Welch marine clock – two issues addressed before servicing the movement

A couple of weeks back I featured this Welch marine style wall clock. A marine clock can also refer to a ships’ bell clock. Ship’s bell time originated in sailing ship days, when the crew of a vessel was divided into Port and Starboard Watches, each on duty four hours, then off four hours. One stroke of the ship’s bell indicates the first half hour of the watch. Then an additional bell is struck for each succeeding half hour for a total of 8 bells.

E. N. Welch marine clock

This is not a ship’s bell clock. However, this is a clock that can be used at sea or in a rail car that simply tells the time. Lever and balance wheel escapement clocks are ideal for ship or train applications because pendulum clocks on do not work in those environments.

The movement was made for the E. N. Welch Clock Co. and I would date it around 1860, so, a 162 year old time-only clock with a balance wheel escapement and a seconds bit running off the second wheel.

The clock was bought at auction earlier this year.

The case is dirty but there are no veneer issues

From the photo above the case appears to be very stressed but under that grime and blackish tarnish could be a jewel of a clock.

Tarnished brass

The exterior of the clock has probably not been cleaned in decades or perhaps not at all.

In the old days folks cared for their furniture with weekly or monthly waxing/wiping/dusting or polishing of brass. That was simply the accepted practice. Items were not designed to be thrown-away and it was common to hold onto possessions as long as practicable.

This little clock has certainly been neglected over the years although there is nothing missing, the movement runs just fine and the open spade hands are likely original. Yes, it is dirty! You might call it patina and many collectors would accept the wear and tear over the years as part of the character of the clock. I take the view that it was meant to be shown and a little bit of intervention is perfectly acceptable.

I don’t have time to service the movement and it can wait till later this year but I was able to clean the case and polish the brass.

The brass took a lot of elbow grease and I am sure I went through half a bottle of Brasso but I like the final result. The case required cleaning with Murphy’s soap and one coat of traditionally prepared shellac.


Since it is a 30-hour clock I doubt I will be running it much and servicing the movement can wait.


In the meantime I have an Empire gallery clock that I would like to service for summer cottage duty.

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