this post have been left more or less as decorative pieces vs. timekeepers and chimers, in some cases for years, and these floor clocks are no worse for the wear, or perhaps the lack of wear!

Grandfather clock maintenance is of course still critical, with most experts recommending a cleaning and oiling at least every 3 years, as the oil will tend to dry out over time and cause more wear on the internal mechanism if it is not sufficiently lubricated.

Oh, and to start your grandfather clock up again if it has stopped (aside from any necessary winding, of course), don’t forget to move the pendulum on your mechanical grandfather clock with gentle nudges or pushes or swings from each side until you hear it ticking away and can hear a consistent ticking sound, known in the trade as being “in beat”.

Wishing all clock collectors, admirers, and everone else in the world a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2009!

Page 3 of 512345