Tower Clocks

How do they work? Why have the hands stopped?  That’s when a public clock is really noticed. Nobody comments on their running day-in, day-out, striking the hours or half and quarters. How do they keep running, does a motor wind up the weights or is the all-round mainenance man of the Church using that large winding key every few days or once a week?  Read on!

Kieninger PK–movements

These are my last movements suitable for Long Case Clocks  ( Grandfather / Grandmother ). The most preferred is the 116 cm pendulum, ( full size Grandfather ) I have a pre-owned 93 cm model ( or “pre-loved” as some silly marketers call second-hand goods). As the movement had run for some time, I will re-furbish it to perfect working ( not just dodgy working order ).

The PK type is still of the old Kieninger quality, namely  the plates are 2 mm thick. When we were in business  – CLOCKTIME – we did stock a few types of  Hermle movements, purely because customers compared K to H pricewise only. 25% in lower prices meant 25% in lesser quality, it’s as simple as that.

When Kieninger partnered with the USA Howard Miller concern at the beginning of the 2000s, they started manufacturing some new models with thinner plates and priced them accordingly.

If you are keen to build your own case, 2017 is the best time. The low value of the Rand has knocked imports for our trade very hard.  And Kieninger / Howard Miller upped their quantities for orders per model tremendously. I am glad I don’t have to deal with that any more, since I am semi – retired.

If you have any clock queries, please contact me.    072-605 3855

Pendulum, regulating after restoration

 Restoring a Pendulum.  Clock not keeping time – too slow –  already at the limit of regulation.

            Notes for anyone interested in mechanical clocks, from collectors to clock repairers

The regulation was the problem after restoring  a modern grid pendulum using the existing pendulum disc.

Just before the customer fetched the clock, I used a new disc to match the looks of the restored brass parts.
I never weighed those discs, just presumed them to be identical. The actual difference was about 10%.

It does not matter how long you are in our trade, there will always be an issue, which you have not come across before.

A typical Kieninger grid pendulum  ( not Lyra )

Grid Pendulum fittings

You can dis-regard the screws  “B”

“A”  is the one to work on. If you put the pendulum rod/grid without the disc of course flat onto a table, you will keep the square hook on top from turning around. That is actually more important when you re-tighten the screw.

Mark the rod just below the block. Use a 2 mm blade screwdriver to loosen the screw. It’s not necessary to remove it .
Push the rod through to the bottom ( left on the photo ) about 13 mm and re-tighten the screw.  That will make the distance from hook to pendulum shorter and make the clock faster.  The threaded end – now a bit longer – does not really count. Continue reading “Pendulum, regulating after restoration” »

Buying a Barometer

Buying a Barometer —

and what to watch out for:

Check if the case and fittings are well made, test if the marker hand is not too tight, neither too loose. Much more on the technical side you cannot do and have to rely on the shop owner / sales assistant. If they do not ask you where the barometer will be used, e.g. in your town by the sea or at some other place at a high altitude, then just walk out of the shop, because they do not know the first thing about these goods they stock.

Most barometers of the aneroid type have altitude ranges of about 1000 meters. At coastal areas and inland up to 1000m one would use the models with the lower range. At the higher altitudes the 1000m to 2000m units come into use. On some models I can exchange the movements to suit your altitude.

Thomas Niemeyer


Technical Info about Weather Instruments

Technical info about weather instruments, barometers, thermometers and hygrometers

Frequently asked questions (Copied for my website with kind permission of the BARIGO Company in Germany) some more hints from my years of practice mentioned as well, T.N.

  1. How does a barometer work ?
    The sensor element of a barometer is a metal capsule, the so called diaphragm. With increasing air pressure this diaphragm is pressed together, with decreasing air pressure it is expanding. This up and down movement of the diaphragm is transformed into a rotation movement of the spindle with the help of a lever system. An indicating hand placed on top of the spindle allows accurate readings of the air pressure measured by this system.
    Barometers used at home are meant to indicate the air pressure in relation to sea level conditions. To be able to compare the air pressure readings between locations of different local altitude it is essential to eliminate the pressure differences which are caused by the different local altitudes. On sea level we have higher air pressure than in the mountains, as the weight of the air above the instrument is much higher.
    For weather forecast we would like to be able to compare the weather-caused air pressure differences of locations all over the country with each other. This is only possible if we compensate and eliminate the air pressure differences which are caused by the different local altitudes. How this is done is described in our next chapter.
  2. How may I adjust my barometer to my local altitude ?
    If the barometer is meant to show the correct relative air pressure for each and every location it has to be adjusted once to adapt to local altitude. On the back of each instrument (or at the bottom of some table instruments) you will find an opening giving access to the adjusting screw which moves the indicating hand. On some models you will have to remove the fixing back plate with its centre screw first to have access to the adjusting screw. To receive the current relative air pressure value for your location please check with your local newspaper, your local radio station or airport at that day. Turn the adjusting screw to set the hand to the correct reading. After having done so once the barometer will reliably react to any changes and will help you to obtain a good weather forecast for your home.

Continue reading “Technical Info about Weather Instruments” »

The care of Barigo brass casings



Barigo Weather Instruments:

In addition to the FAQ article, here are some hints on the use of barometers and especially how to care for brass cased instruments:

To dust the instruments, use a dry soft cloth, definitely no Brasso or the Venol paste. Those are good for untreated brass only.

You could buy a soft artist’s brush, say 20 mm wide. Cover the metal part between handle and actual brush with a sleeve of masking tape or similar. That prevents scratching when accidently touching the brass case with the metal part of the brush. ( I recently found a soft brush without any metal fittings in the local art supply shop )

I find this the best method also for removing dust on clock dials etc.

If you have touched the brass parts when handling the instruments, please wipe off any fingerprints – normally not even visible – with the above mentioned dry cloth.

You probably know, that you could give the barometer on the glass a little tick before reading. That will release any latent action of the hand. The mechanism would move also without a tick anyhow to its right position according to  changing pressures, but it would do so at any time, and not necessarily when you want to see a tendency. The marker hand is self- explanatory.

Please share this knowledge with your friends.

re-published October 2016

mainspring cleaning

For clock owners, who will appreciate their clockmakers /restorers and realize to which length of professional service work the latter will go — hopefully.

You see the short descriptions within the images and video clips, a 2 MB file, running for 56 seconds.

A few of those Kieninger PF movements I had in stock a very long time. The grease had dried out in patches, due to not being moved by winding up and running down. No wear an tear, but grease and oil deteriorates in any case over time.

Years ago, I worked out the best combination of lubricants. From the companies Moebius (Switzerland) and Etsyntha (Germany) I received detailed information and I settled on 4 oils and 2 types of grease for my work on clocks.

I will continue this post with notes on lubricating the mainsprings and barrel bearings.

Thomas 10. October 2016