Old Tech Friday: A Word About Old Clocks!

Friday again, aces! It’s about time and time is what it’s about!

Today I’d like to talk about old clocks. Our house is unusually quiet when no kids are around, there’s no TV, the computers are usually off, there are no fans whiring, no electronics buzzing, just quiet. Except for one melodic sentinel: The clock. The sound of a mechanical clock can be a pleasing one, it’s rythimic and mechanical yet it also has a certain warmth as it reverberates through the wood, glass and metal. Not at all like the crude clatter of a cheap quartz. This example is an Ingraham, As for it’s age I’m not sure, but every time it had been serviced the technician who worked on it signed and dated the back of it, the earliest being 1912.

E. Ingraham Clock Co. Bristol Conn.

E. Ingraham Clock Co. Bristol Conn.

Despite it being over 100 years old, getting it rebuilt was no problem. I dropped it off at the clock shop and they had it done in about a week. It took another week to get it adjusted and keeping good time. The process for this is very easy, but you need to wait a long time between adjustments. This one chimes the hour and also has an alarm, which we rely on daily. The bell is cast iron so it rings very loud.

As long as you keep it wound (every other week), it’s very reliable. The clock is completely indifferent to power outages, and there is no battery to quit without warning. It is also a piece of quality craftsmanship that is seldom found today. These are nice item to pass on to your children or grandchildren as the sound of it will bring back memories of the one who gave it to them every day for years and years.

When buying an old clock, keep in mind that it may need rebuilding, especially if it doesn’t run at all. Mine cost about $160 to do. This is a lot of money for a clock, but you will not be needing to replace it ever unless you really want to. The other great thing is that the money I spent repairing it went to a local shop and back into the local community. I bring this up a lot, but I think it’s important because these are your neighbors and friends that you are helping out rather than some faceless big box store. You are also supporting a skilled craftsman, which is becoming a dying breed.

You can find these in antique shops, flea markets, eBay, Rummage sales, and thrift shops. There are a lot of great names and I have not the time to list them all here. I would start by finding a clock that I like, then researching it. If you need to get it rebuilt, make sure they rebuild the original movement rather than replacing it with a new one. There are a lot of very poor quality mechanical clock movements available on the market today, and it would be a shame to replace a 100 year old piece of quality workmanship with a piece of disposable junk.

So, go out and pick up an heirloom this weekend!

2 thoughts on “Old Tech Friday: A Word About Old Clocks!

  1. I have the exact clock as yours. It was my grandfather’s clock and always sat on the mantel at our cottage. The base is missing as well as the top ornament. I really cherish this clock and plan on having it looked at. The sound of the clock chiming as I was growing up, still lingers in my mind.

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