American Clock Movement Replacement
Brass American clock movement Replacement made in India. These unit are made with the same sizes as many early American pendulum clocks. These were made in mass production in the late 1800's and early 1900's originally. Popular sized unit for a variety of clock case styles produced in early America. Accurately reproduced American style movement with brass plates, oil sinks and front or rear mount pendulums. The quality overall is not the same as the antique units but makes a clock run for years again despite this.
American clock movement matching
American clock movement matching is to replace the antique unit with a modern equivalent. Us American's loved the mass produced eight day time strike units back in the 1920's through the 1940's. These are the ones seen in the Kitchen clocks, ginger bread clocks, Steeple clocks in the shelf clock series. Mantle clocks, short drop wall clocks and the long drop units were also popular in this time period.
The American mass produced movements
Most of these units had a bar style outer plates instead of a full brass plate. The winding arbor distances between each other and also the hand shaft were often the same. All of these units had the type of suspension with the feather steel at the top and a hook on the bottom. They were all 8 day run time on a single full wind up with the clock key. All the pendulum lengths were reduced to mainly 4 lengths for the mass produced American units. The hand shaft length from the front plate and all the way out to the end had some consistency in later years also.
Advantages of a mass produced movement
With constancy in there production runs the India manufacturers starting producing replacement units. The India movement even goes as far as calling them replicas but this is not 100% accurate. Although they do the trick and get the clock up and running for many years, its not the same quality. Brass quality is not the same from when it was back in the 20's - 40's. The brass is thinner and also the quality of the brass is not the same as it was. We do offer these units despite this because they do serve well as far as just making the clock work for a bunch of years instead of giving up. When an antique clock movement has been repaired wrong or already has 20 bushings in it or something silly, it may just make more sense to stick one of these in there instead.
What has to match
These are bar style movements are used on many antique American time strike units. Some measurements have to match. The dimensions of the winding arbors in relation to each other and also the hand shaft hole in the dial. These will all have to match the below diagrams. This is to be sure it will fit the old clock dial and line up with the key holes to wind the clock. Then there is the hand shaft length from the front outer plate of the movement and all they way out to the end. The pendulum length is from the hand shaft and all the way down.
Matching the clock movement
Match the winding arbor measurements, pendulum drop and hand shaft length from the old unit to the new. The center shaft / arbor configuration will match up to many original dials. The pendulum drop from the hand shaft and all the way down is available in variable drop lengths on some units. Please note the drop may fluctuate, the 13 inch drop unit may keep actual time anywhere between 12 1/2 and 14 inches.
American clock movement repair options
Its a shame when a clock is not able to operate for years on end. It sits for so long until one day it is just time to something about it. For the antique American made clock to function again there are two main routes that can be taken. Replace the movement with a modern reproduction made in India, or repair the clock movement.
Send in for repair
The movement is no longer in production and not available new. However if you choose to send in the movement alone we can offer an overhaul instead. A clock movement overhaul or restoration does require the unit to be disassembled.
Repair process description
Inspection is done on every pivot and bushing hole to determine the best course of action. When a mainspring breaks there could be damage to the wheel train on the pinions and pivots and all this is looked over with magnification. Then we manually clean the clock parts with cotton cloth and peg wood to be sure we get off all the old oil. Oil that has solidified and became an abrasive rather than a lubricant in other words. This tedious process is then followed by pivot polishing and rebushing, where it is required. After all this, it’s time for the ultrasonic cleaning machine with the clock cleaning solution. Rinsing is next and then followed by the drying process. Rebuilding of the clock movement piece by piece and then testing for a week. If it fails the testing, all this is done again if needed.
These Indian made movements and are reproductions of some of the most common American antique units. Basically the last resort where the clock movement is beyond repair or just repaired so many times incorrectly. The clock movement come out of the clock case and do some measuring to see if it’s a match.
Getting the replica unit
The first thing to measure is the pendulum length and this is measured the American way not the German way. This means you are measuring what is called the movements “Drop”. The drop is the length of the pendulum from the hand shaft all the way down to the bottom of the pendulum threads. The next thing is to measure is the hand shaft length from the front plate of the movement all the way out to the end of the minute hand nut threads. If these are both a match to your old unit, it is time to measure the clock movements winding arbors from left to right, center to center, and then from the winding arbor to the hand shaft hole center to center. This will tell you if the clock dials winding hole will line up on the movement just as the old unit did.
