1. First, determine what kind of grandfather clock you have. In order to figure out the proper placement of your grandfather clock weights, you’ll need to determine the type of grandfather clock you have. Generally speaking, grandfather clocks can be classified as either modern or antique. For example, all grandfather clocks manufactured by Howard Miller, Sligh, or Ridgeway are considered “modern” because they were all manufactured within the last 50 years or so, and were fitted with modern German movements made by the Hermle, Urgos, or Kieninger companies. Be aware that the following weight placement rules are for “modern” grandfather clocks, and may not be the same for antique American, English, or Continental grandfather (tall or longcase) clocks!
2. What is the purpose of the grandfather clock weights? Each weight provides the motive power necessary to operate the time, chime and strike trains of your grandfather clock. The weights simply store the energy that you exert when you either pull the chain or crank the lever, that raise up the weights. You are truly the power behind your grandfather!
3. My grandfather clock weights look the same, so how can they be different? While the brass weight shells of your grandfather clock are equal in length and diameter, and may look the same, they all contain a lead or steel insert which may be of different heights. The resulting difference in weight means that you must be carefull when hanging your grandfather clock weights.
4. Will improper weight placement adversely effect my grandfather clock? Yes, because the time, chime, and strike trains of your grandfather clock were designed by the manufacturer to be powered by a weight of an exact number of lbs. For example, if you hang a weight that is too light on the chime train, the chimes will run slow, or perhaps won’t run at all! On the other hand, if you hang a weight that is too heavy on the strike train, the strike will run too fast, and result in movement damage and eventual failure!
5. Help! I have no idea which weight goes where on my grandfather clock! Don’t feel alone, because many grandfather clock repair persons don’t know for sure themselves! Grandfather clock repair secret: Look on the bottom of each weight. If you luck out, you will find a letter of the alphabet printed, or stamped on the weight. The letter “R” means the weight belongs on the right side. The letter ” L” means the weight belongs on the left side. And the letter “C” means the weight belongs in the center. Remember, it’s right or left as you look at your grandfather clock, not right or left from your grandfather’s view. You can now hang your grandfather clock weights correctly, but be skeptical if you find hand written letters on the bottom of your weights. They may or may not be correct, so I would suggest that you read on just to make sure you get it right!
6. The “general rule” to use when hanging unmarked grandfather clock weights. If your grandfather clock is equipped with a wood stick pendulum, hang the heaviest weight on the right side chime train as it needs more power to run all of the independant chime hammers. The other two equal and lighter weights should be placed in any order on the left side strike train and center time train. It seems there is always an exception to the rule, and here it is: If your grandfather clock has a lyre pendulum with a pendulum bob of 6.5 inches in diameter or more, then place the lightest weight on the left side strike train, and the other two equal heavier weights on the center time train and the right side chime train in any order. Remember, it’s right or left from your view towards the grandfather. Your grandfather clock repair problem of mixed up and out of order weights should now be solved!