I just moved my Grandfather Clock. Why isn’t it running and/or chiming?

There are a number of things that could have happened.  Some of these might need a repairperson to fix, but here is a list of some the first things I would check first.

Is the clock wobbly?  If it is, the clock will stop before the weights get all of the way down.  Many clocks have leveling feet on the bottom, and they should be adjusted so that all of the feet are the same length.  If your clock is on carpet, and you have it against the wall, your clock might lean forward because carpet layers use a “tack strip” on the outside edges of your room to keep your carpet from moving or wrinkling.  This raises the edge of the carpet around the wall, so you should adjust both front feet accordingly.  If your clock is standing on a slate or uneven floor, just adjust each foot individually so that the clock is solid.

If your clock chimed before you moved it, check and see if the weights are on correctly.  They look the same, but most of the time they are not.  Look at the bottom of the weights.  Often they are stamped “L”, “C”, or “R” (left, center, and right, the left weight is on your left, as you as you face the clock…). If there are no markings, see if there is any difference how much each weight weighs.  The left weight is usually the lightest, and the right weight is usually the heaviest. (The chiming portion of your clock requires the most weight, and it is usually on the right side).  The center weight can weigh the same as either the left or the right weights, but that depends on how heavy your pendulum is. On some grandmother clocks, all of the weights are the same.

If your clock ran before you moved it check how you pendulum is hanging.  This can be very easy or very difficult; depending on you clock case was made.  On some clocks the top comes off, other clocks have side panels that you can remove, and on other clocks, you have to remove a panel on the back of the case.  Take a look at your clock mechanism.  The very top of your movement has a horizontal post that has a suspension spring attached to it.  If that spring is broken, your clock will not run. Your clock also has a pendulum leader (its about 5-8 inches long).  The pendulum leader hooks on to the suspension spring and the pendulum hangs on the bottom of it.  There is also a lever that comes out from the top of the movement, is angled down, and it either goes through, or around the pendulum leader.  This is what pushes the pendulum.  If this lever binds with or is not in contact with the pendulum leader, the clock will not run.

Another reason for stopping is that your clock is “out of beat”.  Your clock needs to have an even “tick”. If the tick sounds comparable to a guy walking with a limp, it won’t run. The pendulum needs to travel an EVEN distance after each tick.  If it doesn’t, it will stop.  You can adjust this by pushing the pendulum leader (see the above paragraph) In the same direction that the pendulum travels the greatest after the tick.  Lets say that if the pendulum travels 1 inch after the tick on the left side, and 1/4 in after the tick on the right side, you would want to push the pendulum leader to the left AFTER you feel some resistance. This does involve some trial and error, and it might be wise to call a shop before proceeding,  Some of the older more expensive clocks have rather elaborate adjustments that would be beyond the scope of this article to explain.  Just remember, if it sounds like it’s limping, it won’t run.

If your clock is wound with a key, and you can see the clock movement, look at cables where they wind up on the drum.  The cables should be wrapped smoothly on the drum.  If the cables are wrapped over each other, or if they slid off the drum, the clock will stop.  This is something you could correct, but I would talk to a repairperson first.  You should also make sure that the cable didn’t slide off of the pulley into the arbor.  You can take the weight off of the pulley, and coax the cable into the pulley groves.

These are some of the easier checks.  If these don’t work, it would be best to contact a repairperson.