Since last year, I’ve been working with the MN DNR and Hennepin county in writing the criteria and selecting the contractor to clean and repair the tower clock in the upper post of Fort Snelling (it’s where Custer got his orders which resulted in his “last stand”). It’s a big clock. The pendulum bob weighs 135 pounds by it’s self. Seth Thomas estimated the overall weight of the clock and weights “boxed, about 1,500. lbs.”
Phil Wright (The Tower Clock Company in Ohio) was awarded the contract. So this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we removed the clock, piece by piece, down 3 flights of stairs. I realized, early Thursday morning, that a visit to the gym was going to be rather unnecessary.
While we were working in the building, someone called, and when he realized that I was at on old military post he said we must be “minute men”. That term goes back to the American Revolution, but I still thought it was pretty original).
Well, the Midwest Watchmakers and Clockmaker’s Association and the Minnesota Clockmaker’s Guild are hosting Mark Rosheim at our annual convention this weekend. Mark has made robots for NASA, and has a personal interest in Leonardo da Vinci’s “robots”. There is even an interview with Mark on You Tube on da Vinci. (I shouldn’t say “even”, because the predominant subject matter on You Tube is cats….)
If you are already interested in either, you are welcome to attend. It is this weekend. Friday evening is at the Hopkins High School Auditorium and Saturdays program is at the Kelly Inn in St Paul @ 3:00. Each is $10:00.
Details can be found at mwca.us.
Hope to see you there
This weekend, I’ve added a new FAQ on moon phases, and a link to Klockit.com (a battery clock supply company). If you are mechanically inclined,
you might want to see if you could replace your battery clock movement. I would recommend that you remove your movement first, so you can match the hand shaft length, the type of minute hand (minute hands have either round holes or “I shaft”), and how it’s attached to the your clock case. Klocktit has over 100 different type of battery movements, so you will want to pay attention, especially if the hands are behind glass. You also might find that manufactures have many ingenious ways of attaching the movement to your clock. Best of luck!
Every so often, some on tells me that they have a tempus fugit clock. Well, it happens enough that I thought that should post a FAQ on it.
I hope you have a great new year!
Well, with regards to Bob Dylan, the times they are a’ changing…this weekend, actually. Back to Central Standard Time. Changing time can take a lot of time — someone told me of a documentary on the guy who takes care of all of clocks for the Queen of England. It takes all day to change them in just one of the palaces. The royal family has lots of castles, and they are all over of the country.
Even though I don’t have as many as the Queen, it still takes time to adjust all of the mechanical and appliance clocks, and I am always glad when it is done.
I always get get a lot of calls following time changes. People accidentally bump the hour and set it too far ahead. Even though the clock says that it’s set to Central Standard Time, the strike remains on Daylight Savings Time. No matter how long they wait, the chime never matches the strike. After a couple of days, they give up, and give all of us repair people a call.
It’s really easy to correct. All you have to do is move the hour hand so that it matches the number of times that the clock strikes. Be sure to leave the minute hand at the 12:00 position. I have a longer explanation on my FAQ page, but this is a place to start.
Anyway, I hope you don’t miss anything on Sunday.
Remember the cartoon which has a person coming home to find a baby on the doorstep? Actually, something like that happened last week, but it wasn’t near as dramatic or life changing as an infant. It was a clock, on my doorstep, but it didn’t have any owners name or phone number. It does need some repair, and I really want to help, but I really need to know what it’s parent’s (owner’s) intentions are. So I will baby sit this clock for a while, but if it’s yours, would you please give me a call? I would really appreciate knowing what you want me to do. Thanks!
Can you spot the new tooth and the split in the gear? The new tooth is in the 12 o’clock position and the gear was split around the 8 o’clock position. I repaired this gear with a torch and some very fine files.
This gear is called the cannon pinion, it fits on the same shaft as the minute hand, and it drives the gear that turns the hour hand. If the gear splits, as this one did, the minute hand will continue to move and tell the minute, but the hour hand will be stationary.
The most delicate part was brazing on the tooth. The gear is small enough that you have to keep your head very close the the part to see what you are doing and you have to be very aware of where the flame is. The company says that this torch puts out 6,000 degrees at the tip (I’ll take their word on that) and I don’t want to test that out on my face. Not a good time for a sneeze. When I brazed it on, I cut the tooth over sized, and then I filed it down to the correct dimensions.
It turned out very well, and these don’t split that often, but when they are this small, the work can be a little delicate.
Several weeks ago, I received an email thanking me for my FAQ’s because she said in part- “My antique wall clock had not been running for years because it never struck the right time so I just stopped it. I read your websites FAQ’s, made two little adjustments and hooray! My clock is running beautifully, chiming perfectly. Thank you for your FAQ page, it was so simple to fix.”. Her compliment motivated me to add some additional information to the “If your clock does not strike…” FAQ. You will find a new section on adjusting an antique clock that “STRIKES THE HOUR AT THE HALF HOUR….” towards the bottom of the page. I hope you will find it helpful.