Whether you are working on your first clock movement or have repaired dozens, resources, I believe, are essential. There is only so much information gained from a YouTube video, antique clock information site or how-to instructional resources online. Sadly some information is just plain wrong.
There comes a point in time when you simply must have more detailed information that one can reference without painstakingly plowing through a frustrating Google search.
Opinions vary as to what constitutes an essential clock repair library but I believe a combination of instructional manuals, clock identification guides, and historical horology should be at the heart of any clock library.
I will begin with what I determine to be essential resources and additional resources I have recently added to my library.
But first, here are a few I recommend.
My go-to set of books for American clocks is a series of working manuals authored by Steven G. Conover.
Working with Anniversary or 400-day clocks requires the Horolvar 400-day Clock Repair Guide. 400-day clocks can be quite finicky and you are asking for trouble if you do not have this resource. The perfect companion is Mervyn Passmore’s book entitled Anniversary Clock Adjusting. It is a little short on depth but simple and to the point.
Next are three books by Philip E. Balcome.
- The Clock Book – An Overview of Heirloom and Contemporary Clocks in the American Home (not a repair book per se but a guide to identifying clock parts, types, styles, and trends)
- The Clock Repair First Reader – Second Steps for the Beginner
- The Clock Repair Primer – The Beginners Handbook
Balcome books are easy reads and are targeted at beginners and more advanced repairers.
John Plewes focuses on Canadian Made clocks. This is a good how-to manual though not as detailed as the Conover books mentioned above.
Now, for my newest books and how I came to be in possession of them.
The Heritage Clock shop in Brockville, Ontario went out of business on May 28, 2022, after 29 years of serving the community of clock lovers. There is a chance that new owners will step in but not yet, so far. Sadly many of these mom-and-pop shops have now disappeared and with it the knowledge and expertise of antique and vintage clocks.
My newest collection of books is as follows. The photos should be self-explanatory.
Fortunately, a member of the Ottawa Valley Watch and Clock club was able to pick up the books which were free to a good home. Naturally, that person selected what they wanted and passed the remainder to me through another member.
Most of the books are price guides from the 1980s and 90s though some are helpful guides and manuals. The estimated values of the clocks in the identification guides are outdated as clock prices have dropped precipitously in the past decade but they provide a handy resource for types and models from various manufacturers.
Most of my work up to now has been with American and Canadian clocks, though some are German, French, and of course, British.
What I am missing are instructional manuals for foreign clocks (French, German, etc.), and historical information for Canadian Clock companies. The new books I have brought into my collection do not address this issue but if one is in the process of expanding a clock library it is always a work in progress.