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Clocks at Winterthur Museum

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The 2016 Ward Francillion Symposium will be held October 6 – 8, 2016, at the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, DE. The symposium is sponsored by the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC) and will focus exclusively on the museum’s horological pieces.

Winterthur is one of America’s top-rated house museums and boasts a premier collection of 90,000 decorative and fine arts objects made or used in the USA between 1640 and 1860.

A lineup of eminent speakers will address important clocks and watches in the collection, highlighting their makers, regions, craftsmanship, and cultural significance.

The public is welcome and registration is open to all. For more information click here.

Free Webinars Offered by NAWCC

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NAWCC-webinars

The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors is offering an ongoing program of free webinars covering a wide variety of horological topics. These presentations offer you an excellent opportunity to hear speakers from across the country, right from the comfort of your own home.

For details, more information, and to view past webinars click here.

What’s a “Webinar?” It’s a lecture or presentation that is broadcast live over the internet and viewable on your computer. You can access the web broadcast live or if  more convenient, view the recorded version later.

After you register, you’ll receive an immediate email confirmation and later a follow-up email reminder on the day of the webinar. The email notice will include link to join the presentation. In case you’re not able to view the program live, you can register in advance and afterwards receive a follow-up email with a direct link to the recording.

To check out the system requirements for your computer click this link. 

Visit the NAWCC Museum Collection From Your Home

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Did you know…

BLOG-NAWCC-#2_explorecollectionyou can visit the entire collection at the National Watch & Clock Museum from the comfort of your own home? With a click of your mouse or a touch of your finger, you can explore the Museum’s online database containing thousands of objects and images.

You’re invited to join Museum Director Noel Poirier for a “how-to” on using the Museum’s Online Collection Database. The event takes place on Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 7pm EST.  There is no charge for the webinar.

After registering, you’ll receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar. Be sure you view system requirements before logging on to confirm that you’ll be able to access the program. This information will be found in registration link and registration confirmation. If you can’t attend this webinar live, and would like to view a recording of it,  just register for the webinar and you will be automatically notified when a recording is available.

Register online here. For more Information, or to register, contact Katie Knaub: (717) 684-8261, ext. 237 • kknaub@nawcc.org

2015 Ward Francillon Time Symposium – Mechanical Music & Marvels

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This year’s Ward Francillon Time Symposium will be held on October 22-24 in Houston, Texas. The event will cover the history and development of clockwork-operated devices. Topics will include historical information, musical clocks, automatons, disc and cylinder music boxes, bird boxes and whistlers, Black Forest clocks, musical clock movements played on bells, early spring operated phonographs and gramophones, and music composed for these devices.

Additionally, a panel discussion concerning what to look for and avoid when purchasing a musical mechanism will be held.

As a bonus, the Symposium will include tours of two large private collections.

Registration is open to the public.For more information go to http://www.nawcc.org/symposium/index.html

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My Clock Keeps Stopping: Part Three – Cuckoo Clocks

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Did you know that most of the time you, as the clock owner, can correct the problems that cause your mechanical cuckoo clock to stop? That’s why we’ve posted these troubleshooting tips. However, if your clock stopped because the chains slipped off the gears or there’s a buildup of dirt and oil, you’ll need professional help to get your clock running again.

Here are six easy things to check:

1. Is the clock hanging straight on the wall?

If your clock looks like it’s not hanging perpendicular on the wall, plum it up, then give the pendulum a gentle push to get it swinging again. Then listen for a steady, even beat. The silent space between the tick and the tock should be the same. If it isn’t, carefully tilt the clock slightly to the left or to the right until the ticktock rhythm sounds even.

2. Is the door latch blocking the cuckoo door?

A small wire latch (door lock) can get in the way of the cuckoo door. Make sure it’s not preventing the door from opening.

3. Is the bird’s lifting wire out of place?

Check inside of the clock case to make sure the lifting wire (attached to the top of the bellow) is below the bird’s tail and not on top of it or on the side of it. If needed, gently move the wire under the bird’s tail.

4. What’s the position the shut-off switch?

Check the shut-off switch to make sure it’s not in the “on” position. Even if it appears to be “on”, move it in both directions. Sometimes the switch can be somewhere in the middle of “on” and “off” and if it is, then the clock may not work.

5. Is the clock wound?

Forgetting to wind any clock is the most common reason it stops working. All mechanical cuckoo clocks are powered by the gravitational force of its weights, which drop slightly with each swing of the pendulum. When you wind your clock, the weights are lifted back up so they can begin their drop again and keep your clock going. As you wind, don’t lift the weight with your other hand in order to help it along. Instead, let the chain support the full load of the weight and keep winding until the weights are at the very top.

