My Grandad, “Pop“, was married twice and my Nana was his second wife. They were married in June of 1934, and Pop bought Nana a clock as a wedding present.
The clock was lovingly cared for for many years but long after both Nana and Pop had left it behind, it met with an accident and fell into a state of dis-repair. I’m not sure when exactly, as time flies by so quickly, but it must be well over two years ago as we were still in the old house, I acquired my Nana’s clock and brought it home with me for some very much needed TLC.
When Nana’s clock came to live with me it was in a very sad state indeed, its previous resting place, pride of place on a bay windowsill had caused the varnish to flake away from the wood, and its journey from said windowsill to wooden floor had caused the front glass dome to smash and the pendulum to no longer work, just sitting inside the clock along with a tiny broken piece of metal instead.
It’s immediate careful treatment was to take away the smashed glass dome and to rub away the flaked varnish, no sandpapering, just careful rubbing with fingers and thumbs until the loose flakes were all gone. It’s key arrived from its previous lodging, but even after winding, the clock still sat in silence, raising a gentle smile now and again as I would catch it with a glance in the right direction.
It sat silent for a lot longer than planned waiting for a visit to a clock mender until one evening I decided to take matters into my own hands and dismantled the front window frame to enable me to take exact measurements for a replacement glass dome which I then ordered from online and carefully replaced when it arrived.
With its glass replaced, the clock immediately took on a more healthy appearance and I started dredging online for tutorials on how the inside should have worked.
I finally discovered what the little broken piece of the metal should look like and how it should work. It was a pendulum suspension spring and it was broken in two. The suspension spring is apparently very easy to break, and happens often if the pendulum isn’t removed for taking the clock on a long journey. I could buy a replacement, online, but needed to remove a little pin holding the remainder half of the spring in place, so that I could put both pieces together to get an exact measurement. As much as I pulled at the pin I couldn’t get it to budge.
My Dad came to visit and helped out with the mending of his mother’s clock. After taking a close up photo, and zooming in to see things magnified greatly, he could see that one end of the pin was thicker than the other, and it seemed I had been pulling it in the wrong direction. Between us we managed to pull out the pin, measure the spring and order the right size online.
A few days after my Dad had gone home, the replacement spring arrived and I carefully fixed it in place with the original pin. My smile beamed as the tick-tocking and the Westminster chimes resumed.
I sent my Dad a video of the inside workings, working and he said the tick-tocking was uneven, I had already straightened one little piece of pendulum support which had become bent during the clocks fall, so I gave it another tug in the right direction and to my dismay, the ticking stopped, I had strained something inside the clock and stopped it ticking at all.
I finally gave up and took my clock along to the jewellery shop. For a very long week the clock was sent off to the workshop for a quote. I knew it would probably cost more than buying a new clock to fix this one, but I didn’t want a new one. I wasn’t quite expecting the £420 quote for fixing and cleaning I received though, and with more than a little dismay I went to bring the clock home.
Hubby had carried the clock to the shop in a strong hessian shopping bag, but I picked it up myself on my way home from work. It grew heavier as I walked home so I pushed my arm through the shopping bag handles and took the weight with my shoulder.
As I trundled along, a little downhearted at getting so close to fixing the clock, the echos of a Westminster chime rang out from beneath my elbow.
Immediate investigation on arriving home revealed that by taking the workings apart to look inside, and putting them back together again the clock menders in the workshop had made the pendulum work again. Without the pendulum disc attached, the pendulum support had been jolted slightly as I carried it home and the clock had come back to life.
Over the last two weeks I’ve been adjusting the length of the pendulum support to correct the timekeeping. Now my Nana’s clock chimes out at quarter past, half past, and quarter to the hour, with a complete Westminster chime accompanied by the right number of strikes on every hour...
And every time it does, I smile and think of my Nana.