Ingraham Huron – the secret within – Part III

RS April 12th
Minor case restoration completed

Restoring the case was relatively simple. After a thorough cleaning to lift the accumulated grime, a wax overcoat, touch-ups in discrete areas with yellow shellac, the case is very presentable for a 138 year old clock. I cleaned up the brass bezel but left the paper dial untouched. The hands are original and left those alone. The lacquer on the pendulum is still intact; no work needed on it.

And now to a further investigation of the movement.

After taking the dial pan off a couple of days ago my first impression was that the movement appeared to be in good condition. There are a number of newer bushings on the front which would have been expected for a clock of this vintage.  The servicing of the front plate looked like a capable repair. I oiled the front pivots and gave the pendulum a push, adjusted the verge and found a good beat. It ran continuously through the night. The next day I decided that if I were to keep this clock running until I can do some work on it, the movement should come out to oil the back pivots. It must have been years since this movement last saw pivot oil.

No problem. Four screws and out it came.

The secrets of this clock were now being revealed. Here you can see the back plate. I immediately observed several distressing issues with the movement. The first two problem areas are indicated by the white arrows. The left one shows a piece soldered onto the plate to address a pivot issue. The second shows a new bushing where one should not ordinarily be.

RS Ingraham movement (4)
Back plate showing two problem areas

The addition of a new bushing in that location must have been done for a reason. At this point I cannot speculate why it had to be done this way but it looks like shoddy workmanship. Otherwise, I do not see any other conventional bushing work.

You can see that the escape wheel arbor is clearly misaligned in the following photo. It works though theoretically it should not. Despite the fact that the clock is happily ticking away it is a poor fix for an unknown (to me) problem.

RS Ingraham movement (5)
Arrow showing a misaligned escape wheel arbor

The next issue is a soldered lantern pinion seen here just off the main gear (see arrow).

RS Ingraham movement (2)
Soldered lantern pinion

It is not a problem now unless one had to work on the pinions on that gear at some later date.

The fan was also repaired with solder. It looks ugly but it does not effect the running of the clock.

RS Ingraham movement (1)

So what to do? A simple bushing job I can do but serious bushing work is obviously required from someone with the experience and knowledge of Ingraham movements and I don’t have that level of expertise – yet. I may put this aside until  I gain more experience or have it professionally repaired.

I did discover one unusual feature. Although it has a wonderful gong tone on the hour it does not strike on the half hour.

For the moment is is ticking away and keeping good time.

6 thoughts on “Ingraham Huron – the secret within – Part III

  1. Hey Ron,

    The solder on the fan *IS* a serious issue. Without the fan arbour being able to slip slightly when the strike train stops, it means that every time it does stop, it’s a completely dead stop, and this can really stress some of the teeth and lantern pinions within the train. I see this solder “repair” ALL the time, and it’s always unnecessary. There’s a reason that the fan is just a snug tension fit.

    The other bushings are something you can learn to repair yourself. I learned hand bushing work, and there really isn’t much to it. You need a bushing tool (I suggest the KWM one) a set of cutting broaches (to open up the pivot hole to the exact right size after installing the bushing), and you need some small round files, which are used to re-centre/expand the worn hole before cutting the hole for the new bushing.

    The tools have unfortunately gone up quite a lot in price since I bought mine only about 10 years ago. The KWM bushing tool (kit) was 62$ USD, and I believe it’s now closet to 90-100$ USD, and the cutting broaches are also not too cheap (30$ or more?). That said, one of the nearby clock places wanted to charge me 260$ to do a few bushing repairs on an ogee clock (this was very early on when I had just started), so I decided to just buy the tools and do it myself. That was one of the first clocks I bushed, and it’s still working perfectly 12 years later.

    Not much you can do about the solder over the lantern pinions. For this I would normally just cut most of it off, and then polish off the rest on the lathe. You can make-do with chucking the wheel in a drill press and using a file to remove the bulk of it. What little solder will remain could then probably be pushed out or carefully drilled if pinions ever needed changing (since the holes would now be visible).