The American clock replacement units come in two ways. Just the movement or the movement kit that includes the key, gong, gong base, pendulum, and hands. It’s best to get the kit since it’s only $20 more and you can be sure to have all you need with some spare parts for your clock also.
American clock repair options summery
It is best to preserve history and get the antique unit repaired whenever possible for the sake of the antique clock. However for various reasons this may not be practical. It may come a time where the movement is not worth chasing and a replacement is better. The clock will no longer be a historical antique but it will be a functioning clock again.
Why replace an American clock movement?
Sometimes an American clock movement made 80 to 100 years ago is just too worn out and needs to be replaced. We offer these units as replacements for when the old is just worn beyond reason. It will make a clock that has not run in a very long time work as it did before. The clock would lose any antique value but it may have had no value as a broken clock anyway. It is not uncommon where the clock is damaged beyond reason and the parts are not available.
Evidence of wear
The oil becomes a solid instead of a liquid and creates wear over time just like all mechanical clocks. When clock oil gets old, it gets solid and turns into an abrasive. Solid or semi-solid oil creates wear and is evident in the movement’s outer brass plate pivot holes. Overall the clock has too much resistance in the movement to function under the power of the mainsprings. At the same time the pivots that spin in these holes get worn and distorted. If a pivot is worn beyond reason it would require re pivoting and this is costly and time consuming.
Sometimes a mainspring may break and break teeth on the gears from the impact. The mainsprings also may end up stuck in the coiled position from being wound up for many years. Basically stuck in the coiled position instead of expanding to a large length. In the clock maker world we call this the mainspring is "SET" and means its stuck in the coiled position. If its wound all the way up and left that way for 10 or 20 years, it sort of gets used to being that way and ends up being SET.
In the end
The movements we offer on this page are made in India. These are sold as replacement units for the American movements that are too worn out to keep chasing. These are 10-15 year movements instead of the very long life the old movement has lived. The new movement from India is economical so it can be swapped out after a decade or two instead of being serviced.
American replica clock movement
The American replica clock movement's on this page are based on the most common American units that were mass produced during the 30s and 40s. Therefore they have a good chance of being a replacement for your worn out movement. By "time strike" units this means the clock tells time and also strikes.
The quality is not the same as the antique American time strikes because the plates are thinner. The brass is not what it used to be in 1930 because of all the times its been recycled also. However these serve well as a replacement for the American time strike unit that is worn beyond reason. Life expectancy is about 10-15 years rather than the very long life your antique clock movement has lasted.
These American replica clock movements have a center shaft and arbor configuration that will match up to many original dials. In other words the holes in the current dial have a very good shot of matching up to one. Chances are it will wind in the same places in the dial winding holes. Ideally it will not be required to drill new holes to wind the clock or need to get a new dial face.
Measurements to match up to be sure its compatible with what you have now.
- The length of the pendulum from the hand shaft to the bottom of the bob's nut threads
- The hand shaft length from the front plate of the movement and all the way out
- Winding arbor measurements in relation to the hand shaft so the clock can be wound in the same places through the dial.
Movement or kit options
Building an American antique clock replica
Between 1900 and 1945 the Americans made many clock movements with the same themes in common. The most produced USA clock movements during this era were time and strike 8 day units. Here 80 years later and these movements are no longer produced in USA for these popular clock styles. India introduced replica movements into the market that matched the antique American units by measurements and functions.
Avoid building a mantle clock
The mantle clocks are not easy because of the dial / bezel / glass requirements that are unobtainable in the modern market. The more complex the dial requirements the less chance of obtaining such a thing in the modern market. Mantle clocks such as Tambour style and Adamatine have dial bezel glass combinations that all fit together like a glove. This increase of complexity makes it less obtainable from the start without even getting into drilling the holes to wind it. Clocks with this style dial requirement is the least likely to come out successfully.
Nice clocks to build
Other clocks are good to build such as the kitchen units and the long and short drop clock kits. Be aware these kits do not include the wood case or instructions on creating a case. We are only offering the internal components of these kits for the craftsman. The plans would need to be obtained elsewhere or replicate an existing clock.
clock case measurements
When planning the clock case to build for the new movement it is best to consider the depth and height requirements. The depth would be determined with the hand shaft length in mind. The height would be dependent on the pendulum length of the new movement and how much height overall it would take. These antique clock cases were mass produced so it would not be hard to find a case to duplicate. The idea is to examine an existing case to build ones own clock with a unique personal twist.
