555 Shanghai Clock Co

Purchased on EBay

555 Shanghai Clock Co mantle clock

Sold as “Deco Mantle Clock”

$9.99 + $25.00 shipping

Research: the only English on the clock are a few numbers and the word Shanghai. 555 seems to be the name of the clock mfg co. Online says that it became popular in Communist China, either mass produced for offices or given to newly married couples, the Internet can’t seem to agree. Everyone agree it was under the new Chairman Mao and that there was difficulty manufacturing them. Lost the reference links… drat.


Observations: has key but missing pendulum bob. Pendulum is hidden anyway. Clock face glass has an ugly rim (tin painted gold?) and hinge on it need to be replaced. Mechanism itself is great. It has one mainspring running the clock and another to chime the half hour and hours. Not running. After taking the back door off and taking out the mechanism and inspecting it intact, I think all the gears are working and lined up. I cleaned the escapement a little. Functioning gears is proven by removing the pendulum arm holding onto the escapement. Five very loud and exciting minutes later, it was unwound and easier to test. The pendulum is secured to the escapement trap by a pin (hairpin? Linchpin? Not sure) which should make the escapement trap move with the pendulum, but it’s slipping and allowing the pendulum to move without the escapement. I hope getting that secured with a new pin while make a working clock.


8/13 UUGH this clock is driving me MAD. None of the pins I got at Home Depot worked so I used super glue (bah humbug) but the escapement still won’t swing right! I spent maybe 2-3 hours adjusting the positioning of the escapement trap and it just WON’T keep swinging. It comes loose and spins like mad or it won’t spin at all. I get that the weight distribution has to be right so I have tried adding things of various weights to no avail. Plus I don’t have a ton of random small metal things (heavier than coins) lying around.

Next up: look for a new escapement to replace this one?

5 thoughts on “555 Shanghai Clock Co

  1. I thought you might like a little history from a friend in Hong Kong. I purchased a 55 antique clock in Hong Kong last year, that we believe is from the 40’s as it has English on it for the days of the week in addition to Chinese. Finding little about 555 clocks on the English Internet (except you comments here), I asked him to look into the Chinese Internet. Here is what he said:

    I started to look at some Chinese literature about the “555” brand of clock. Below is what I have got so far.

    “555” brand is a very famous and top clock brand in Shanghai,
    actually, native Shanghainese are used to call it “Three Five Brand”.
    The “555” clock was developed by China Horological manufacturer in Shanghai in 30-40s. This brand is still in the market today, but its
    good old time has passed. During 1940s. most of the domestic clocks
    could only go for 5-7 days continually after they are fully wired up.
    But Three five clock could go as much as 15 days after each time, and
    that’s why the company named the brand as Three Five (5*3=15). Because of the high-quality, the three five clock was so popular that every Shanghainese saw owning a three five clock as a real privilege.

    By the 1980s, the three five clock has become a symbol of wealthy and happy life and has become an essential items for marriage. If a new married couple couldn’t own a three five clock at their home, they would feel that the preparation of the wedding is incomplete.

    I checked on Taobao (Chinese ebay), there is still quite a few old
    three five clocks on sale. Some of them may look similar to the one
    you got but none looks as good as the one that you have.

    Like

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