    That Huron is a GORGEOUS piece, btw.

    Another quick note: please don’t confuse “bushings” and “pivot holes”. There’s a clear difference, and it can start to get a bit confusing. If you look at the first movement photo in your post, you can see that the original movement had only two bushings on the back plate and those are the main wheel bushings. The rest of the wheels never had bushings, only pivot holes through the plates. Bushings are simple doughnut shaped brass rings or plugs of brass installed to re-form new/fresh pivot holes (used as a repair). I was also confused in the beginning (when I was learning clock repair) by what I THOUGHT were bushings, but were in fact depressions in the brass formed by “hole-closing punches”. These create a doughnut shaped ring around the pivot holes which serve to compress the brass and tighten the holes. These will show only on one side (unless the repairman has punched both sides), and depending on how hard the repairman made the blow with his hammer, they can be very shallow rings, or so deep and aggressive that they almost cut through the whole plate. Bushings will always show all the way through the plate. If you look at my post here: you will see a combination of shallow hole-closing punch marks as well as bushings (with solder around them).

    It also might be worth noting that there are several types of bushings, some better than others. The KWM system is fast and easy, and the bushings can often simply be tapped out lightly with a punch (they are only held in place with a friction fit). Other repairmen like to make their own bushings with brass tubing. Some like a very tight fit, and to polish them perfectly flush with the plates (making them essentially invisible). Another method is to have the bushing completely riveted into the plate from both sides (very secure). This basically forms an “I” shaped profile within the plate.


    1. JC,

      I wondered about the solder, and there is a lot of it at that particular spot. Makes sense that it would have an effect on rotational speed. The bushing repairs are next and I plan to do as much as I can. I have a few “practice” movements from American clocks that I can get started on. I think I will leave the lantern pinion alone for now and deal with in if the pinons need attention at some point in the future.

      Thanks for the clarification regarding bushings versus pivot holes and your explanation of the punch holes make perfect sense. I suspected that they are intended to compress the brass. Seems like the easy way out I suppose but effective. I took a look at the ST movement and you did a great job!

      Its all good learning.



      1. If you’re planning to learn hand bushing work, I suggest that you read-up on the various methods. I tend to do them in an “easy-peasy” fashion, where I just make the wheels push back and forth within the train to see which sides are the worn ones, and which sides are the unworn ones. Once I know this, I mark the good (unworn sides) using a marker, and then I can file that side with equal “wear” so that the bushing tool will stay within centre (plus or minus a few thousandths). I largely eyeball this, and I tend to have decent success. Bushings using the KWM system are always installed from the inside plates. Holes are then broached for roughly a 5 degree tilt once the wheel is fitted (so as not to be too tight).

        As I said, there are other methods, some may be better, some may be poorer. I know one clockmaker told me that with the more expensive bushing tool (which clamps the plate and uses a hand wheel) you don’t need to re-centre the hole using a file, but I still tend to think it can’t hurt to equal-out the wear.

        Then there’s also the wild debate over brass VS bronze bushings. I prefer brass simply because I don’t like the range colour (and contrast) of the bronze. I have both, and I tend to use the bronze in client clocks until I can get rid of them.


        1. What broaches would you recommend to start with? I have also heard that most prefer brass because it is easier to replace a bushing than to replace a pivot.



          1. It’s been a LONG time since I purchased mine, so I don’t really remember which set I bought. I know mine are a 12 pc set, and they work for most of the work I’ve needed them for, however, I’m not even sure how they’re measured, so I’m not sure which set it was. It seems like it might be set # 13411 (46.50 USD) from Timesavers. I know I had to buy one separate large broach for one specific job, but obviously they’re more expensive if you buy them individually. I rarely need a size other than what’s in the 12 pc set. You may also want the matching set of smoothing broaches # 13412 (same price), but I’ve never bothered to buy smoothing broaches. Many clockmakers swear by them, but it’s up to you. If you buy those, you’ll need a pin vise for them.

            I don’t believe that the bronze bushings are hard enough to cause excessive pivot wear. As far as I know, they’re only slightly harder than brass.


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