Pendulum in My Regulator Clock Does Not Swing


Regulator clocks, the time-keeping devices fitted with a pendulum, were invented in Europe in the late 18th century. By the 19th century, American manufacturers had also started producing the machines, which represented an improvement over previous clock models’ accuracy. There can be different reasons to explain why a regulator clock’s pendulum does not swing.

About the Pendulum

  • In general, a pendulum is a weight that hangs on a fixed point, from which it swings. A regulator clock’s pendulum is a rod with a weight at the end that looks like a disk or a ball. This part is linked to the machine’s mechanism, controlling how it keeps time. Under the pendulum’s weight, you'll find a nut you can turn to adjust the time.

Lack of Power

  • Some regulator clocks are powered by electricity. Without the charge, their pendulums cannot swing to keep the time. Depending on the model, even after power is restored to your clock, you may need to wind your clock. At the back of the device, you’ll find a knob to spin to get the time tracking restarted.

Need for Winding

  • If your regulator clock must be wound to function, do so before it reaches its time limit. Some pendulum clocks are designed to last 30 hours and others seven days after being fully rewound. Regular winding keeps the pendulum swinging.

Level Position

  • Pendulum clocks operate properly when they're set on level surfaces, or centered if they're hanging on a wall. The retailer Kensington Clock and Watch recommends using a bubble level to verify the clock is not tilted. If it is, prop the lower side up with a shim, or move a wall clock slightly to the right or left to correct its position.

Touching hands

  • There must be enough space for the clock’s hands to move without rubbing against each other. If they make contact, the clock's mechanism cannot move and the pendulum won't swing. As you separate the hands, verify that the one that keeps the hour doesn't touch the clock’s dial. The hands must move freely for the pendulum to swing.

Regular Maintenance

  • Lubricating oil facilitates the swinging of the pendulum. After about seven years, the oil becomes dry and concentrated with debris, which reduces its ability to promote pendulum movement. Take your regulator clock to a repair shop regularly to be cleaned and to receive a new application of oil.

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