Interesting clock repairs, some good, some not so good

While I admire the ingenuity and creativity of clock repairpersons many years ago some of the repairs are downright scary and dangerous. I say clock repairpersons because may were back yard mechanics with minimal clock skills that were paid to “just get his thing running”.

In this article, I will describe some of the strange repairs in clocks I have worked on over the years.

Let’s start with this interesting wheel repair.

Tooth repair on a 30-hour time and strike

I would call this a passable tooth repair. It is functional but it could have been dressed properly and filed down to improve its appearance. I left it as-is.

Another messy tooth repair

Next is a wheel from an E N Welch Whittier parlour clock. Again, functional but not a neat job. The rest of the movement was a bit of a mess. There was so much solder on the movement that it took me hours to remove it. The movement was the dirtiest I have seen in a long time.

Dial removed showing time and strike movement
Dial removed showing time and strike movement in as-found condition

A close-up of the Welch movement.

Same movement but a close-up
Mainspring catch looks sturdy and it certainly works well

This catch was fashioned out of a nail. It looks good, is strong and functional.

Punch marks are very common on old movements

Punch marks on old clock movements are very common. A punch is used to close the pivot holes. Today punching of any kind is frowned upon though it was considered an acceptable practice many years ago.

Punch mark made to close the pivot hole

Another type of punch used to close a pivot hole.

A string holding a helper spring to a post

Using string to secure a helper spring is never a good substitute and it is no wonder the strike side did not work on this 30-hour Canada Clock Co. time and strike.

A crude and potentially dangerous mainspring repair on a 30-hour shelf clock

When I see mainspring repairs like this, out goes the spring and in goes a replacement.

Copper wire and two nuts made to function as a rod and hammer

Home ingenuity at its finest. Copper wire and two nuts screwed together to make a hammer.

Soft soldered lever wire

A soon as I attempted to straighten this lever, the piece fell off. I knew it would fail when I began to bend it. There is no place for these kinds of home-made repairs on a clock movement.

Aesthetically most of the repairs look horrible and many, with the odd exception, do not work well. Some are potentially dangerous.

These are just a few of the things I have seen in my clock repair experiences over the years. Nothing surprises me anymore when I service a clock movement.


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