Pequegnat kitchen clock servicing – Part I – disassembly and assessment

On the bench is an Arthur Pequegnat time and strike kitchen clock which is part of the popular Maple Leaf series produced up to 1941. Among collectors it is know as the “Pointed Top”. This Canadian made clock was bought at an antique store in Bloomfield, Ontario the summer of 2018 and presumably spent its life in or around the Toronto area.

The Arthur Pequegnat Clock Co. made clocks in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada) from 1904 to 1941. Canadian clock collectors are very familiar with the name and associate Pequegnat clocks with solid construction, robust movements, conservative designs and nationalism since many clocks were named after towns and cities in Canada.

Pequegnat made mantel, shelf, hall clocks (Tall case) and wall clocks mostly of oak though some were mahogany veneered. The Kitchen clock or gingerbread clock as it is often called was very popular at the time and Pequegnat made an effort to keep up with current styles with a range called the Maple Leaf. There were six versions of the Maple Leaf clock made by the Arthur Pequegnat Clock Co. Though the dimensions are similar they share two unique characteristics; all Maple Leaf’s have the distinctive maple leaf tablet and Maple Leaf pendulum. It is Pequegnat’s interpretation of a truly Canadian clock styled after similar American ones.

I always make it a point to mark the time side wheel and mainspring so as not to confuse the two

It is a distinctive Arthur Pequegnat movement with nickel-plated steel plates (confirmed with a magnet) and brass bushings pressed into the plates. Unlike most Pequegnat movements this one is unmarked. Because of the shortage of brass after the First World War, Pequegnat used steel for their plates but with pressed brass bushing inserts. There must have been a cut-off date when Pequegnat switched from brass to steel plates so, this movement may have been made during the transition period at or around 1916.

Nickel-plated steel plates
Nickel-plated steel plates

Not surprisingly it had been worked on in the past. One escape wheel bushing on the front plate has ugly punch marks around it made while a past repairer attempted to close a pivot hole. In the process the pivot was bent. Upon closer inspections there are dients on the top of the pivot.

Punch marks around a pivot hole
Ugly punch marks around escape wheel pivot hole

Otherwise there appears to be an average amount of wear for its age. I corrected one small issue right away; the half hour strike arm was loose in the arbour and had turned to one side. I oriented it to the correct position and secured it with Lock-Tite.

Disassembly and assessment

Ah, but I discovered another reason why the strike arm was loose. While the time side requires at least 5 or 6 bushings due to excessive wear, the strike side has almost no wear at all. I can only surmise that the strike side was seldom wound. It makes perfect sense that the half-hour strike arm was twisted out of the way so as not to make any sound at all.

Overall, less bushing work for me but as far as I am concerned both sides are meant to run and they will.

Broken pressure washer on the count wheel
Broken pressure washer on the count wheel

Though still usable the pressure washer on the count wheel is broken.

Bushing work

I thought I would tackle the worst bushing first, the escape wheel, back plate. First, to straighten the bent pivot. I put the wheel in the chuck of my mini lathe and gave the wheel a few spins. Yes, definitely bent.

Bent pivot
Bent pivot

Using a punch I inserted the hollow end into the pivot and determined where I had to bend it by giving it a few more slow spins on the lathe. It is soft steel and bends easily.It is important not to be too aggressive as the pivot can snap off. Installing a new pivot is not fun!

Using a hollow end punch to straighten a pivot
Using a hollow end punch to straighten a pivot

Once straightened I gave it a good polish.

Polishing the pivot
Polishing the pivot with an emery board

It is worth mentioning that on this movement the time side mainspring is 17.2 mm high while the strike side is 15.6mm; not the first time I have seen a differential on movement such as this. I always make it a point to mark the time side wheel and mainspring so as not to confuse the two.

Now it is on to cleaning, pivot polishing, bushing work and testing which will be discussed in Part II.