To Canadian clock collectors, Arthur Pequegnat are clocks highly regarded. Irrespective of model names they are generally classified as either “Berlin” or “Kitchener”. The Arthur Pequegnat Bedford is a Kitchener clock. Let me explain.
Although it is impossible to date Pequegnat clocks to the exact year of production, the name Berlin distinguishes clocks made before 1917 and those made after and up to 1941 when the factory finally shut its doors for good. Those made after 1917 are referred to as Kitchener clocks. Prior to 1917 “Berlin”, Ontario (Canada) was inscribed on the dial face and after the war, simply “Canada”.
Later Pequegnat movements, such as this one, have steel plates with brass bushing inserts while older Pequegnat movement plates were nickle plated brass
Kitchener is the present seat of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario (Canada).
This clock was given to me by a gentleman from Quebec City in May 2018. He wrote to me and asked if I wanted it, at no cost. It was his father’s clock and he felt it should go to a home where it would be appreciated. All I had to do was pick it up. While on our annual journey to our cottage in central Canada we stopped by, spent the morning chatting about clocks and other things, and have become friends ever since.
This clock might possibly be a variant. Most Bedfords have the smaller 6-inch dial as opposed to the larger 7-inch dial on this clock.
The dial bezel and glass might also have been added as part of a later repair. The past owner told me that the clock fell and the damage was extensive. I spend part of the summer of 2018 reconstructing and refinishing the case but did nothing with the movement.
Now, two years later, the movement must be serviced.
Later Pequegnat movements, such as this one, have steel plates with brass bushing inserts while older Pequegnat movement plates were nickel-plated brass. The change to steel was made during World War I when brass was in short supply. Most Pequegnat movements are stamped with the company name; this movement is unmarked.
It was a running clock when I received it, had been running since 2018 and I did not expect too many issues while performing the service nonetheless there were problem areas. In a past repair, someone attempted to close pivot holes by punching into the steel plate. That did not work well. There is some bushing wear and from my initial assessment, at least 5 or 6 new bushings are required. On the other hand, the pivots look to be in very good condition.
Servicing the mainsprings
The strike side’s main wheel assembly fell apart when I removed the mainspring. Using a punch I staked it back together. The mainsprings are in very good condition with no rust or cracks and will be re-used. They were cleaned, oiled with Keystone mainspring oil and reinstalled on their wheels.
As mentioned above, a past repairer attempted to unsuccessfully close at least 4 existing bushings by punching into the steel plate, so, this movement has never been bushed.
This movement was certainly more worn than I thought. After assessing the movement a second time I determined that 9 bushings were required, 6 for the time side and 3 for the strike side. With brass inserts punched into a steel plate, one is always fearful of an insert becoming dislodged or falling out. Not this time, everything went smoothly.
The 4th wheel on the strike side is unlike every other wheel with a thinner shaft just below the pivot area. The shaft was turned in order to access the lantern pinions from that end. Why not come in from the other side?
I have seen many interesting repairs over the years so I am not especially surprised.
Once the repairs are made, the parts are cleaned, the pivots polished and new bushings installed, it is on to reassembly.
Once the wheels and levers are in position it is ready for the top plate. The escapement verge is installed once the plates are together.
During the course of reassembly I discovered a bent steel front plate which meant lining holes to the pillars was frustrating. Brass bends easily but steel also bends with enough force. I suppose if one attempts to punch a plate to close pivot holes while the movement is assembled, the plates might just get bent.
Then, it is on the adjustments and testing. The movement is running and striking as it should but a testing period of a couple of 8-day cycles should tell me if any further adjustments are required.
After two weeks all is good and the movement is returned it its case. It should be good for years to come.