Fixing the Hallway Clock

Yard Sale Biedermeier (Style)

Way back in '98 or '99 we found this beautiful clock at a yard sale for $5. It's an Auzenier-Benz, Biedermeier style (I say 'style' because I don't think this clock is an antique) 31-Day wall clock with coiled gong chime, which counts the hour and strikes the half. The case is a satin mahogany finish with an ebony colored finial. The column flutes have black accents and acanthus leaves. There is an "R A" on the pendulum which stands for: retard/advance. It has a common pendulum bob, used by many manufacturers worldwide. As a rule of thumb, the thread on the rating nut is designed so that one full turn changes the clock about 2 minutes per week. This clock has what is known as a self-regulating beat mechanism. That means the clock, once hung on the wall or set on the shelf, and properly started, will find its own "happy medium" where the tick and tock are even enough that the clock will keep on running. It is also designed so the striking is self-correcting; that is, the hour struck will automatically correct after the clock has been reset.

When asked if the clock worked, the lady said it did, but lost time almost immediately after being wound  up.  Instantly we knew the problem, she had forgotten Galileo and Huygen's laws of  pendulum period, and hadn't adjusted the bob or the lyre.  

The pendulum length dictates how fast or how slow your grandfather clock will keep the proper time. If you take time to adjust it properly, the grandfather clock can keep exceptionally good time for a mechanical timekeeper.
  • The longer you make the pendulum, the slower the grandfather clock.
  • The shorter you make the pendulum, the faster the grandfather clock.
Adjusting the speed of the clock is accomplished by moving the pendulum disk (bob) up or down. This is adjusted by turning the nut at the bottom of the pendulum. Moving it up pushes the “bob” (the round disk) up so the clock will run faster. If you turn the nut as to lower the “bob”, the clock will run slower. The pendulum disk is moved up or down by turning the adjustment nut. - The Clock Depot

Much of the Biedermeier was the middle class attempting to emulate the nobility. The emphasis on family life was an emulation of the royal family of Austria. The newly designed furniture style allowed an up and coming administrator or professional to feel as if they were really “making it”. Salons were opened by the middle class women, who demonstrated their education and social talents. Friends, family and other middle-class music lovers were invited into intimate social gatherings where lieder and art songs were performed by amateurs in the home. - Antique Clock Guy

A Perfect Fit

Not only did we know what the problem was, the clock was also a perfect fit for 173.  The color was almost a perfect match to the woodwork here, there was also architectural interest in that the column flutes had black accents, and there were acanthus leaves to add interest.  AND - did I say it cost $5?  But the time-keeping wasn't the issue that took so long to fix.  The problem was embarrassingly simple to fix, but it had escaped my mind!  If you look at the picture above it can be quite clear - the top finial is missing!  A number of years ago I bought this finial to put on the clock:

But I just didn't think the shape matched the feel of the clock.  Fast forward waaay too many years, and I finally sought out, purchased, stained and applied a decent finial!

First I had to enlarge the hole in the top of the clock to fit the finial tenon.  I was worried about drilling to deep so I measured the depth, which was almost nothing...

and put a depth collar on the bit...

resulting in the perfect size hole...

And wah-lah after all these years the clock has a finial!

The hands of every clock are shears, trimming us away scrap by scrap, and every time piece with a digital readout blinks us towards implosion. - Dean Koontz

We're Not Done Yet

The missing finial wasn't the only thing time had affected (unintentional but convenient pun) on this clock, the clock face had also come loose.  This was a quick fix though - cyanoacrylate glue and sockets.  What's that you say - sockets?  Why yes, the 3/4" and 1" sockets were just the right size and weight to make sure the clock face was affixed!

And with that she's good as new.

Thanks for checking in!
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