Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Unpacking the "Americana" anniversary clock

Please follow these instructions when unpacking and setting up your Americana anniversary clock:

1. Carefully remove the clock from it's box. Notice that, between the base and the revolving carousel there is a round brass spacer. This spacer is attached to the base with a threaded spindle. The purpose is to apply pressure to the bottom of the pendulum, keeping it from moving during shipping.

2. Set the anniversary clock on it's base and carefully remove the glass dome and set it aside.

3. Gently hold the clock in your left hand while also carefully supporting the carousel. Notice the slotted spindle on the base of the clock.

4. While holding the clock use a small screwdriver or your fingernail to loosen (turn to the left) the slotted part of the spindle on the bottom.

5. This will lower the spacer between the pendulum and the base allowing the pendulum to turn freely. Be carefully not to over-turn the pendulum or jar it once it is free from the tightened spacer.

6. Once you set the clock back on its feet the pendulum should eventually stop swaying and settle in to a charming back-and-forth spin.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sternreiter alarm clocks

North Coast Imports is pleased to present Sternreiter's new line of mechanical alarm clocks. These charming pieces are inexpensive and sold either individually or by a box of 24. They come in five different colors, and are all metal!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What's with this shutoff switch?

One thing German manufacturers needed to clarify when building clocks was which way the shut-off switches work. Many manufacturers have tried with different kinds of markings on stickers placed near the shut-off switches. But what if these stickers come off? Or, what if they come off and are put back on upside down?

Here is an easy way to tell if your chime/cuckoo is turned off or on:

The way to tell if the shut-off switch is in the correct position is to listen for a “click” when moving the minute (larger) hand slowly clockwise past the hour or half hour. If there is a click=the shut-off is on, no click=the shut-off is off. Sometimes the sticker next to the shut-off switch can be confusing. It is best not to trust this sticker, and to go by the simple gauge (click=on, no click=off)

New problem with your young clock?

Clock movements are really very simple, when you compare them to electronics. Brass clock movements are generally not influenced by all but the most extreme static electricity, temperature fluctuations, humidity changes, or magnetic fields. Once all of a clock movement's wheels have turned 1 revolution, there is no reason why they shouldn't keep making those revolutions for at least 2 years time without service unless some physical change has come to them.

Unless it has been moved or jostled there is no reason to expect that any modern mechanical clock should develop any new problem after a week's worth of good running. If your clock stopped working properly "out of the clear blue sky," take a moment to double check the following:

1. "Is the clock hanging straight?"
Forget about how straight the clock looks on the wall. Use your ears. You should be listening for an even TICK TOCK (listen) sound. If you hear an uneven tick TOCK or TOCK tick (listen) sound, carefully tilt the clock one direction or the other. You can carefully move the bottom of the hanging clock to the right or to the left until you hear that even ticking sound.

2. Flat against the wall.
Make sure that your clock is hanging flat against the wall. There should be no space between the back of the clock and the wall. The clock needs to be hanging exactly parallellel to the wall.

3. Wind the clock fully.
Many times, clock owners will be afraid of winding a spring-wound clock too tightly. Don't be. You can't break the spring. Most mainsprings are about an inch-wide ribbon of tempered steel. Could you imagine breaking this with your own arm... by twisting it?? These springs will break under the stress of age, nothing more. Besides, there is a stop catch built into new mechanisms to provide safety.
Wind the clock until it comes to a complete stop. If you have a key, wind it until it goes no further. If there are weights, wind the clock until the weight comes all the way to the top. DO NOT LIFT the weight with your other hand. There should always be tension on the chain or cable which supports the weight. The cable won't break, you don't need to "help" it.

4. Shut-off switch
Check the shut-off switch and don't trust the markings that label that switch. Sometimes they can be confusing. If your clock is not cuckooing, try the shut-off switch in both positions regardless of what the marker says.

5. Where are your weights?
Make sure the weights are each hanging on the hooks correctly.

6. The cuckoo door
There is a little wire latch which sometimes gets in the way of the cuckoo door. Make sure that this is out of the way so that the door can open.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Some of the models provided by North Coast Imports are truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Timepieces like the WW 810 932 00 "Jean Kazes,"MM 800 702 00 "Planetarium," MM 800 703 00 "Orbitarium," MM 801 701 00 "Fusee Skeleton," and MM 800 704 00 "Congreve Rolling Ball" are costructed by artists according to their own creative drives.

