Last summer (2017) my sister asked me to look at her newly acquired Ansonia time-only 1-day cottage clock (circa 1895). “How much did you pay for it”, I said. “Only $25 but it doesn’t work, something is wrong with it,” she said without being too specific. Apparently, she was correct.
The clock would have not cost much at the time, perhaps a dollar or so but today people collect small clocks such as this and prices can be higher than the more common antique mantel clock. Back then for an extra 50 cents you could buy a time and strike cottage clock with an alarm feature but his one is pretty basic. They were cheaply built, somewhat disposable since very few made their way to the repair shop and perhaps not as many have survived.
Several months have gone by and I thought I should take a look at the clock, repair the movement, spruce up the case and dial face and return it to her in working condition. Having completed a number of other projects I decided I had time to tackle this one.
The clock would run for a few minutes and stop. It was dirty as you would expect and things were generally pretty loose, particularly the winding arbour. It was clear something around the mainspring was amiss. The click was also quite loose and would not engage every time.
Time-only movements are the simplest to work on and this is no exception. If you are starting out in the world of mechanical clocks this is the movement to begin with. The movement is very small in comparison to mantel or kitchen clocks and measures only 2 inches wide by 3 inches tall. Despite its diminutive size, it is easy to work on. The case itself is only 9 1/2 inches tall by 7 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches deep.
The movement had clearly been worked on before. The click anchor screw was stripped and there were punch marks on the escape wheel bridge.
The most troubling issue was the main wheel arbour which had detached from the gear. It took a few punches on the brass shroud to push it in back into place and secure the wheel to the arbour. Not the prettiest of repairs but very functional. The click was also loose and would barely engage the ratchet. It took a couple of punches on the holding pin to secure it tightly in place.
Four bushings were installed, the centre arbour (rear), the rear of numbers 2 and 3 wheels and the escape wheel bridge.
The clock was mounted on the test stand and run for several days without issue. Once testing was completed it was returned to its case.
The numbers on the dial were somewhat faded. I decided to address the numbers with a little paint.
I was concerned about being too invasive when touching up the dial but I thought the numerals should stand out a little more. I used a number 2 paintbrush and touched them up using flat black acrylic metal paint and a Sharpie pen for the small lines. The effect is subtle without being over the top.
The case was cleaned up with a toothbrush and Murphy’s Soap. There is some finish loss on top but I will leave that as-is.
Here is the completed project. The movement is now back in its case.
The hands, which appear original, are attached and the clock is running better than it has in years.
I am sure that my sister will be pleased when the clock is returned to her.