How to Adjust the Time on a Pendulum Clock

Updated February 21, 2017

Pendulum clocks are antique clocks that typically include a clock with a minute and an hour hand placed above a swinging pendulum within a wooden cabinet. Pendulum clocks can vary in materials and appearance but generally have similar mechanics. If the time is wrong on your clock, the swinging of your pendulum could be off. Before you can properly adjust the time on the clock, you must make sure that the pendulum is swinging at the correct rate. You also need to make sure you adjust your clock's time so that the clock strikes at the times you want it to.

Make sure that the pendulum is swinging to the correct beat before you adjust the time. The beat of the pendulum must be set correctly for the clock to run properly, which means that the clock must be level. Tilt the clock on one side and then the other, listening to the beat of the pendulum. Continue until the "tick-tock-tick-tock" is even, and then use coins or other small objects to keep the clock level.

Reposition the crutch of the pendulum if the beat is still off. The crutch is the object with an open slot that allows the pendulum to move back and forth. Push the crutch slightly so that it is directly in the centre of the clock and positioned so that the pendulum moves the same distance to each side.

Adjust the rate to 60 seconds a minute by adjusting the pendulum bob, which is the round object near the top of the pendulum. Raise the pendulum bob to make the pendulum move faster, and lower it to make the pendulum move slower.

Set your clock to the correct time by moving the minute hand directly if the clock allows you to. Turn the minute hand until the hour hand reaches the current hour. Finish adjusting the minute hand to the correct time.

Continue moving the minute hand until the strike of the clock is corrected, which is determined by the count wheel on your clock, located at the back. Move the minute hand until you hear the clock strike. For French pendulum clocks, there is a knife-edge lifting lever on the back of the clock near the count wheel. Raise the lever 1/8 inch and release it to set the strikes at the beginning of the cycle (see Reference 1).

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