We at North Coast Imports are sometimes so impressed by the fine work of certain clockmakers and invite these artisians to create one or two pieces for us. This means, not only that we at North Coast Imports have the only examples available in the U.S. but that there are only one or two examples in existance.

Some of these clocks are already sold. The MM 800 702 00 "Planetarium" is gone, as is the MM 800 703 00 "Orbitarium." If you were interested in these models we would suggest the MM 801 701 00 "Fusee Skeleton," or the MM 800 704 00 "Congreve Rolling Ball." These two clocks were made by the same clockmaker and are of similar design and quality.

It goes without saying that these clocks are instant collectors items. These fine clocks have tremendous appeal to the discerning connoiseur.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cuckoo lifting wire

Sometimes, after years of good use or a day of jostling during shipping, a cuckoo bird's tail can become lodged so that the bird stops calling. If this happens to your cuckoo clock, your bird may not be able to fit back inside its door once it is outside.

Like most care for mechanical clocks, the adjustment is easy to make if you can see what you are doing. This article should provide you with visual guides to help you adjust your clock properly. As always, if you are applying any kind of significant force STOP IMMEDIATELY. None of these simple adjustments should require any kind of real effort, and if you find that you are forcing anything you should call a clock care professional.

Below you can see a picture of the inside of a typical cuckoo clock.

Notice the placement of the bellows and whistles (the long wooden tubes to the left with the white tops) and the long wire sticking out of the top of one of the bellows. Your cuckoo clock may have one bellow and whistle on each side, rather than both on one side (as pictured). Still, there should be a wire sticking out of the top of one of the bellows.

Pictured below, you can see a closeup of the same picture showing how this wire should be underneath the tail of the cuckoo bird.

When the cuckoo door is closed the bird should be fully inside the clock case. Below you can see a picture of how the gray lifting wire (extending from the top of one of the bellows) is below and underneath the bird's tail. The tail may be resting on this wire at the closed position.

If your cuckoo is not performing its regular call, or if it is stuck outside of the clock case or wont go back into the house, your clock may have the following problem. The following picture shows the cuckoo bird's tail in the INCORRECT position.

Notice in this picture how the bird's tail is BELOW its lifting wire.

To solve this problem, you need to gently lift the cuckoo tail and move the lifting wire below the tail.

You might consider gently pushing the wire forward (away from the viewer in these pictures, towards the front of the clock) and a little down, so that the bird's tail does not slip past the wire in the up position. In other words, you can gently lift the lifting wire extending from the bellow to check that the bird's tail does not fall off and again get stuck on top of the lifting wire.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Adjustments to feeding-bird cuckoo clocks

Pay special attention to this article if you have a feeding-bird cuckoo clock, especially the models 8207 and 8307. These fine clocks may require special attention for proper care and enjoyment.

If your clock only sounds one note of the cuckoo call but otherwise runs perfectly, this article will be of great help to you. It is possible that, during shipping, the large, finely-carved, animated bird gets knocked slightly out of place. This requires a very simple adjustment.

Listen to your cuckoo call. If you only hear a "CUCK," but no "COO," the following information should help you.

The following two pictures show the outside of the clock (focusing on the feeding bird) and the inside of the clock after opening the back door to the clock. Notice the placement of the bird in this, its at-rest position.

Notice that the beak of the carved bird is down, close to the baby chicks it is feeding. Notice also that there is a corresponding wire on the inside of the clock that rests down against the floor of the clock case. This can be more easily seen in the following pictures.

If your bird is stuck upwards (its beak is up towards the sky) gently turn the bird according to the green arrows. While doing this, notice the corresponding wire (circled above in green) on the inside of the clock comes down as well. It is important that this wire should correspond to the bird. When the bird is down (as pictured) the wire should be down (as pictured).

Most likely, if your clock only sounds one note of the cuckoo call, your carved bird got itself stuck too far up and it will be a simple release to allow the carved bird to drop to its proper at-rest position.

These adjustments should be very very easy to do and no forcing should be necessary. If you are forcing in any way, be sure to call a clock specialist.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

1200, 1300, 8200

Our best-selling cuckoo clocks are IN STOCK. Order today to make sure you have a supply of the 1200, 1300, and 8200 models.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More help with cuckoo clocks

North Coast Imports is the best solution to providing cuckoo clocks of the best quality with the best service. We have 53 years experience.

