West German Mantel Clock

flowermumDecember 7, 2011

Whilst treasure hunting a few days ago I happened upon a Wuersch mantel clock. I have never heard of Wuersch before but bought the clock because I love old things and thought it was a really well made piece.

I opened the back and it had the key enclosed. However, when I put the key into each of the three holes I wasn't able to turn the key at all and the hour and minute hands have not moved. I did manually gently turn the hands and I could hear them tick on each 1/4 hour.

I know I would have to take it to a clock repair person but I was hoping that maybe someone may know based upon what I described whether this is a hopelessly over-wound clock and most importantly, do you think it will ever work again without spending a small fortune?

I tapped the bars in the back and they sounded sooooo beautiful! I would really love for this clock to work.

Any help would be appreciated.

I took pixs but wasn't able to load them onto photobucket. I will try again later.

I was able to find a picture of the one I have. It looks exactly like the one on this site. It's the very last clock on the left side, the West German Mantel Clock.



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Nice clock....if you can get it to work....
Speaking from a small bit of experience here....and remembering when I took my French mantle clock in to be "un jammed" and I looked over the clock maker's shoulder.
Sometimes you can manually release the escapement one click at a time. You have to be very careful because if you accidentally release all the tension on the spring....it will unwind with a whirl and do a lot of damage. If it isn't clear to you what little lever to lift to release the wheel.....best take it to someone who does know.
You might google and learn all you can about how old clocks work....and maybe see something that looks familiar in your clock.
Whatever you do don't add oil!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 1:12PM
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First, try to determine the state of the power springs. When you opened the back, could you see the power springs? If so, were those wound tightly or were the spring coils open with air space between the coils?

If wound tight, it may just need some encourgament to get the mechanism unjammed. Start by staring the pendulum swinging. Do this gently. Start with a small arc of motion. If nothing happens, increase the arc and watch the escapement wheel. When the arc become large enough to lift the escapement pins far enough to allow it to move if it were inclined to do so, the pendulum motion is large enough. Do not increase farther. Should you be lucky, the escapement wheel will begin to turn and drive the pendulum. it may take a few tries to get things running.

If the power spring is 'open', e.g., unwound. It will have space between the coils and all that is the matter is the spring has run down. In this case upon stating the pendulum swinging, may result in the escapement wheel merely rocking back and forth - it does not have enough drive to run the pendulum. The spring may simply be run down. Again, look at the power spring and determine which direction is the 'winding direction'. Some springs are wound in the COUNTER-CLOCKWISE direction (left) rather than to the clockwise (right). For example, I have a wall clock and the clock spring is wound counter clockwise whereas the striker spring is wound in the opposite direction.

Clock gear trains are sensitive to friction and goo. Friction and dirt has more effect as you move along the gear train. The last gear in the train is the one that turns the escapement wheel. The amount of torque to run this wheel is tiny indeed. A very small amount of sticky goo in the teeth or pivot of this gear can stop the clock of keep it from fully running down. Goo can happen if the wrong oil wasused to lub the clock. Ordinary oil tends to oxidize over time and form sticky residue. Good lubricants can also form a sticky substance by picking up and retaining dirt. If the final wheels in the gear train have a coating of sticky goo, it will need cleaning. If this is beyond your expertise, it is best to have a certified clock repairman clean and lubricate the gear train for you.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions! I will study what you both told me and if I think I can't safely do what was suggested, then I will try to find a clock repair person.

I finally was able to upload my pictures.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Wuersch is actually an American clock maker, but the works are imported from Germany. It is not an 'old' clock, because until after WWII there was no such thing as West Germany. In fact, the works in that clock were made in 1983. The number stamped on Wuersch clock guts is the manufacturing year. It is still a nice clock, even if it's not terribly old.

I doubt it is overwinding causing the problem, unless the mainspring is broken. I also suspect it is either gooey lubricant or there is something else going on with it. That's why I get a clock man in every couple years to maintain my g'father's clock. The works on this clock would pushing thirty years old, and I suspect it's going to be something you'll need attended to, even if it's just for a cleaning. A clock repairman would probably be able to nail it quickly and give you an estimate and tell you pretty directly what is causing the problem.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 6:11PM
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