Gilbert Admiral schoolhouse clock – first look

Gilbert Schoolhouse clock

When I bought this clock I was not sure what I had. There is no label, no makers name on the dial and an unsigned movement. I thought, Gilbert, Sessions?

This clock was hanging on the wall of a local antique shop with no price. When I inquired the shop owner said that he just picked it up and had not decided on a price but he knew the clock had issues. The hands did not turn otherwise he said the clock ran fine. Something wrong in the motion works, I thought. It could be a simple fix or something more challenging. The brass dial bezel was secured with Robertson screws which told me that the clock had been messed with.

My wife said go for it, it’s about time for another clock project. I offered a price and he agreed but I walked away wondering what surprises awaited me.

For what I can see, it is intact; original Maltese hands, calendar hand stripped of red paint, very tarnished brass bezel, factory paper dial but the maker’s name is painted out, not sure why! It has the original pendulum bob and what might be the winding key that came with the clock.

It is steam pressed oak but difficult to tell because there is absence of texture, it so dark and dirty
Gilbert time-only movement

I took the dial off and immediately observed that there were no extra screw holes, just the original ones holding the movement. A good sign. The large time-only calendar movement appears to be original to the case. Unsigned Gilbert movements are apparently quite common. The CD stamped on the lower left of the front plate might stand for Calendar Date.

I appealed to the more knowledgeable on an online clock forum site and several agreed that it is a Gilbert Admiral time-only with calendar, circa 1901. It is otherwise known as the model 3027, the factory number for the Admiral. The clock measures 27 1/2 inches tall by 18 inches wide by 5 inches deep.

It is steam pressed oak but difficult to tell because there is the absence of texture, it is so dark. Beneath all that dirt there could be fine oak grain.

Preliminary observation

The issue is certainly with the motion works. The centre pinion should friction fit on the centre arbour while the larger gear just above it must turn freely. As you can see in the following photo the small pinion has dropped down the shaft with the larger pinion disconnected. As a result, the hands do not turn.

The small pinion has dropped down the shaft with the larger pinion disconnected

A closer inspection reveals a cracked pinion.

Cracked pinion; apparently a common issue with Gilbert movements

I am looking at remedial options and will pick the best solution.

I want to tackle this one quickly so I should have an article in the next few days describing the challenges of bringing the movement back to live. Oh, and I intend to find out what is beneath that patina (or dirt as some would say).


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