Carriage Clock

The requirement on these clocks is that everything must be highly polished, both steel and brass. The cases should gleam in the sunshine.  However, as one picture I will show you indicates, it is not necessarily a good idea to place these clocks on a window cill especially if they end up between single glazing and a curtain at night.  It is a prime location for condensation and hence rust. I have used pictures of two different movements in this section. Polishing them with proprietory brass cleaner is not a good idea either, apart from the vigorous shaking they get whilst this is done the white lines left by dried out polish in the crevices of the case decoration look very unsightly.  The cases are supposed to be lacquered so that only light dusting is required.  Lacquer can be reapplied when the clock is serviced.

Before repair:

On the left are front and back views of the same clock, which is late 19th or early 20th century and is fitted with a cylinder escapement.  The knob is missing from the door at the back.
Above is a top view showing the balance wheel and the streakiness of the lacquer.

On examination of the clock shown above, when I removed the balance I found that its lower pivot jewel had been replaced by one of a smaller outer diameter and that this was fitted by bending in the seating, see the 9 o’clock position.  This meant that the balance was no longer perfectly vertical.  (The lines behind the balance jewel are 1mm divisions on a ruler, to give a scale for the picture.


The lower picture, of another clock, shows the results of a damp atmosphere on another cylinder escapement, a stepped escape wheel tooth can be seen between the balance spokes.  Both the balance spring and the regulating index are rusty; this clock had been on a window cill behind the curtains.

Case repair:

Repair 1:  These case are fixed together with screws so are easy to take apart. I did this and then removed all traces of old lacquer and polish.  I then re-lacquered the case parts and left them to dry for two days.  Lacquer must not be applied too thick as it will run and the thick parts show as a different colour, or too thin as rainbow affects occur in certain lighting conditions, like the effect of oil on water. It must be applied smoothly and free from bubbles.  If applied by brush it must be done correctly in one coat as attempts to touch up later just soften the previous coat and make a right old mess of it.

Repair 2:  I made and fitted a new case door handle in the same style as the case would have had when it was made.

Movement repair:

Repair 1:  On the clock shown to the left I measured the diameter of the lower balance pivot and obtained a suitable jewel with both the correct hole size and outer diameter which I fitted in the existing setting.

Repair 2:  On the other clock I treated the balance spring and regulating index to remove the existing rust and prevent further attack.  Strong cold tea is a slow but safe rust remover and inhibitor!  I suggested to the owner that a different location for the clock would be a good idea.

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