Ever wanted to build your own clock? I have recently embarked on a project to build an English Regulator Clock. The clock is in the English-style and is a weight-driven regulator clock.
English Regulator Clock Construction
The eight day movement has nine shaped pillars supporting three large brass plates. It will have maintaining power, a dead beat escapement and crossed out wheel work. A one-meter Invar rod temperature compensated pendulum will have a brass bob and large silvered adjusting screw with engraved scale and numerals. A brass cased weight will hang from a four spoke pulley.
I have now completed the Gledhill Brook Time Recorder Restoration. I purchased this machine from a person who advertised the sale of three IBM master clocks in a local paper. I called the seller and arranged to meet him at a storage facility. When he opened the door to the locker I found three IBM clocks: one master clock and two slave clocks. All were electric powered and in need of lots of work. There were also several large boxes of parts.
In the back I noticed a Gledhill Brook case. All the parts were removed and it had been partly sanded down. I asked about the parts. The seller said that perhaps they were in these boxes; he wasn’t sure. Gledhill Brook Time Recorder restorations are ones I’m particularly proud of, as English clocks hold a special place in my heart and I know the stories and people that come to me through these clocks, even if I’ll never know the details.
This Ansonia Long Drop clock project is lined up for restoration.
I’ll get to this one after I finish the Gledhill Brooks….maybe!
America/Ansonia, the Beautiful?
Ansonia is an American company which makes this clock a rarity in my collection. However, unlike the ornate kitchen clocks with wood carvings only a mother could love, this long drop case is of a more traditional and, if you ask me, elegant style.
Despite age, the face is in fairly good condition. These are the type of clocks, along with mantel clocks, that one could pick up fairly cheaply at auctions, even just ten years ago. Now, even the availability of these in those types of settings is becoming more and more rare.
The cabinet and movement of this Gledhill Brook Time Recorder are now finished and the movement is back in place.
The next step is to dismantle the Time Recorder mechanism, clean and reassemble. This part is by far the brunt of the work because there is so much rust and oxidation.
Dismantling and reassembling these punch mechanisms can be challenging as I have never found any literature or assembly diagrams. I rely solely on digital photos to document the assembly before I take anything apart. There are so many parts that it would be almost impossible to reassemble without a reference.
We have a Gledhill Brook Time Recorder restoration which was actually purchased as a box of parts and a case. Most of the clock appears to be complete with the exception of the hands and a few small parts that I will be able to fabricate. Fortunately, I have a complete Gledhill Brook clock from which to work.
Rolls Royce of Time Recorders
As I’ve stated in a previous post, if one ever has an opportunity to work on one of these clocks you will soon realize why they are regarded as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of time recorders. Huge chain fusee movements fitted with Harrison maintaining power.
The more I dug into this Vienna Regulator repair project the more problems I discovered:
- Ratchet (click) on winding barrel broken
- Pallet retaining screw broken on verge
- Winding barrel ratchet lever bent
- Porcelain dial center retainer corroded beyond repair
- Case required complete disassembly and rebuild.
- Add correct weight and cable
It would be easier to list the only item not needing repair….The pendulum!!
Upon inspecting the case, I found a number of Phillips head screws had been used in prior repairs, to hold the case together along with a couple of steel braces. Also, there was an excessive amount of glue. It looked as though this clock had taken a dive off a wall at some stage in its history. The hinges were also rigged.
I have never had to disassemble a clock case to this degree before. I broke down all the parts and completed the clean-up to remove all the old glue and refinish the joints correctly then reassembled. I only had to refinish a few areas where the old finish was beyond saving. The overall result was very pleasing and the case is now back to original.
This clock is a time only Vienna Regulator (Vienna wall clock or Viennese wall clock in the U.K.)
Lots of work to do on this one…way more that I thought when I purchased it.
The case needs to be reworked as sometime down the line attempts at resotration have been poorly done. The door hinges are not original, nor are they remotely similar to the originals. The joints are badly glued or screwed together… You get the picture.
The movement also had a major problem. When I inspected it, I found that the click spring was broken, not a particularly bad problem with most clocks. However, with this one, the click spring is part of the winding barrel assembly. A new click spring was not an option.
Here’s an update on my Dutch Warmink skeleton clock project.
This one is now assembled and the pendulum leader was fabricated from two 5 inch Hermel leaders cut and soldered together. I have determined the leader length. However, I was disappointed to find that this is only a 30 hour movement.
In retrospect, I should have guessed this with only three wheels in the train! I am not satisfied with my leader fabrication because the pendulum has a ‘kick’ at the end of each swing arc (impulse).
After concluding the repairs and reassembly to the punch part, I had simply to wait while The Dial House, expert restorers out of Dallas, Georgia, worked their magic on this Simplex time recorder dial.
And what an incredible job Marth Smallwood and her staff have done. See for yourself:
See the previous posts about this project:
Time recorders are some of our favorite clocks. Check out our category page for other units in our collection. The movements for these clocks tend to be larger and easier to work on, a factor a watch repairman would scoff at, perhaps, but to each his own.
Here’s an update on our simplex time recorder repair. I have completed the disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly of the time recorder mechanism in what’s turned out to be a rather complex Simplex punch clock. Prior to disassembling, I cleaned the recorder with a degreasing agent to remove most of the heavy grease and dirt. This revealed the details of the smaller parts often hidden under years of built up grime.
I was unable to find any literature on this time recorder mechanism on the web. These mechanisms are quite unique and very complex. There were many variations manufactured, so I had no references available if I ran into difficulties on the reassembly. Therefore, I photographed (as well as taking some video) every step of the disassembly process.