Gilbert model Altai circa 1874 Time & Strike


Wm. L. Gilbert model Altai circa 1874

Here we have a nice Wm. L. Gilbert time & strike parlor clock.  If your a historian and looking for a little more information about the Wm. Gilbert Clock Company, follow this link.

This clock needed a lot of work.  The good thing about this everything it needed was easily done. Below is the clock as it was delivered.  The case was dusty and it looked like the clock has not had some TLC in a very long time.


This clock is a Gilbert parlor clock model Altai.  I wish I was better at Wheel of Fortune to be able to figure out the 2nd letter on this label but with a little time and patience the letter is "L"!  Back to the clock,  the age of this clock according to the Antique Clock Price Guide is 1874 as verified by the label:

Examination: The next step is to remove the hands, face, and movement from the case.  Very dirty on the inside and a significant amount of wear throughout the movement. 

Click these two video links video #1 and video #2 showing the pivot hole wear.  What I am lookiing for is the amount of  "Side Shake" of the wheel pivots between the plates.  If there is too much, it needs to be fixed.  Too much play changes the interaction between the wheel teeth.  This generates friction.  If too much friction, the clock will stop.  Dirt and sticky thick oil is another friction creator.

Lots of dirt and grimmy oil in this image:
Just on the front of the movement there are 6 holes that needed rebuilding.  A closer look shows how built up the dirty oil was.  The built up oil actually made a mount around the pivot hole.
Here is a picture of the back plate.  There were 9 holes needing attention.  With this much grime it might be advisable to clean the movement then check the wear but with this clock it was easy to see these holes needing bushings.  Notice the arrow.  This is a "Rathbun" type bushing installation.  When I see this, this would be an automatic replacement doing it the right way with a bushing. After a closer look, a big chunk of brass was missing and this Rathbun Bushing was installed to correct a horrific repair failure. There was no metal left.  It was decided to leave this in place, unfortunately.   On the plus side there was a story to tell on this movement as to how this horrific repair came to be..

This next image, shows the holes needing rebuilding.  A RED marker was used to label the pivot holes needing work.  This will come off in the cleaner.  There were some "X"'s scribed in the plates from a previous repairmen.  These are now perminate marks and cannot be removed.  My method is superior than scratching the plates to mark work to be done.  My method is not permanent and the marks will come off in the ultrasonic cleaning machine.  I mark the outside first then go back and mark the inside because that it the side I will be doing the work.

Here is another picture of the hour arbor from the inside:

Mainsprings: Here is a picture of the mainsprings.  Notice that most of the spring is bunched in the inner coils. The technical term for this is "The springs are Set".  When the springs are "Set", the springs do not supply the wheel train with as much power as when the springs were in better condition.  This usually is not a problem with American time & strike clocks because the movements were over powered anyway.  However, it would be nice to get the power back to where it was when it was made.  There are two options, purchase replacement springs or stretch the springs to remove the set condition.  Modern day spring material generally are not as good at the ones made 100 years ago so the option is to stretch the spring.  A hard greasy film was on the mainsprings just like the rest of the movement.  As I was stretching the spring, I rubbed them with steal wool to clean off the gunk and hardened oil and grease that layered the spring. The outcome was a success.  Here is the picture before stretching.
I also examine the mainspring wheel clicks to see if they need repair.  These were just fine.

Pivots: All the pivots were examined to see if they were rough.  Surprising that only a couple needed polishing.  The rest were good.  



The next process is to install and fit bushings.  This is the most time consuming process of  an overhaul.  Come back soon for a complete description of how this process turned out.  The text below describes  what will be coming next.

18 pivot holes were badly warn.  These holes were repaired by reaming out the old hole and plugging the hole with a new bushing.  The new bushing was reamed so that the pivot hole fits the new hole perfectly, exactly as if it was right out of the factory.  Here is a picture of the movement, torn apart and after cleaning.  
The mainsprings are secured in clamps.  Everything was placed in the ultrasonic cleaner and all the dirt and grime removed.  The next step is assembly then the test stand.

Case: While the movement was running on the test stand the case was prepared.  This entails oiling the wood both inside and out, checking the door hinges, tightening any screws or nails, and cleaning the glass.  As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, the clock was dirty, dusty, & dry and I could tell the clock had a bright future coming up.




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