6. Are the hands touching each other?

Have a close look at the hour and minute hands to see if they’re contacting each other. If they are, gently press the hour hand slightly back toward the clock dial, making sure it doesn’t touch the dial. If the hands still touch each other, slightly bend the minute hand toward you. This should create the needed clearance space.

So, if you’ve found any of the above problems and have fixed them yourself, congratulations!

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My Clock Keeps Stopping: Part Two – Grandfather Clocks

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If your grandfather clock stops working, here are a few things you can check before calling a clock repairman.

1. Is the clock wound?
Forgetting to wind a grandfather clock is the most common reason it stops working. All grandfather clocks are powered by the gravitational force of its two or three weights, which drop slightly with each swing of the pendulum. When you wind the clock about every 8 days, the weights are lifted back up so they can begin their drop again and keep your clock going.

2. Are the hands touching each other?
Have a close look at the hour and minute hands to see if they’re contacting each other. If they are, gently press the hour hand slightly back toward the clock dial, making sure it doesn’t touch the dial. If the hands still touch, slightly bend the minute hand toward you. This should create the needed clearance space.

3. Are the hands touching the glass?
Check the minute hand to make sure it’s not touching the front glass. If it is, gently push it toward the dial a slight amount so that it no longer rubs against the glass. Be sure it doesn’t touch the hour hand or the dial. Check the second hand as well to make sure it’s not contacting the glass. Even a small amount of friction against the glass will stop the clock.

4. Has the clock has been moved?
If you have recently moved your grandfather clock, it may be leaning at a slightly different angle than it was before. This can change the gravitational force on the weights and bring the pendulum to a halt. To remedy this, first start your pendulum swinging and listen for a steady, even rhythm. The silent space between the tick and the tock should be even, and last the same duration of time. If it’s not, carefully tilt the clock a little to the left, then listen to the tick tock beat. If it’s still uneven, tilt the clock to the right and listen again. You may also have to tilt your clock backwards and forwards until the beat sounds even. Make sure that the pendulum isn’t touching the chime rods toward the back of the clock or touching the weights toward the front. The best way to check this is by viewing the pendulum through the lower side window of the case.

When the tick tock sounds even, adjust the levelers at the bottom of the clock or use a bracket to secure the clock at that angle to the wall. There is no need to use a level tool to make sure your clock is absolutely perpendicular to the floor. Just let your ears decide by listening for a steady, even tick tock, even if the clock appears to be slightly uneven.

5. Does the clock need to be secured to the wall?
Check to see if the clock case shifts position when it’s touched, or when there are floor vibrations from foot traffic or a nearby road. If so, the clock needs to be fastened securely to the wall behind it.

6. Is the moon dial stuck?
If your clock has a moon dial or calendar disc, try moving it slightly to see if it is free or frozen. If it’s frozen, move the minute hand back about five minutes and check the moon dial again. If it’s still frozen, move the minute hand back a few hours and check again. When you’re done, reset the clock time.

7. Are the cables or chains free?
Check the cables where they wind around the barrels to be sure they’re not looped over themselves. If your clock is chain driven, make sure the chains aren’t tangled or caught on anything.

So, if you’ve found any of the above problems and have fixed them yourself, congratulations!

 

Photo Credits:

Feature photo – www.ovguide.com

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My Clock Keeps Stopping: Part One – Mantel Clocks

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Did you know that most of the time you, as the clock owner, can correct the problems that cause mechanical pendulum clocks to stop? That’s why we’ve posted these tips on how to get your timepiece ticking again. The focus of part one in this four-part series is mantel clocks. Future articles will focus on cuckoo, wall and grandfather clocks.

Before reading on, here’s an important point: if your clock has been running for a long time, then suddenly stops, and you haven’t touched it, it may be an indication that you need professional help.

Four common reasons why a mechanical mantel clock stops:

1. Has your clock been moved recently?

(Note: not all mechanical mantel clocks have pendulums. The below instructions do not apply if your clock has no pendulum.)

Moving a mechanical mantel clock from one place to another is one of the most common reasons why it stops running and can result in one of the following:

a. Pendulum Over Swing--If the bob on the pendulum hasn’t first been immobilized or removed from the pendulum arm before the clock is moved, the pendulum can over swing (go past its normal arc) and throw the clock “out of beat.” Then, eventually, the clock will stop.

b. Change of Angle–If you’ve moved your clock to a new location and the new surface is at a slightly different angle than the previous one, the even swing of the pendulum can alter and cause the clock to go out of beat and stop.

