Gilbert Oak Store Regulator, Made in 1917

Here is a Gilbert Store Regulator in an oak case, that I recently repaired. It is a time-only clock (no striking or chiming) and the movement is stamped “17” indicating that it was made in 1917. Both the front plate and rear plate have the “17” stamped on them. The clock appears complete and nearly original, but there may have been a bracket base to the case when it was new. Also, someone has outlined the outside of the dial in black.

The “A-Frame” shaped movement is attractive, and is a popular design for Gilbert’s time-only wall clock movements. This example has plates of steel, whereas most clock movements have brass plates. I’ve seen steel plates on several American mass-produced clock movements from the 1899 to 1920 timeframe. Ingraham and Waterbury (and maybe others) made them, too. It may have been to reduce the cost, or to save brass for military use during the war. This Gilbert movement (and the steel-plate Waterbury ones I’ve seen) have brass bushings set in the steel plates to carry the pivots, thus avoiding the wear-prone steel-on-steel action. Ingraham steel plate movements have the steel pivots of the gears rotating directly in holes drilled in the steel plates, and these often have extreme wear (see my post Ingraham Adrian Black Mantel Clock, 1899 for an example).

Repair job 8889. I polished the pivots, installed 8 bushings, polished the pallets and replaced the brass clickspring with steel. The cannon pinion has a split in it. It’s a small split, not affecting the gear meshing, but I cross drilled the pinion and arbor and installed a pin, to prevent the pinion from slipping on the arbor, which would make the hand set tension too loose.

The original mainspring was 0.0182 inch thick, and I replaced it with a new one 11/16 by 0.015 by 108″ inches, to reduce future wear and make the timekeeping more constant as the clock runs down during its nominal week of running (it actually runs 15 days on a winding, from fully wound until when it stops).

I lubricated the first, second and third gear pivots with 10W-60 synthetic motor oil. The fourth and fifth (escape wheel) pivots received 5W-40 synthetic motor oil. I lubricated the pallets with Vaseline. The use of synthetic motor oil is controversial in some circles, but I have excellent results with it, as have the other repair shops I know of that use it. Some have used it for over 20 years.

This clock has been in the owner’s family for years, and they are delighted to have it running like new. Antique clocks like this deserve to be restored to running order, as clocks of this charm and interest will never be made again, and they are part of our American heritage. The state of Connecticut led the world in clockmaking during the second half of the 19th century.

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One comment

  1. Do _not_ lose that hand nut. Gilbert and Sessions seem to have traveled to Borneo to find that thread, and I have yet to find any replacement that works.

    Except that they’re hideous, there nothing wrong with steel plates provided they’re equipped with riveted-in brass ‘bushings’ or whatever they are called.

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