We go on to prove our excellence by providing the following answers to frequently asked questions. For further reference take a look at the sketch below.

"My cuckoo calls three times and it's four o'clock." or "How can I get my cuckoo to call the correct amount of times on the hour?"

ANSWER: This is a really simple fix.
1. Slowly turn the minute hand clockwise until the clock calls. If it calls once, let it finish and then proceed until it calls again. Count the number of times the cuckoo calls.
2. Carefully move the hour hand to the correct hour according to how many calls you just heard. For example, if it chimed 3 times, move it to the 3:00 position.
3. The hour hand is a friction fit on the hour-hand cannon. Press down on the base of the hand to firmly fix it in place.
4. When setting the clock, remember not to touch the hour hand again. Just move the minute hand counterclockwise to the correct time. In other words, it is better to move the minute hand backwards until you reach the correct time. If you only move the minute hand, the hour hand will follow along slowly.

"My hour hand is always pointing to the six." or "Why won't my hour hand move?"

The hour hand simply came loose and you will have to secure it more firmly onto the hour-hand cannon. Follow the instructions above to make sure you have the hour hand pointing to the correct number.

Be sure to slide the hour hand back (towards the dial of the clock) so that it fits snuggly. It is best to use your thumbnails on the round part of the hour hand. Don't push on the tip of the hour hand as this may cause breakage.

"My cuckoo calls multiple times on the half hour and only once on the hour." or "How can I correct the way my cuckoo clock chimes?"

You will need to loosen the threaded hand nut on the end of the hand shaft. The minute hand is sandwiched between this nut and the locking nut. Carefully loosen or remove the hand nut so that you can freely move the minute hand without turning the locking nut. Turn the minute hand to a point 180 degrees ahead (or behind) and refasten the hand nut.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Care of your Castle Clocks

No matter how well merchandise is packaged, it sometimes happens that certain parts are knocked loose during shipping. Certainly during the busiest shopping time of year we have come to expect some minor mishaps with some of our products.

Rather than waste time with warranty claims and the nuisance of not having your beautiful new clock on your wall (where it belongs) take a moment to check this website or contact us at and see if you can solve the problem yourself. Much of the technology of these old-world clocks have been honed over generations so that some adjustments can be easily made by the clock novice.

If the dial of our Sternreiter Castle Clock with the 8-day weight driven mechanism was knocked loose during shipping refer to the following pictures and see if you can reattach it yourself.

The above picture is a side view of the dial of a Sternreiter Castle Clock. Here you can see how a heavy spring fits over and around the large spindle at the bottom (or 6:00 position) of the dial.

In the above picture you can see how the end of this same spindle fits into the corresponding hole in the movement plate. There is a small clip which fits around the end of the spindle to hold the dial firmly in place. Notice in the next picture how the clip fits around the end of the spindle.

Care of the quartz cuckoo clock

North Coast Imports offers a wide variety of cuckoo clocks - we even have caught up with technology in our offering of electronic, or battery powered cuckoos. These fine clocks are more in tune with modern life yet they offer the old-world charm of the originals.

If you are lucky enough to be a proud new owner of these clocks please pay careful attention to the instructions included with the clock. In addition, the following information may be helpful:

Please do not use Energizer Brand batteries. Energizer uses a plastic covering over its terminals which may impede the contact with the clock movement terminals. Try another brand.

Depending on the model you have, the pendulum leader may need to be freed before use. Pictured below is a sketch of the backside of the clock with the back piece removed.

Check and see if the pendulum leader which hangs from the fulcrum at the top of the movement is to one side. Some models have this pendulum leader secured to remain immovable during shipping. In order for your clock to run properly, this pendulum leader must hang free so that it can move from side to side.

In the picture below you can see how you have to unfasten the pendulum leader from a stationary post. Simply unclip the pendulum leader from this post.

NOTE: in some instances (depending on the type and size of clock you have) this post and clip may not be visible behind the battery pack. If you can see that the end of the pendulum leader is firmly fixed to one side, try moving it to the opposite side to allow it to move properly.

By the way, unlike mechanical clocks, the pendulum on quartz clocks is not an integral feature. Quartz clocks will work perfectly without any pendulum at all.