Mauthe box clock – In clock repair, fine-tune adjustments are part of the experience

Do you ever run into those situations working with clock movements when one little thing is so annoying? I recently serviced one of my box clocks, a Mauthe with a bim-bam strike. Everything went according to plan except for one small issue; the strike side was misbehaving. I’ll explain a little later but first something about the clock.

German "box" clock by Mauthe
German “box” clock by Mauthe

Nowhere on this clock German “box” clock by Mauthe does it have the Mauthe trademark or name, not on the clock face or any markings on the movement. However, an excellent clue is the two-rod gong, which was made by Divina, a subsidiary of Mauthe.

Divina rod gong
Divina rod gong

The clock was likely sold under the Forestville or Solar name in department stores across Canada in the 1940s. There is an applique of a maple leaf on the crown so, I would like to think it was made for the Canadian market. These are very good movements, are designed for long life and the sound of the gong is impressive.

So, what’s the problem?

The movement was taken out, cleaned, and one bushing installed. The movement is in very good overall condition despite having last seen a servicing in 1979 according to a date scratched on the front plate.

Mauthe movement front plate
Mauthe movement front plate

Putting these German movements back together is not that difficult but one always must be mindful of the small pivots and the risk of bending or breaking one. How do I know that? Well, I might have bent or broken one or two along my journey through clock repair but not on this movement.

Mauthe movement back plate
Mauthe movement backplate

Two critical adjustments prior to assembling the plates are the placement of both the stop or warning wheel and the star wheel.

Mauthe movement and the star wheel
Mauthe movement and the star wheel

The stop or warning wheel requires about half a rotation to arrest the train during the warning phase by means of a stop pin. During dis-assembly I made a note of the location pin, at approximately the 12 o’clock position which saved time and frustration and it worked just fine once assembled.

What I missed was the correct positioning of the star wheel relative to the two hammer arbours. Because there are two actuators and two paddles, they must be placed between two star points on the wheel. Otherwise, one of the paddles will become hung up on a star point at the end of the strike.

For example, during the end of the strike, you might hear the bim part of the “bim-bam” strike and the bam part at the beginning of the next strike. Of course, there is always the risk that the hung up paddle will stop the train entirely.

It is a simple adjustment but the mainsprings must be let down for safety reasons and the plates pulled apart enough to relocate the paddle lever arbours so that both paddles are between the star points. In the process of repositioning the levers, one or two other wheels may or may not pop out. Once all the wheels are relocated, screw down the corner of the plate and test the strike side action.

After the adjustment, the strike side ran as it should. It is a little thing but pretty annoying especially when it is discovered after the movement is put together.

In clock repair, fine-tune adjustments are part of the experience.