There’s a quick and easy way to get your clock working again if you have a good ear and patience. First, get your timepiece ticking by gently pulling the pendulum to one side and letting go. Then, listen carefully to the tick tock rhythm. A clock that’s in beat will have an equal amount of silent space between the tick and the tock. It will sound like this: tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . tock. But, if the beat sounds uneven, like this: tick tock . . . . . . . . tick tock . . . . . . . . tick tock, then your clock needs to be put back in beat.

pile of U.S. coinsThe easiest way to do this is by using the shim method: Place two coins under two feet of the clock, either on the right or left side. The beat will then become either more even or less even. If it’s less even, remove the coins and place them under the two feet on the other side of the clock. If the beat sounds better, but it’s still not perfect, add more coins until the beat sounds even. If after doing that, your clock runs for a short time and then stops, start the pendulum moving again and add two more coins to raise the clock a little higher, again listening carefully for an even beat.

It could take some time to get it right, but if you stick with it, you’ll again have an in-beat timepiece. However, if your clock is so far out of beat that you have to raise it up 2 or 3 inches to get it back in beat, then the time has come for a visit to the repair shop.

When an uneven surface is the cause of an out of beat clock or stopped clock, the shim method is more effective than using a carpenter’s level and will produce more accurate results. However, the method isn’t as good as correcting the beat by adjusting the crutch which allows the clock to run properly on a truly straight and level surface. We don’t recommend trying to adjust the crutch yourself unless you are confident in your mechanical abilities, and you have the proper instruction from qualified sources.

2. Is the clock wound?
Your clock might just need to be wound. If so, give it a wind, re-set the time, and your problem is solved.

3. Are the hands touching the glass?
Check the minute hand to make sure that it’s not touching the front glass. If it is, gently push the hand toward the dial just enough so that it clears the glass. Be sure not to push it back too much; otherwise, it will catch on the hour hand or dial. Then do the same for the second hand. Even a small amount of friction from a clock hand against the glass will stop a clock.

4. Are the hands touching each other?
Have a close look at the hour and minute hands to be sure that they’re not in contact with each other. If they are, gently press the hour hand back slightly toward the clock dial, making sure the hand doesn’t touch the dial. If the hands still touch, slightly bend the minute hand toward you; this should create the necessary clearance space.

Stay tuned to our blog site for the next article in our series: My clock keeps stopping: Part Two–Cuckoo Clocks.

Photo Credit:

Top photo – Hermle Oak Amelia Mantel Clock

Time Management: An Easy Way to Stay on Track

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How often have you been relaxing at home and lost track of time, then … oops, you’re off schedule or late for a meeting? You could have looked at your wristwatch, computer screen or any clock in your house that is, if you had remembered to check. You could also have set your alarm clock or timer, but maybe you didn’t want to bother or don’t like buzzers and beepers.

Is there a simple solution to keeping track of time at home? Here’s something to think about: have your eyes ever fallen effortlessly on an object in your environment and its image reminded you of something that you needed to do? That object could have been anything: a shoe, a notebook, a box of cookies, etc. . If an image can stir your memory, then what might happen if the image is a clock? It’s an easy guess, you’d know what time it is without exerting any effort or interrupting what you’re doing.


In the field of cognitive psychology there’s a term for this passive information-gathering, it’s called pre-attentive processing. There’s also a term for the kind of clock that our eyes happen to stumble upon, and it’s called ambient, ambient because it’s in our immediate or close surroundings.

You might ask: I already have a cuckoo clock and mantel clock in my house, so what’s the difference between those and an ambient clock? The answer is: there is no difference. Your clocks are ambient; it’s only a matter of where they’re placed that makes them more or less effective as ambient clocks. Here are a few simple guidelines to apply for this simple strategy of passive time management at home.

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Choose the right place

First, step into a room in which you spend a lot of your time. Take two minutes to look around. Then pick a prominent location where your line of vision naturally falls. That place could be a table top in front of your favorite chair, or on a bookshelf; it could even be on a wall directly facing the entryway of that room. Any of these locations could be a good choice for an ambient clock. If a room has no eye-catching spots, you can create one using the right kind of clock.

Choose the right clock

Any analog clock with a large enough dial that’s easy to read can work well as an ambient clock. Digital clocks can also be used, but they’re generally not as eye-catching and are less aesthetic than the analog type. You can also choose a clock with a moving pendulum, since motion works well as an attention-getter. Another approach is to select a timepiece based on size, color or style, which would make it the focal point of the room and an ambient timepiece. For details on using clocks as focal points see our article: Decorating with Clocks.

So, if you’re looking for a quiet way to keep track of time at home without buzzing alarms or beeping timers, try the ambient clock method. Is it foolproof?  No, but with one or more of these timepieces strategically located in your home, loosing track of time is likely to occur less often, and you’ll have enhanced your decor at the same time.

Photo Credits:

1. String on a finger as a reminder -imgkid.com

2. Pre-attentive processing – medium.com

3. Wall clock as focal point – placesinthehome.com