I acquired my Smiths Enfield time and strike clock in 2013 from a young clock tinkerer in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and it was never a reliable runner from the start. It would not run for any more than several minutes. The clock was put aside and sat in a corner of my shop.
It is not a particularly attractive clock and reflects most utilitarian post war English style clocks from the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Armed with new knowledge and experience it was time to take a second look. But first.
Who exactly is Smiths Enfield?
The Enfield Clock Company (London) Ltd was formed in 1929 and the first clocks were sold in 1932.
The company used modern assembly line techniques to manufacture and assemble their clock movements, based on the American system of automated factories. The clocks were originally sold for wholesale and export only with movements sold to shops, casing them up themselves. The Enfield Clock Company prided themselves in the ‘British made’ clock. In 1933, the company was finding it difficult to compete on price so the company was sold to Smiths Industries, hence the name change to ‘Smiths Enfield’ clocks.
1935/6 they introduced a striking 14 day clock in a Jacobean Oak case putting the company on a more established footing. In 1939,coinciding with the outbreak of war, the factory was turned over to war time production. Clock production did not stop completely but material shortages were a major problem.
After the war, American machines were allowed to be kept and production of the 53mm movement re-commenced. Production was later moved to Smiths factory at Cricklewood and then later to their Welsh factory about 1955. Under Smiths industries the production line was changed to watches. Ultimately all clock production was phased out and the company closed shortly thereafter.
Let’s see if a new suspension spring will work
I had serviced the clock in 2015. At the time it needed bushing work but since the wear was not so bad I thought I could put it off for two years but the clock has not been running since then. At the time I Knew little about the purpose and function of a suspension spring and assuming that the one that came with the clock was the correct one I surmised that there must be another issue causing the clock to run poorly.
Time to turn to the suspension spring to see if that is the issue.
In the past 4 years I have built up an assortment of suspension springs and through trial and error found one that is either correct for the movement or very close.
The suspension spring has a mounting hole on one end and a small t-bar at the other where the pendulum hangs. I removed the old one and installed a shorter one that is more flexible. The result is a clock that now runs. In the first week it lost about five minutes. I continued to make minor adjustments to the pendulum length with improved results following each adjustment.
Lesson learned, the correct suspension spring is the difference between a running and a non-running clock.