Delft clock by Forestville – Let’s take it apart and see what we have

Delft Clock from Forestville
Delft Clock from Forestville

This clock was bought at auction in Ottawa, Ontario, and hung on the wall of the kitchen at our cottage in Quebec for 4 years. The clock was imported from Germany and sold by the Forestville Clock Co. of Toronto, Canada.

It was never a great timekeeper probably because it had never been properly cleaned. I brought it home to Nova Scotia to give it the attention in now deserves.

The word Delft is not a model name but refers to the design and composition of the dial face and surround. According to one source, Delft is “tin-glazed Dutch earthenware with blue and white or polychrome decoration”. Delft also refers to a place in the Netherlands, famous for the manufacture of pottery.

Delft clocks typically had a nondescript Dutch scene as one would expect but since this is not a delft clock by strict definition, it is, instead produced in a German factory (made in Germany stamped on the back) in the Delft style.

Mother and child

Many of these clocks were produced and were quite popular as kitchen clocks in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s perhaps a salute to Canada’s close association with Holland during the war years. There is a number stamped on the back (1054) which may refer to its year of make, 1954.

This clock is only required to run two months a year so, I am not concerned about future wear but a cleaning now will keep the clock running for several more years

Although this clock is from the Forestville Clock Co. other manufacturers produced similar styles. Most if not all of the movements are German-made and called, appropriately enough, “plate clock” movements.

A common Dutch scene

It is a small and simple time-only movement with a hairspring balance similar to what might be found on an alarm clock movement.

With tin dust cover removed

Some Delft clocks are pendulum driven and must be level on the wall to operate correctly whereas a hairspring escapement is more tolerant of placement.

Movement removed showing the mainspring

The mainspring may appear tiny by mechanical clock standards but it is as powerful as it needs to be in a movement this small and designed to run for 8 days.

Disassembly and cleaning

The front plate is affixed to a tin plate and the two cannot be separated unless the rivets are broken. This is a serious issue if bushing work is required on the front plate. To expose the bushing holes one must break the rivets with no guarantee that the tin plate and movement plate would be successfully pressed back together again.

There is some wear in the pivot holes but not enough to warrant concern at this point in time. There is also some pivot hole wear in the back plate but, again, not enough to require bushing work.

Back plate and mainspring removed

At some future point bushing work will have to be done and that would be a challenge for two reasons. One, the back-plate is difficult to access (as described above) and two, any bushings installed would be very tiny. I don’t have anything that small and they would have to be hand made. The designers may not have had servicing in mind when they made the clock and sadly, we are witnessing the beginnings of the throw-away generation.

All the parts, including the mainspring, are cleaned in the ultrasonic, dried thoroughly, inspected and pivots polished. Just a good cleaning and oiling this time around.

Since I decided not to do any bushing work, the movement was put back together. The wheels are installed plus the pallets leaving the escape wheel the last to position. There is an adjustment screw on the bottom plate for the escape wheel which can be Loosened allowing the escape wheel to be installed separately.

On the test stand

Feeding a very minuscule hairspring into its post is always a little tricky and quite often it takes several attempts. Manipulating small clock parts can be frustrating if you are used to working on American clocks with large wheels and pivots.

It is on the test stand and I will run it for about two weeks. If everything is satisfactory the remaining parts will be attached and the clock will be stored until the summer.

This clock is only required to run two months a year so, I am not concerned about future wear but a cleaning now will keep the clock running for several more years.

5 thoughts on “Delft clock by Forestville – Let’s take it apart and see what we have

    1. Nice to see that you are back to blogging after a spell. Very nice clock and as I said a real keeper. Thanks for the shout-out. Should have mentioned that you are lucky to find a clock where the sidearms are still intact. Often these are broken.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, and you’re welcome. O, I didn’t know that about the sidearms. There’s another similar clock on uk ebay but they want too much £100! Different flowers (and intact arms).


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