American time-strike clock instructions
American time-strike clock instructions apply to replicas made in India as well. Subsequently, the name time-strike means the clock will keep time and strike at the top of the hour. This section covers the basic installation for the time-strike and time only movements. However, American Time-strike clock instructions can be confusing. If you are not familiar with the clock parts or terminology, some of these directions may not be clear. Consequently, if you have any questions, please email [email protected]
1. Setting the verge lock tab
This note is for front escapement movements only. Meaning the pendulum is in the front of the clock. If your movement has a rear pendulum then this information is not pertinent. Before mounting the movement, the tab has to be in place. Otherwise, the clock will not operate. The tab goes over and locks the rocker pallets in place on the verge. The verge is the wire that whacks the pendulum back and forth as the clock tick tocks. It travels up to the rocker arm that engages with the escape wheel. This is called a verge assembly. The verge assembly sits on a post that sticks out of the movement.
There is a brass, or steel, metal tab that rotates up and down in order for the verge not to fall off. This tab goes onto the post that the verge rides on. The tab prevents the verge from falling off the front of the movement. So with this tab in place, the verge should still be loose. In addition, the verge should be able to freely rock back and forth as the clock runs. This is important because if the verge cannot rock back and forth the clock will not run.
2. American time-strike clock instructions: Mounting the movement
First, center the winding arbors and the hand shaft onto the clock dial. This is an important step to mount the movement. Second, secure it in the same fashion as the old unit. As a result, the movement mounts may need to be bent up or down to adjust it correctly. These are located in the four corners.
3. Winding the clock
The movement can be wound ALL the way up. That is to say all the way until it will not wind anymore. Moreover, it is a misconception that a movement can be “overwound”. This is not the case. A full wind will allow the clock to run for 8 days. Anything less than a full wind and the clock will not last 8 days.
4. Adjusting the pendulum wire
The drop is the distance from the hand shaft down to the bottom of the pendulum. It is the pendulum length where the clock keeps proper time. This length is important to know for putting the suspension wire in place. Notice that the pendulum suspension wire has the spring steel at one end and a hook on the other.
The suspension steel end goes into the small slot of the suspension post on the movement. This is located near the escapement of the clock. The escapement can be seen on the front of the movement. The verge is located under it to make the tick tock sound. Likewise, this is also the area with the slotted mounting post. Slide the top of the spring steel into this slot. The suspension wire will hang on this post and then travel down through the hook in the verge wire.
5. American time-strike clock instructions: Adjustable bob installation
An adjustable bob has a rating nut with threads under the bob. Adjusting the nut allows for fine time keeping on the clock movement. Turn the nut to the right to speed up the time. As a result, this raises the bob on its wire. The opposite is true when lowering the bob. Turn the nut to the left to lower the bob. Lowering the bob will slow down the clock. To install the bob, hang it on the loop end of the suspension wire. However, if this is a new installation, the loop may need to be made. As a result, this would need to be the proper length for the drop.
6. Hour hand installation
To install the hands, first place the hour hand on the shaft. This is the smaller of the two hands. It is also a friction fit. The hour hand tube is tapered. This may not be visible at first glance. The hour hand will get tighter the further it is pushed down. Twist and push until the hour hand is as far down as it will go. Make sure it does not touch the clock face or anything else.
7. American Time-Strike Clock Instructions: Minute hand installation
The minute hand has an oblong hole. This oblong hole mounts onto the tip of the movement. This tip is also oblong and the two need to be aligned. The minute hand is then held in place with the minute hand nut. A pair of needle nose pliers may be useful to screw on this small hand nut.
8a. Clocks need to be put “In Beat”
All mechanical clocks that have a pendulum need to be put into beat. Ultimately, the most common scenario is the clock will run for 5 or 10 minutes, slow down, and eventually stop. Usually, people believe that the problem is due to the clock not being level. It really does not matter if the clock is level or not.
8b. Why a clock would be "Out of Beat"
A clock can get out of beat for any number of reasons. If replacing the movement, it will be required to put the new movement in beat.
8c. American Time-Strike Clock Instructions: The "Out of Beat" clock
Out of beat is a term used to indicate that the ticks and tocks are not even. The tick and the tock need to be evenly spaced with the same time delay.
8d. Attempts to avoid the inevitable
Antique clock owners who do not know how to put a clock in beat will sometimes have the case crooked for it to run. The beat can also be corrected by putting a shim under one side of the clock case. The clock may run fine for years this way, however it is only a temporary fix. To clarify, if the mantle that the clock is on is not level, then the clock may have to run off level. Whether it is level or not, it ultimately will have to be put into beat.
8e. Not all clocks are the same
Putting an early American time-strike unit into beat requires a different method than German clocks. This is also the case for the India replica movements. The suspension spring is permanently attached to a steel wire. This goes from the escapement down through a loop in the crutch and verge wire. At the end of this suspension wire is a hook. Thus, the pendulum bob hangs on it.
8f. USA and replica beat setting
The pendulum rod is mounted to a post on the movement. A loop in the middle of the pendulum rod whacks the pendulum back and forth. This brass wire loop is the crutch. It comes from the escapement on the movement. When the clock is out of beat, the crutch wire needs to be adjusted. The adjustment is either to the right or left. Once you bend this wire that comes from the escapement, listen to the tick tock. Ideally the tick and the tock will be even. This means the clock is in beat. However, if it is isn't, keep adjusting the wire. Hopefully, the clock case will be level, however this is optional.
This concludes the American Time-Strike Clock Instructions. It is our desire to get your clock up and running quickly. Repairs and replacements can be frustrating, however it is quite an accomplishment. Hopefully there is a better understanding of how and why clocks need to be in beat. Do not let common misconceptions prevent your clock from running. As stated previously, this can be slightly confusing. This is especially true if one is not familiar with the various parts of the clock. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Email is always the best way to reach us. Our email address is [email protected]
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