The pendulum length on the American movements and therefore also the replicas is called the drop. The drop is the pendulum length from the shaft that the clock hands go on, down to the very bottom of the pendulum rating nut threads. This measurement is approximate and will vary if a lighter / heavier pendulum bob is used. Building an American antique clock replica case is best done by duplicating the basic measurements of an existing clock.
Hand shaft measurement
This is the length of the shaft that the hands go onto. It is measured from the front plate of the clock movement and all the way out to the end of the minute hand nut threads. This would need to be considered when creating a clock case and figuring out the depth to make it. When planning the clock case the best way to be sure all will fit ok is the get the movement first. With the movement in hand it can be measured in whatever way to create the best wooden enclosure.
Clock dials are not what they used to be in the antique world. The dial bezel glass combinations are pretty much obsolete. What is still on the market is modern looking instead of antique. Best to stay away from clocks with this dial requirements such as mantle units and banjo clocks. Kitchen and steeple clocks are better to build because we can supply a 6 1/2 inch dial that is drilled to wind the clock. These dials are not already drilled, however clockworks drills them out before we shipping. Dial grommets are installed in the winding holes after drilling so the holes are pretty. This dial that is provided with the clock kit is optional to use. It is possible for the customer to do whatever alternate dial solution that is in mind of course.
Antique clock movement replacement ordering
Ordering a replacement clock movement is done by matching up certain measurements. The new movement will when the pendulum length, winding arbor spacing, and hand shaft length all match the antique. The clock movements offered measure the same as the mass produced units made in USA from around 1900 to 1945. Nice replacement movements for many of the antique movements such as Sessions or New Haven and others.
The pendulum drop
The "drop" is term used to indicate the pendulum length however it is not measuring just the pendulum alone. The length is measured from the shaft that the clock hands go on and down to the very bottom of the pendulum rating nut threads. This measurement is approximate and will vary if a different if a lighter or heavier pendulum bob is used.
Hand shaft length
The hand shaft is the shaft that the clock hands are on that tell the time. To match the measurements properly, the antique clock movement should have its dial and hands off the clock. With the front of the movement accessible the hand shaft can be measured in its entirety. This would be from the front plate of the movement and all they way out to the end of the minute hand nut threads. This measurement is important to match up because if wrong it can create depth issues.
Winding arbor configuration
The winding arbor measurements from one to the other and also to the hand shaft would need to match. This allow the clock to use the same clock dial is used in the past.
Movement alone or the clock kit
There are two choices, the movement alone for replacing a current movement or a kit that includes the movement / pendulum / hands / key / gong and base so you can swap out everything but the dial. It may be best to get these added parts just in case you need them. Clockworks.com will custom drill a 6 inch dial with gold trim for the movement kit at no charge. This will be included in the kit with the exception of the mantle clock kits. The reason for this is because the mantle dials are no longer produced and are more complicated.
American time-strike clock instructions
American time-strike clock instructions apply to replicas made in India. 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. American time-strike clock instructions: 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. American time-strike clock instructions: 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. American time-strike clock instructions: 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. American time-strike clock instructions: 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. American time-strike clock instructions: 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. 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]
Antique mantle clock movement replacement
- Plates: 5 1/4" x 3 5/8"
- Min case width 4"
- Min depth: 3 1/2"
- Drop: 4 1/2"
- Hand Shaft 1 3/4"
Antique mantle movement
Time and strike mechanical clock movement to fit many American antique mantle clock cases.
Matching the clock movement
The winding arbor measurements, pendulum drop, and hand shaft length would need to match the new unit. The pendulum length is available in variable drops on some units. A pendulum drop is the pendulum length from the hand shaft and all the way down to the bottom of the pendulum bob. Please note the drop may fluctuate, the 13 inch drop unit may keep actual time anywhere between 12 1/2 and 14 inches.
Replica movement only or the kit
The new movements are available to order in two different ways. The movement alone or complete kit with hands, key, gong with base and pendulum. Clockworks.com will custom drill a 6 inch dial with gold trim for the movement kit at no charge. This will be included in the kit with the exception of the mantle clock kits. The reason for this is because the mantle dials are no longer produced and are more complicated.