Ansonia Schoolhouse Clock – Part II – cleaning, bushing work and final testing

The Ansonia octagonal short drop wall clock was (is) commonly known as a schoolhouse clock. This clock was manufactured in 1912. The number “12” , the year stamp, is found on lower front plate of the movement. The letter “N” is also on the movement.

In this post, Part II, I will proceed with cleaning the movement and performing required bushing work in addition to assembling and final testing.

12 and N on the plate
12 and N on the plate

This is my one and only Ansonia clock. Since it is a fairly conventional time-only movement with an outboard escape wheel, it is fairly simple to work on and for those of you starting out, this is the first movement you should attempt.

Movement is running well and in beat
Movement in the case prior to dis-assembly

After applying a C-clamp to the mainspring to contain the spring’s power I dis-assembled the movement, placed the parts in the ultrasonic cleaner then cleaned and polished the pivots prior to the bushing work. The clock required six bushings, three on the front plate and three on the back. The worst was the third wheel as you can see in this photo. This is not unexpected because of the constant power and stress produced by the mainspring but definitely indicates a very worn pivot hole.

Close-up of bushing wear
Close-up of bushing wear, the circle indicates where the pivot resides
Springs were inspected and cleaned
The mainspring was inspected and cleaned
Using a micrometer to check pivot
Using a micrometer to check pivot diameter
Bergeon Bushing Machine
Bergeon Bushing Machine, an indispensable tool for bushing work

The only challenge I had was dealing with the brass arm that supports the front plate pivot on the escape wheel (arrow). To install the bushing I had to stabilize the arm on the bushing machine without bending or breaking it and using very light hammer strikes to seat the bushing.

Arrow indicating tricky bushing install
Arrow indicating tricky bushing install

The bushing went in nicely as you can in the next photo. Otherwise, the remaining bushing work went as expected.

Bushing install on escape wheel arbour
Bushing installed on escape wheel arbour
Testing in the case
Testing in the case

Although I have an excellent clock stand I decided to test the movement in the case due to the acute mounting angle of the movement. I tossed out the old screws which did not appear to be original and used new slotted brass screws to attach the dial pan and the hinge for the brass bezel. In the process of fumbling with the glazed bezel I knocked off the brass catch that fits into a slot on the case front. An angled wood block fits into the notch on the catch when the bezel is closed. I got out my torch and with some sanding, an application of flux and sufficient solder the catch operates as it should.

Brass catch repair
Brass catch repair

Since I serviced the movement why not go one step further and refresh the brass. I gave all the brass a good cleaning with Brasso bringing back it’s original luster. Someone messed with the clock face some time ago which is unfortunate but I have decided to leave it as-is. A new paper dial face would not look right.

Ansonia clock project is complete
Ansonia clock project is complete

A simple project that can be done in half a day, enough to extent the life of this handsome antique schoolhouse wall clock that will tick along for years to come.


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