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The pendulums of these clocks take two forms, either detachable or not, depending on what type of escapement is used. Anchor and dead-beat escapements are detachable pendulums and verge escapement pendulums are not normally.
For bracket clocks with a back mounted bell it may be necessary to undo the bell nut and take off the bell itself. Bracket clocks often have some form of pendulum clamp to hold the pendulum whilst being moved. To remove a detachable pendulum lift up the pendulum and top suspension spring block and bring back clear of the back cock and crutch pin. To replace the pendulum reverse this procedure but ensure the brass suspension block pin sits into the notch on the top of the back cock and also that the crutch pin is inside the slot of the pendulum rod.
For wall clocks put the pendulum on after the clock is hanging on the wall. For attached pendulums it is simply moved to one side and hooked up into the side hook or unhooked to release. If the hook is missing the pendulum should be padded inside the case to stop it moving. Do not attempt to remove the pendulum in any way. After hanging or releasing the pendulum it is necessary to check the "tick". This must be even in order that the clock continues to function. Swing the pendulum gently and listen - if you are not sure whether it is even or not try raising one side of the case and listen to see what that sounds like.
On a wall clock move it out of vertical. If the "tick" is uneven the crutch arm has to be bent. Sometimes there is an adjustable crutch with two screws that when turned move the crutch position side to side. Decide which way the crutch arm is to be bent by making the "tick" correct by lifting up one side of the case, or with a wall clock pivoting on the hanging screw. If the clock is raised up on the right (looking from the front) bend the crutch slightly to the right (looking from the back).
The pendulum rod itself is bent in the case of fixed pendulums with verge escapements. If the clock is raised up on the left, bend the crutch to the left. Trial and error will soon correct the clock. With an adjustable crutch the arm need not be bent as the same effect is achieved by rotating the knurled brass nut carrying the crutch pin one way or the other. Wall clocks, after they are in beat in the vertical position, often have securing plates which can be screwed through to stop the clock moving when winding. A double sided sticky pad pressed on the wall behind a wall clock stops it moving when you wind it.
Wind the clock once a week in a clockwise direction. If the clock is a striking clock wind both sides. Wind until the key comes to a definite stop which after seven days will be 28 half turns on each square or more if the clock has run slightly longer. This applies only to fusee clocks which the vast majority of antique English clocks are. For quarter chiming bracket clocks all three squares will require winding. Ensure your key fits the square properly, it must fit onto the square enough and have little if any slack. If the key is beginning to wear round then replace it as it may damage the clock squares. Striking clocks must be wound on both sides even if the clock is not wanted to strike, failure to wind the striking spring may stop the clock and can cause damage. Some bracket clocks are fitted with strike/silent devices.
To set the hands to time always move the minute hand ONLY. On a timepiece clock (one which does not strike or chime) the minute hand can be moved forwards or backwards to reach the correct time. On striking clocks which sound the hours only, the minute hand can be moved forwards slowly to each hour allowing the clock to complete its striking each time before moving on. For minor adjustments in a backward direction the minute hand should only be moved between the figures 40 - 1 minute. To go back past the 60 may well damage the movement. On quarter chiming clocks sounding each quarter, the minute hand can be moved forwards slowly to each quarter allowing the clock to complete its chime each time before moving on. For minor adjustments in a backwards direction the minute hand can only be moved safely between the figures 7 - 1 minute, 22 - 16, 37 - 31 or 52 - 46 minutes. If the clock has a strike/silent this can be switched to silent in which case there is no need to pause at the quarter hour or hours.
English wall clocks are normally on a rack striking principal and do not get out of sequences. The only exception is if the hour hand is moved. This is normally friction tight and so can be moved to line up with the appropriate hour struck.
To set a date on an English bracket clock the first thing is to make sure that the time is in the right 12 hour sequence so that the date is changing during the night and not around midday. Two types of date mechanisms are used, one shows the date on a hand and the other in an aperture. For the hand type simply move the hand onto the correct date. The type which shows in an aperture has engraved figures on a large ring with inside teeth. This ring must be located from the back of the dial, at the front of the movement and turned manually with the finger until the correct date is reached. All the dates are marked up to 31 days and so have to be corrected fairly often so you should get to know your clock and will find it easy to change the date when you know how.
Most English clocks only have regulation on the pendulum itself although a few have separate regulation dials (called rise and fall). With regulation dials simply move the hand slightly towards fast or slow, usually left (anti clockwise) for slow and right for fast. Look at the drawings to determine what type of pendulum bob you have. For fixed pendulums with verge escapements turn the bob itself to the right (clockwise) to go fast or left (anti clockwise) to go slow. If a pendulum bob has a bottom nut turn the nut to the right (clockwise) to go fast or left (anti clockwise) to go slow. Occasionally the pendulum sticks in the rod and so when the nut is turned to the left the bob stays where it is, so ensure that the bob is still sitting on the top of the nut, if not gently pull the bob down back onto the nut. With a pendulum having the nut on top of the bob, look down onto the nut and turn to the right (clockwise) to go fast or left (anti clockwise) to go slow.
English clocks have many variations so if your clock has something different about it which is not dealt with here email us or contact a qualified horologist, such as Jeff Rosson at City Clocks.
At City Clocks we will be happy to advise you on your English Wall & Bracket Clock maintenance.
Contact City Clocks here or call us on 0800 78 345 87.