Gilbert 2038 tambour clock with Normandy Chime – servicing the movement

I have worked on Gilbert movements previously but this one is a little different; it has a rod gong with two striking hammers. Disassembly was routine but required the removal of parts to separate the plates.

The Gilbert Clock Company began making clocks in December of 1828 and produced clocks over a span of 130 years.

Gilbert tambour style clock model 2038

This is the model 2038 with a bim-bam strike or what Gilbert in its marketing called a Normandy Chime. The model number along with the words “Normandy Chime” are stamped on the bottom of the case. The “Normandy Chime” was reminiscent of the old bells of Normandy (Corneville) in France.

In terms of nomenclature within clock circles, calling it a “Chime” certainly adds to the confusion as this would be considered a striking clock rather than a chiming one.

Servicing the movement

Clocks such as this that have not seen servicing in many years fail because of a combination of bushing wear and old oil buildup.

The movement is placed on the work bench for assessment

Disassembling and immersing the parts in an ultrasonic cleaner is a critical part of the servicing. The first step is the removal of two parts shown by the arrows in the next photo.

Parts to be removed before servicing

The top arrow is the disc for the bim-bam strike, the bottom arrow shows the L bracket for the passing strike. Both of these parts must be removed in order to work on the movement. They are friction fit and must be lifted off their arbours. I did not have a gear puller at the time but by placing two screwdrivers opposite each other under the wheel and bracket they are lifted off the arbours.

One issue is the location of a worn pivot hole for the motion works gears. I used a smaller 3mm diameter bushing to avoid coming too close to the plate edge. The bushing was broached out to accommodate the pivot. The video shows the problem.

5 bushings were required to bring this clock to top running condition.

The mainsprings were in good shape and have plenty of motive power to maintain an 8-day cycle.

Cam wheel, top and motion works

This Gilbert mantel clock reflects the period it was made and thousands found their way into the living rooms and front parlours of North American homes. It is plain looking, not unattractive and certainly deserving of a few more years of life.


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