Grandfather clock chimes are perhaps one of the most endearing features of these grand old clocks. Hearing the much-beloved Westminster Quarters ring throughout the house is both a gentle reminder of the time as well as a great marker of regality and prestige.
However, even if you own a beautiful Howard Miller, Set Thomas or Ridgeway, things can go wrong with a grandfather clock’s chimes. If you notice that the tune is out of sync with the time or the chimes fail to function altogether, you may find one of these common culprits behind the problem:
There is no automatic chime correction system
Most grandfather clocks made in the past 50 years have devices that reset the cycle of the chimes on the hour. However, there are some older models that do not have these automatic correction devices, which means you will have to wind back the hands of the clock in fifteen-minute cycles until the chimes go back in sync. This should be enough to set the clock’s chimes back on track.
There is a problem with the clock hands
Sometimes the clock hands tend to stick to each other or to the glass on certain occasions. When this happens, the chimes will fail to function since the hands don’t get in the right position in the first place. You could gently pull apart the hands from each other, or slightly bend the offending hands towards the clock face if they get stuck on the glass.
There is a problem with the alignment of the clock
If the clock is tilted, even slightly, chances are the weights may provide imbalanced levels of power to the chimes. This will cause the chimes to either receive too little power or too much power – both will cause the chimes to fail. However, a chime receiving too much power is the greater of the two evils, as some of the components may break under the pressures placed upon them. Make sure your clock is level and see if it chimes correctly this time.
There is a problem with the weights
Any mechanical failure on this end will cause the chimes to fail, since the weights provide power to the chimes in the first place. Check to see if the matching weights for the chimes drop properly when it is time for the clock to chime. If the weights fail to fall properly, then there may be something wrong with the weights. Avoid the temptation to poke and prod inside the components. Leave it to professional repairmen to ensure that skilled eyes and hands see what’s wrong.
This last sentence also applies to any other problem you may encounter with your clock chimes. While you may identify what problems plague your grandfather clock chimes, it is best that you have a trained grandfather clock repair technician look at the clock for you. Excessive tinkering with them will only yield more damage, and this is something you especially want to avoid if you have an antique heirloom or collector’s item in your hands.