For many of us, the sound of a familiar clock tick reminds us of home.
Grandfather or tall case clocks offer some of the loveliest of chimes ranging from St. Michael to Westminster. The serene ticking and tocking of many clocks provides comfort. And, clocks have personalities like late 19th century mantle clocks, 1950s souvenir clocks from various locales or brass carriage clocks.
For instance, my mother has a circa-1960s Seth Thomas clock made in Connecticut that we lovingly refer to as "time bomb." We call it that because it sounds like a time bomb. We used to announce the time around our house with the quip, "Time bomb says 8:30 a.m."
While all clocks have a rhythm or beat (a tick and a tock), my mom's Seth Thomas clock certainly had a distinctive sound that was immediately recognizable to members of my family.
No matter what type of clock you have, there are some simple ways to keep your clock working well.
It is typically a good idea to keep clocks fully wound.
Some clocks are supposed to be wound clockwise, while others are supposed to be wound counterclockwise.
If you don't know the direction that you should wind your clock, don't just experiment. Don't over wind it either. Ask an expert.
Beat the clock
A clock's beat is important to diagnosing its issues. An uneven or missed beat means that your clock may be uneven.
Some clocks must rest on a level surface. If the beat is off on your clock, check the level of the clock.
Clocks that use pendulums or atmos (atmospheric-driven) clocks need to be on level surfaces to run properly.
Some people don't realize that the problem with a clock may not be with the clock at all but rather with the less than level surface upon which the clock has been placed.
Mantles, bookcases, tables or other flat surfaces must be level for most clocks to keep good time.
Clocks are home-bodies and sometimes a clock that ran just fine in one home won't run well in a new home. What's more, moving a clock may cause damage. If you intend to move a clock, be it a wall clock or a tall case clock, it is wise to consult a clock professional first.
What's in a pendulum?
The pendulum's length says a lot about how a clock will run.
For instance, the longer the pendulum the slower the clock will run and the shorter the pendulum, the faster a clock will run.
Some clocks have an adjustment with F (fast) and S (slow) marked on the works so the clock may be adjusted to suit one's needs.
This simple adjustment mechanism can help when a clock is running too slowly or too quickly.
If you intend to move or relocate your clock, it is wise to remove the pendulum first.
If you have a key that accompanies your clock, remember that it is a vital piece of equipment that is necessary to keep your clock working. Don't give it up to anyone. Like your car keys, it will be a big headache if you lose the key to your clock.
Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.