How to Hang Weights on Grandfather Clocks

By Brian Adler

Grandfather clocks are popular tall clocks. A pendulum regulates the time, and a system of weights supplies power to the inner gears. As each weight descends, it pulls on a chain or cable that slightly advances a toothed wheel. The wheel, in turn, moves other wheels that power the hands, dials and chimes. Grandfather clocks with chimes generally have three weights. One weight supplies power to the chime mechanism, and the other two control the time and the bells or gongs. The weights must be hung in the proper sequence in order for the clock to work correctly.

Check the bottom of the grandfather clock weights for one of three stamped letters: L, R or C. Most newer clock makers use these labels on their weights. Older clock weights often are unlabeled.

Hang the “L” weight on the hook at the bottom of the chain or cable on the left side of the clock case--the side to the viewer’s left. Hang the “R” weight on the right hook and the “C” weight on the center hook.

Hold the three weights in your hand if there are no letters stamped on the bottom. In most cases, one weight will be noticeably heavier. This is the chime weight. However, if the grandfather clock has a lyre-shaped metal pendulum that is at least 6.5 inches in diameter, there will be two heavier weights. Either of these can be used as the chime weight.

Hang the chime weight on the right hook. Place the other two weights on either of the other two hooks, unless the clock has the large, lyre-shaped pendulum. In this case, place the lightest weight on the left hook and the other on the center hook.

Tip

Always weigh the weights in your hands if the weights have handwritten letters on the bottom. The weights might have been labeled incorrectly.

Warning

Never hang the chime weight on the left chain or cable. It is too heavy and will damage the mechanism.

About the Author

Brian Adler has been writing articles on history, politics, religion, art, architecture and antiques since 2002. His writing has been published with Demand Studios, as well as in an online magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Columbia University.