Early Steeple Clock: Chiming Issue

by Nancy
(Salem, MA)

I have inherited an early steeple clock which belonged to my grandparents and then to my parents. (The clock has an interesting history as my grandparents found the clock case in the loft of a barn, the glass front and works broken. My grandfather replaced the works and my grandmother, who was an art teacher, painted a new glass front. The gong isn't a pretty one and it's pretty noisy so I'm considering having new works or a new gong installed.)

After bringing it home, I wound it and discovered that it is chiming a different hour than the current time.

Any idea what might be causing the clock to chime the wrong hour?

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Chime out of sync
by: Bill

Hi Nancy,

The early clocks had a count wheel to "count" the hours rather than the rack and snail used in most newer clocks where the hour is automatically kept in sync with the hands.

Think of it as if there are two separate movements in the clock - one for moving the hands and the other for "counting" the hourly chime starting at 1 and progressing up to 12, then starting over again.

This is actually what you have with these antique clocks, only there is one movement with two "trains" - one keeps the time and the other is for the chime.

Since they are not connected to each other, they can get out of sync. The easiest fix is to simply move the hour hand to the correct hour - the hour hand is friction tight and should move with a little pressure.

Some steeple clocks have a small wire hanging down next to the pendulum that is there for advancing the count of the chimes until it is in sync with the hands. If you have this wire, you need to push up on it and release repeatedly until the chime matches the hour hand.

Thanks for your question, Bill

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