My hope was that it would be a relatively straight forward exercise

This is Part 1 of servicing this 30 hour Waterbury time and strike movement. I honestly thought it would be relatively straight forward exercise. Dis-assemble, clean the parts, polish the pivots, do a little bushing work and voila! Not so.

I have worked on many clock movements but I have never seen quite the extent of wear that I found on this movement. 150 years certainly takes its toll.

Ogee clock showing replacement pendulum bob
Ogee clock showing replacement pendulum bob

Some time ago I profiled this Ogee clock. To reiterate, in 1839 the first prototype movement was produced for Chauncey Jerome by his brother Noble in Connecticut, USA. Jerome thought that a simple one-day clock could be produced far more cheaply than those with wooden movements at the time. Brass movements were more robust, could be transported easily and were unaffected by humidity. The simple case added to the movement was the Ogee named for its “S” shaped moldings. The success of the Ogee clock convinced other makers that there was money to be made in clock production.

This particular 30 hour time and strike Waterbury Ogee clock was produced at the height of Ogee clock production (1870s) and many thousands were sold. This is a very fine example. Absolutely nothing needs to be done to the case; it is in exceptional condition. The movement, well, that’s another story. This was not a working clock when I got it.

Waterbury clock movement
Waterbury clock movement

After disassembling the movement I discovered two things. One, there was evidence that it had been worked on before – as expected. There were punch and stake marks on the movement plates to close pivot holes and there was considerable wear in the lantern pinions.

Front plate has been removed

Four of the wheels have lantern pinions, with 5 trundles apiece. Trundles are the loose wires within the 2 shrouds. Dust and dirt as well as misalignment of wheel and pinion due to worn pivot holes can exacerbate the wear issue. The trundles on all 4 lantern pinions are very worn as you can see in the next two photos. I discovered why this clock does not run. When the gear teeth hits two worn trundles at precisely the right angle it locks the gear and stops the clock.

Worn trundles within lantern pinion
Worn trundles within lantern pinion
Another wheel with worn trundles within the lantern pinion
Another wheel with worn trundles within the lantern pinion

Professional clock-makers encounter these issues fairly regularly. Indeed, one of the most common operations in clock repair is replacing bent, broken or worn trundles. There are different methods of performing this service and the method I will employ is to drill into the shroud, extract the worn trundles, cut new ones out of pivot wire, insert them and re-knurl the shroud.

In the meantime bushing work was performed; 10 bushings were installed, 5 on the back plate and 5 on the front, including one on the escape wheel bridge. I re-assembled the movement knowing that the trundles had to be replaced, but despite new bushings the movement ran only marginally better.

Part II (Jan 2nd) details the procedure I followed to replace the trundles in the lantern pinions. Stay tuned.