Preserving Memories

Preserving Memories Preserving Memories

Preserving Memories. Here is an obsolete chain wheel from an older cuckoo clock.  The ratchet pawl is worn out so I’m fabricating  a new one.  The customer said it belonged to her Mother who loved to hear the music every morning at breakfast.   It’s great to be able to restore these memory makers so they can once again be enjoyed.

For more information about All About Time Repair, visit my website at

French Crystal Regulator

French Crystal Regulator

French Crystal Regulator

French Crystal Regulator with a Genuine Mercury Pendulum.

This is a movement from a French Crystal Regulator that I started on today.  It’s ready to go through the cleaning process.  What’s particularly interesting is that this clock has a genuine mercury pendulum.  The two silvery cylinders you see on the pendulum are actually glass vials, partially filled with mercury.  Its purpose is to maintain accurate timekeeping despite temperature variations.

Metal expands when the temperature rises, so the pendulum will actually lengthen, causing the clock to run slower.  However, the mercury in the vial rises upward with the elevated temperature.  This causes the “functional pendulum length” to remain relatively stable, and the clock maintains more accurate time. Cooler weather has the opposite effect and will shorten the pendulum.  Normally this would cause the clock to gain time, but the mercury level lowers, keeping “functional pendulum length” the same.  Think of it as the “center of gravity” remaining constant.

Other types of temperature compensating pendulums were created and put into operation because many years ago it was impossible to maintain a steady temperature without central heating and cooling systems.  Nowadays, because we don’t experience the same degree of temperature changes in our homes, the “temperature compensating pendulums” are relatively non-existent.  Non-functional replicas have taken their place.  The mercury pendulum went “fake” decades ago.  Most of what I see are replicas that contain a silver colored insert that looks like mercury.  Those pendulum have no temperature compensating action at all.

I’m hoping to soon post pictures of some of the other types of temperature compensating pendulums.  Stay tuned!!


A Pivotal Point!

A Pivotal Point

A Pivotal Point! This photo is going to become part of a “Photo Tour” I’m preparing for my website. The Tour will include photos of the various stages of a complete clock movement overhaul which I hope will be of interest to those who visit my site. This photo shows me polishing a pivot on a clock wheel to a smooth new surface.  Pivots are the axles the gears turn on.

When they get scratched up or grooved, wear and tear is accelerated to the point where the clock will fail to run properly.  Once polished, the pivot hole in which the pivot rides is restored with a new hardened brass bushing.

I hope you’ll revisit my site to see the Photo Tour.  I’ll blog it’s completion!

By the way, in this photo, the lathe I’m using is a Sherline miniature machinists’ lathe.  I was trained 40+ years ago on a watchmakers’ lathe, but have found the machinist’s lathe to be far more versatile for the kind of work I do.  I can fabricate tiny parts that I never could on a watchmaker’s lathe.  It would NOT be practical for a watch repairman, however.

Going Cuckoo!

Cuckoo 2

Some days I think I’m going a bit cuckoo!  We had a three day run on nothing but cuckoo clocks coming in for repair.  Everything from tiny ones that just peep, to fancy musical cuckoos that have animated woodchoppers, dancing couples and waterwheels.  They’re fun, but oh boy can they be a challenge to service!

Cuckoo 1