Understanding Beat 

All mechanical clocks are required to be 'in beat' in order to run. What does this mean? A clock which is said to be 'in beat' has an even rhythm to its tick. Understanding this is essential to antique clock owners.

There are many designs for beat setting on clocks, some require bending of the crutch, others are a friction fit or micrometer adjustment. To set your own clock up you must understand which method is used and how it is done. We can provide this information for you upon return, however all pendulum clocks can be set in beat by tilting the case or movement to lean one way or another.


The challenge of this article is to visually describe an audible property. to do this I have used an audio spectrum analyser to graph the tick of a Long-case clock. 


Image one shows the Long-case when it is in beat and working as it should. Ignoring the background noise (the shop is on a busy main road)  and focusing on the vertical spikes, Notice how they are evenly spaced. These spikes indicate every tick of the clock and have been labelled to represent what you will expect to hear.

Now in image two, the clock is out of beat. (apologies for the background noise, I believe the traffic lights had just turned green). The tick and toc are now noticeably closer together, and there is a large gap before every repetition of the cycle. Clocks will not run when out of beat unless there is a huge over-swing to the pendulum. Higher quality, better made clocks are generally less tolerant of being out of beat. All pendulum clocks will carry a very small beat error!