Setting up the Clock: Anniversary Clocks

First rule is to always move the clock with the pendulum balls either in the locked position or take them off completely. To lock the balls into place, lift them slightly so the lock arm can be moved over to the locked position. These clocks are pretty touchy because of the suspension spring that holds the pendulum balls in the air.

This spring must not get kinked AT ALL and this is why the Anniversary Clocks Pendulum balls are removed or locked during transit. To operate this clock, first find a home for it on a shelf or mantle that does not shake or get bumped. Hang the balls on gently while the spring is sitting right where it normally sits. Adjust the feet of the clock base so the clock sits level with the balls centered in the middle of the cup below it. In this position the balls should be totally suspended in the air, not touching anything, even slightly. Let the Anniversary Clocks Pendulum balls settle down from jiggling around and notice where they stop. Now rotate the balls 1/2 of a revolution and gently let go. This should let the balls swing 180 degrees, one full revolution. Some miniature clocks swing a bit more than this, but most swing a bit less, being about 3/4 of a revolution upon settling down.

Do not bother to set the time until about 15 minutes have gone by and the balls are in there pattern of swinging back and forth with the movements power only. It is the speed in which these balls rotate that determine how accurate the timekeeping will be. The speed of the balls when you first start the clock will be too fast to have accurate timekeeping and therefore the time is set after they settle into there rhythm. Wait 15 minutes and set the time of the clock by moving the minute hand around until you reach the proper time. Put the dome back on the clock and its done.

When it's time to repair a 400 day clock, two things usually need to be done. The suspension spring gets replaced and the movement gets cleaned. These two procedures will fix most Anniversary Clocks.

Changing the Suspension Springs

If you just dug out your Anniversary Clocks from the cellar or attic and have no idea what to check first, the suspension spring is the place to start. If it is bent or distorted AT ALL then it is no good. The suspension spring is just a very thin piece of steel running down the back of the clock. Its purpose is to suspend the balls in the air and allow them to slowly rotate back and forth. If this gets bent AT ALL the clock will not work. The only bending this spring can do is twist back and forth with the balls as they rotate. The spring being bent is the number one cause for most of these clocks not working. I would venture to guess that this is the reason for about 80% of these clocks that need repair. They are cheap to replace and it is an easy fix if your the patient type. If your not patient and careful, or there is a lot of chaos going on around you, forget it. This is a VERY delicate process.There are four pieces to a Anniversary Clocks suspension spring including the thin spring itself. First there is the brass bottom block that the Anniversary Clocks Pendulum balls attach to. Then in the upper middle of the spring there is the fork attachment that whacks the verge back and forth. (The verge is the wire that sticks straight up from the escapement). Then on top there is the top block that the entire suspension spring hooks onto to be suspended in the air. It is common for the fork and the bottom block to become lost because if the spring breaks, then the clock is usually stored somewhere because it is broken, and these small parts manage to disappear. If you need replacement blocks, they are available on the Anniversary Clocks parts page.

The suspension spring is usually attached to the clock with a screw or pin through the top block. After it is disassembled it's time to attach the blocks to the new spring that you cut down to size. It is very important not to kink the new spring AT ALL while putting these on. Leave the set screws in place, but still loose on the blocks, insert the new spring just enough into the block so the set screws will grab securely. It is easiest to do this step on the table laying the spring down flat, it will take a small hole in the table to support the bottom block to lay flat because of its cross pin. Either a small hole in the table will work or a staking block with various hole diameters could be used and would be ideal.

Now with the block ready to be screwed down, hold it with a pair of needle nose pliers to be sure it will not turn and kink the spring. Be sure to get a good solid grip on the block with the pliers, but without gripping so tight the block pops out of them. As you hold steady the block with the needle nose pliers, use your precision screwdriver to tighten up the set screws that secure the block together with the spring end inside. Do this to both sides of the new spring (top and bottom block) then your ready to put on the fork. The fork only has one set screw and is put on toward the top of the spring.

To find out exactly where this spring should go, hold up the suspension to the clock and get an idea on the height it should be put at. It should be able to whack the verge wire back and forth and should be positioned so it's sticking straight out of the spring at a 90 degree angle. Its height will have to be low enough on the verge to keep the clock running, but high enough so the clock will not flutter. Fluttering is the term used to describe the clock running 300 miles an hour even with the balls hung and is the result of having the fork set to low. After determining the approximate place where the fork should be on the spring your ready to tighten up the set screw that grabs on, not really tight however because it will most likely have to be adjusted again later. Best to use the pliers again to hold it secure while tightening.

Putting the Clock in beat

To see if a Anniversary Clocks is in beat, turn the clock so you are looking at the back of the clock with the dome off. Get yourself into a position so you can see the escapement action and see the balls go back and forth at once. Now start the clock as described in the operating instructions. Observe the pattern of the balls going one way and having the escapement give a tick then sway back the other way and tock on the other side. Now on the balls path to the outermost place it goes to, from this point start counting evenly until you hear the clock "tick" and then stop counting. This number you counted to, you want to count on the other side also. Now these numbers you counted to should be the same on both sides of the balls rotation or the clock would be considered "out of beat". The numbers counted to is to be the same for the clock to be "in beat".As your looking at the top of the clock you will see how there is a screw that loosens to turn the whole pendulum a bit one way or the other. When loosening this screw be very careful not to kink the suspension spring. It is easy to turn it too quick or too far. Loosen the screw gently, just enough to be able to adjust. With trial and error of observing the action and moving the beat setter, you will get the beat correct and the clock will officially be "in beat" and ideally should be now running perfectly. If not, then check the Anniversary Clocks suspension spring for any kinks.

Cleaning and Oiling

If you are willing to learn how your Anniversary Clocks operates and would like to clean and repair the clock yourself, it is best to start out with the simple kit we have put together for this purpose. It includes The Clock Repair E-Book that guides you through each step of this process and explains the components so you can reassemble the movement and have it run correctly. It is too much information to put in a typical HTML format such as this page because of loading time, so it is all in a downloadable zip file. This E-Book is included in the Basic Clock Cleaning Kit and you get the clock cleaning solution, the E-Book, a brush, a clock level, clock oil and a vision visor. The E-Book explains what to do with these items. More information on the Basic Clock Cleaning Kit is available at this link. This is a spring driven clock, so be sure to select the Mainspring Let Down tool also. These clocks have a huge mainspring in them so they will run as long as they do, so it is absolutely mandatory that the springs power is released before disassembly. Attempting to work on a movement that has not had the power taken out of the mainsprings will cause serious injuries.