Smiths Enfield / Bentima mantel clocks were popular brands sold widely throughout the UK in the 30’s and 40’s.
Smiths Enfield / Bentima Mantel Clocks
Most major retail stores would have carried Enfield or Bentima clocks. These clocks were used as everyday time pieces, placed above the fireplace in thousands of homes in the UK. Today, they are widely available and can be purchased very reasonably at auctions and antique shops.
Inner label of mantel clock, promising cleaning and repair upon returning to one of Bravington’s Ltd. four London locations
The Older, The Better
This type of clock holds little interest to me now. As with most horologists, my interests have expanded beyond this type of timepiece. However, to keep things in perspective, I have examined movements from current manufacturers such as Hermle and Kieninger and I can say without a doubt that even these ‘lower end’ vintage clock movements are by far superior to current clock movements.
We all have them, left to us by a great aunt, picked up at an antique fair: that old mantel clock. Maybe it works, but is slow. Maybe it has never worked, but you wish it would; it would bring just the right amount of distinguished old world charm to your contemporary living room.
Most areas have someone who can repair or clean a simple mantel clock movement for you. Here are a list of some of the old mantel clocks we’ve written about in the past. Perhaps yours is similar to one of these and we can provide you with some insight into how to bring yours around.
‘Bim-Bam’ striking Junghans Mantel clock. 8 day.
The clock was very clean when I received it except that some grease or oil had hardened around a couple of the time train pivots causing the clock to stop intermittently.
I recall feeling particularly lazy on the day I repaired this clock not wanting to do any more than the bare minimum to get the thing working. I dropped both the mainspring barrels out (easy on these newer designs) and pulled the plates apart just enough to clean the time train wheel pivots without disturbing the Strike side.
To maintain this German Hamburg Uhrenfabrik Clock Company clock, the movement of was cleaned, the spring barrels were removed and the springs were taken out for cleaning and re-oiling. There is an unusual hammer set-up on this clock. Note how the striking hammers are suspended below the movement and connected with chains. The clock has an eight-day Westminster chime.
The movement was quite a challenge to remove from the case. As you can see, there is not much wiggle room once it is nestled in the case. I recall having to fit the hammer assembly after the movement was in place.
This small French Bayard 8 day clock is the only one in my collection fitted with a Lever Escapement; similar escapements are used in watches.
The Lever Escapement was invented by Thomas Mudge in 1750 and has been used in the vast majority of watches since the 1800s.
I still have to replace the hair spring as the one in this clock is beyond repair. A previous repairman had cut a section of the spring off leaving the tail badly damaged and shortened to a degree that the regulating lever will no longer engage the spring correctly. I hope to find a new spring; this may be a difficult task as the original springs were most likely fabricated for this specific movement.
My one and only Kundo 400 day Torsion pendulum clock.
400 Day Spring
Greatly understated in the clock collector world, only the few larger 6 pillar examples are really collectable. These clocks are a great way to start your collection on a limited budget.
In my opinion, they are extremely well engineered and quite ingenious!
The movements are fine; the concept is one of the best. No other spring wound clock can run for over a year with one single winding. With all this said they are widely regarded as a ‘novelty clock’ amongst horologists.
Two examples of later modern mantle clocks: Howard Miller and Ridgeway mantel clocks.
Howard Miller Ridgeway Mantel Clocks
Each has an eight-day Westminster chime Hermle ‘Floating Balance’ Movement.
Far more customer friendly, the floating balance requires less set-up than a pendulum clock as there is little to no effect on the movement if it is set on an uneven footing.
This style of movement essentially eliminated the need to set a clock in beat.
It so happens these clocks each have lovely cases, the Ridgeway with a gorgeous inlay on the front. An obvious benefit of their not being terrible old is their condition, too.
This Junghans parlor clock is large!
These clocks were made in two or three styles and the movement was used in several styles of Junghans clocks. This clock has two small dials at the top of the face for ‘silent & chime’ and ‘fast & slow’ adjustment.
The fast and slow adjustment is achieved by a cam that is attached to the back of the ‘fast & slow’ hand. When turned the cam pushes against a lever that raises or lowers the pendulum suspension spring thus raising and lowering the pendulum itself.