E N Welch Cottage Extra servicing Part 1 – assessment

E N Welch 8-day cottage clock
E N Welch 8-day cottage clock

This rather plain, box-like 8-day hour strike shelf clock is up for servicing. I wrote about first impressions in Sept 2019 and said at that time that the clock is in reasonably good condition, runs well, but needs a good cleaning.

8-day Welch movement with alarm
8-day Welch movement with alarm wheel but the actual alarm is missing

Prior to cleaning I always take the time to assess the general condition of the case and the movement.

The case has a curved ogee style outer frame sitting on a molded rectangular base. The Rosewood veneered case has had three visible veneer repairs on the access door. However, judging from similar Cottage Extra clocks that I see online, the veneer on this one is in very good condition. The case was given a good cleaning with Murphy’s Soap in September 2019 and case repairs are not required. The Roman numeral dial is a recent replacement. The moon hands, possibly original, look appropriate to the period but the hands, when new, might have been Maltese.

The movement is mounted to the backboard by means of 4 screws and held together by 5 brass nuts on steel pillars.

Having worked on a number of American 8-day movements there are always some interesting differences between them. The 8-day hour strike movement has a 24-hour count wheel. Most mainsprings use the corner pillar post for mounting, this one has its own mainspring mounting post to the right of the motion works. Instead of a helper spring for the hammer assembly, there is a wire wrapped around the time side arbour which extends to a hook on the hammer lever, a somewhat elaborate spring arrangement for a simple production movement. The mainspring mount pillars have wires through the posts to prevent them mainsprings from moving vertically. And lastly, the placement of some of the pivot holes makes for very close bushing work.

I have a Jerome & Co. 8-day time and strike made by Noah Pomeroy with similar features. Is it possible Pomeroy made this movement for E N Welch

Some clocks come with surprises. Inside the case I found a folded invoice dated Jan 16, 1983, the last time the clock was evidently serviced. It says, “ Complete overhaul of spring-wound 8-day brass-works mantle clock made by E. N. Welch Co. Pd in full”, cost of the repair; $79.50. The clock-maker and customers’ names, both of Pennsylvania, are on the invoice. Either Eric Chandlee Wilson himself or one of his employees serviced this clock 36 years ago. Mr. Wilson is now deceased (March 2019) but I am sure he would have been pleased to know that this clock runs well to this day. Servicing will mean a good cleaning and perhaps a bushing or two.

Service record, 1983
Service record for E N Welch cottage clock,1983

Assessing the movement

The movement was disassembled after which each part was inspected under magnification. The pivots are in excellent condition with no evidence of unusual wear.

The only worrisome concern is the build-up of green waxy gunk (old rancid, solidified oil or something else) in several places that might have exacerbated wear in the years after 1983. Left in this condition a re-oiling, as some would be tempted to do, would only create a liquefied grinding paste that would accelerate wear.

Green gunk

The lantern pinions, T1/T2 teeth, both ratchets and mainsprings also had green gunk. Were parts of the movement were sprayed with a solvent such as WD-40 at some point after service in 1983? So, this is a good time to clean the movement and attend to any repairs.

As for bushing, I am looking at S3F and S4F for now but I may revise that assessment once I take a closer look.

Generally, the movement is in good shape and since it was running prior to cleaning I do not expect any further running issues after the cleaning and bushing stage. Join me in a few days for Part II, cleaning and bushing.