Pendulum clock won't work

Reply Wed 23 Feb, 2011 03:57 pm
I inherited a 20 th century pendulum clock. (wooden, arts and crafts, American made)

I put it on the wall, leveled it and started it up. (without the pendulum) It ran fast, but ran well. It chimes on the hour and half hour.

Then I put the pendulum on and it will only run for 15 minutes or so. Then stops.

I tried to look up the problem on-line and it said to move the pendulum way over to the right and then to the left, and this would correct the "verge" mechanism. No luck. I'd like to get this to run.

Any ideas?
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Reply Wed 23 Feb, 2011 06:17 pm
I love pendulum clocks. When I lived in Richmond, CA back in the '80's, a neighbor of mine collected pendulum clocks of all types. Every wall and surface was covered in grandfather clocks, wall-mounted pendulum clocks, cuckoo clocks, etc. She had them all set to go off at slightly different times so that on the hour every daytime hour, the house would be filled with chimes and chirps for a good half hour. Every night before going to bed, her ritual was to go around to every clock to wind them all up.

I've only had 1 wall mounted pendulum clock of my own that was a genuine gear-driven pendulum mechanism. I had another that had a circular spring mechanism that eventually lost strength in the spring and stopped working.

Here are some sites detailing the inner workings of such clocks. Understanding how they work may help you figure out how to fix yours.




This one has some do-it-yourself repair suggestions for various problems with pendulum clocks


Reply Wed 23 Feb, 2011 06:20 pm
If you can find the brand/manufacturer of the clock, that would help get some very specific info for you.

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Josh Jackson
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2013 07:46 pm

A pendulum works by converting energy back and forth, a bit like a rollercoaster ride. When the bob is highest (furthest from the ground), it has maximum stored energy (potential energy). The key parts of a pendulum clock are:

1. A dial and hands that indicate the time.
2. A weight that stores (potential) energy and releases it to the clock mechanism as it falls, very gradually, over the course of a day (or several days, if you're lucky). Winding the clock raises the weight back up, storing more potential energy to power the mechanism.
3. A set of power gears that take energy from the falling weight and use it to drive the clock mechanism at the correct speed. If we use a really heavy weight and the right power gears, the weight will store enough energy to drive the clock for days without us having to wind it up. (Remember the law of conservation of energy here: the longer the clock runs, the more energy it uses; a clock with a heavier weight can store more potential energy so, generally speaking, it's going to run for longer without winding than one with a lighter weight.)
4. A set of timekeeping gears that drive the different hands around the clockface at different speeds. These are usually finer and more precisely made than the power gears.
5. A pendulum and escapement that regulate the speed of the clock and keep it (more or less) constant.

Thanks a lot!
Josh Jackson
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