The 

Clock Maker 

at Gwathmey

Repair and Restoration of Antique and Quality Clocks 

 

The Clock Maker at Gwathmey is a business owned and operated by  Mark Pellmann, known by many in the Central Virginia area who have had one or more clocks repaired or restored by him since he began working as a Master Clockmaker in November of 1982. Prior to coming to Virginia, Mark had his own repair shop in a small town in western Pennsylvania. The Clock Maker at Gwathmey in Ashland, Virginia (approximately 15 miles north of Richmond) is Mark's personalized clock repair and restoration shop. 

Mark graduated from Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1980 with diplomas for Watchmaking and Repair, Hand Engraving, and Clockmaking and Repair. In May 1982 he earned the title of Certified Master Clockmaker (CMC) from the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI). In order to qualify for the title of CMC, a clockmaker must pass both written and practical exams, as well as prove his ability through a series of practical tests involving the restoration of a Westminster chime clock and making a working replacement escapement for a clock.  

While at Bowman Technical School, Mark spent months making a precision regulator clock mechanism. This involved making the plates, pillars, and screws; cutting gears and pinions to fit; making the barrel, ratchets, springs, hands, bracket, and invar temperature compensated pendulum; and drawing and then making the escapement. In short, making an entire clock using steel stock, brass stock and rough brass castings. All this went into making a mechanical clock accurate to better than two seconds a month.

Over the past 20 years Mark has been working to perfect his craft as a clockmaker. He works on carriage clocks, ship's clocks and other clocks with hairsprings and balance escapements; French and Viennese clocks with their fine pivots and gearings; antique English spring driven clocks with fusees and complicated designs that sometimes include automation; and all forms of the modern Grandfather clocks. His favorite is the repair and restoration of the weight driven antique long case (circa 1600-1850) and the complicated tubular bell clocks of the late 1800's and early 1900's, all of which are commonly referred to as "grandfather" clocks.  

Related services that are provided by The Clock Maker at Gwathmey include case work, dial repair and restoration, and music box and mercury barometer repair. Other services include service calls in your home, pick up and delivery of repairs and restorations of large clocks, and moving of large or delicate clocks from one location to another. 

 Mark is actively involved in several major horological institutions. He is a member of the Horological Association of Virginia and served as its president from 1997 to 1999. He is a member of The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute and has represented Virginia's clock and watch makers at its national meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is an associate member of the British Horological Institute and a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and the Antiquarian Horological Association.

The Clock Maker at Gwathmey is pleased to offer his professional services to those in need of fine clock repairs, restoration work and parts fabrication. From the smallest of French mechanisms to large tower clocks, his experience will serve you well. If you're searching for quality, integrity, and craftsmanship, he will be able to assist you with the appropriate professionally done service. 

Inquiries about professional services can be made at (804)752-6633 between the hours of 8:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.

On the left  are three fine examples of antique American long case clocks. The work done to these clocks varied with their condition.  Dial and case work was done as needed.  

 

Bracket clocks are probably the earliest form of spring driven clocks.  They usually have very heavy barrel encased mainsprings connecting to the gear train using chains or gut cables running to fusees.  Fusees are devices used to equalize the mainspring power to the gear train whether the mainspring is wound up tight or winding down.  The movements are very heavy and as large or larger than most long case movements.  In general, these clocks require a more complex repair because of the archaic escapements and complicated striking systems used in most of them as well as the complications added by the use of fusees and mainsprings.  The photograph at the bottom left is a side view of the antique London fusee movement from the bracket clock pictured directly above.

 

 

     

 

                 

       

 

This circa 1712-36 brass dial had been polished many times until all silvering and brightness of the brass had been lost.  The green verdigris in minute cracks and crevices of the dial was evidence of corrosive polishing compounds left behind that would have continued to cause damage.  By dissembling the dial, cleaning and polishing various parts, repairing damaged parts, replacing black wax, re-silvering where appropriate, and lacquering to maintain its restored luster, this dial now compliments its case by looking as it should and did look almost 300 years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The clock pictured on the right is an exceptional example of a French mantle clock.  French clock movements are usually round,  have light weight strength mainsprings and tiny pivots, and are built to very precise standards.  Because of their fine construction, they can be perceived as finicky, but when in good order and set up properly, they will give very satisfactory service.  As evidenced by both clocks pictured, cases are finely made and often very elegant.

 

Before and after photographs of this attractive Scottish long case dial show a fine example of  painted dial restoration.  Cleaning, stabilizing loose paint, replacing worn black lettering, infilling missing background, and replacing gold leaf or decorative painting are appropriate conservation and restoration solutions available to dials in poor condition.