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  1. #1

    Default Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century

    After recently purchasing what is generally referred to as a non-Savage two pin lever movement from David Penney, I have been trying to get my head around some, not all, of what I am calling non-standard English levers from the first half of the nineteenth century. I am going to exclude the Massey levers as they are well documented., but I am going to include Savage because I have the impression that some non-standard examples may have been described as being Savage due to the lack of detailed inspection. From the beginning, I must make it clear that I am in learning mode and hope this thread will help move my understanding forward, as my searches for existing documentation have not been particularly productive. If I have missed an obvious reference please enlighten me.

    To start I am going to attempt to set the scope with a preliminary list of categories with my descriptions - which may well be inadequate.


    Savage Two Pin Lever Escapement

    The impulse is given by the lever guard pin engaging a square notch in the roller on the line of centres of the level and roller. The two pins on the roller have an unlocking function only. The lever fork is wider at its base to accommodate the two unlocking pins.

    However I found this which indicates that the pins do assist in the impulse:

    “The passing space for the safety pin, instead of being formed like a crescent, is a notch into which the safety pin fits, and by the time unlocking is finished, the safety pin has been drawn into the notch and gives the first portion of the impulse. After it has left the notch, the impulse is completed by the notch of the lever striking the second small pin in the roller, which by that time reached the line of centres or nearly so.” Britten, F. J. (1894) Former Clock & Watchmakers, p.268 & Fig. 166.


    Savage Wide Jewel Lever Escapement

    As above but the two pins are replaced by a wide rectangular or elliptical cylinder impulse jewel.

    Standard Lever Escapement with Two Pins

    Operates as a standard detached lever but with two roller pins providing unlocking and impulse, and with a passing crescent rather than the square impulse notch of the Savage design. The lever fork is wider at its base to accommodate the two roller pins.

    Standard Lever with Wide Jewel

    As above but the two pins are replaced by a wide rectangular or elliptical cylinder impulse jewel.

    Standard Lever Escapement with Dovetail Jewel (Dovetail Escapement)

    The unlocking nearer the line of centres is also accomplished in what is called the anchor or dovetail escapement, in which the roller pin is wider than usual, being a jewel of dovetail form. It is open to the objection that, on account of the increased width of the impulse stone and of the lever, banking will occur with a smaller variation of the balance than with the usual form.” Britten, F. J. (1894) Former Clock & Watchmakers, p.268.

    These types are based on the descriptions I have read, on this forum, David Penney's site and in past issues of AH. Please feel free to suggest an alternative way of defining/classifying these escapements - I look forward to any comments that will help move forward my understanding.

    John

  2. #2

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    In the absence of any comments, I am going to assume that the categories and the descriptions I posted have not met with any serious objections. Subsequently, I have been working through examples. They are mostly from David Penney's site, augmented by a few examples from the forum. I have only categorised examples where I believe the description is sufficiently comprehensive/authoritative and/or clear photographs enable the type of escapement to be accurately determined.

    Here are the examples – for each I have provided a link to the source. I have references to a number of other examples that I hope to be able to add to the appropriate category.

    Savage Two Pin Lever Escapement

    ADAMS, F B St John’s Sq London #4/8151 c1840 (D Penney)
    BARBER & WHITWELL York #17514 c1815 (D Penney)
    BARRAUD & LUND Cornhill London #2/8988 c1870 (D Penney)
    BINNS 137 Strand London #1889 c1835 (D Penney)
    BIRCH, Fenchurch St, London. #1555 1858 (D Penney)
    CONNELL 83 Cheapside London #6584 c1860 (D Penney)
    DANIEL H 38 Castle Street Liverpool #1816 1815 (D Penney)
    DWERRIHOUSE CARTER & Co Berkeley Square London. #12223 c1820 (D Penney)
    EDWARDS, Jas London. #555 1818 (D Penney)
    GRIMALDE & JOHNSON, Strand, London. #6653 1824 (D Penney)
    JACKSON, Abm Castle St Liverpool #5665 1825 (D Penney)
    MARTIN BASKETT & MARTIN Cheltenham #1036 c1840 (D Penney)
    MORICE, D & W Fenchurch St, London. #5343 1817 (D Penney)
    MURRELL, John London. #1822 1821 (D Penney)
    PETERKIN, John London #511 c1820 (D Penney)
    REID & Sons, Newcastle upon Tyne. #1215 c1890 (D Penney)
    RIGBY, Jas Charing Cross, London. #4287 1825 (D Penney)
    VULLIAMY, London. Code zozm c1845 (D Penney)
    WILLIAMSON, C Royal Exchange London #1034 c1830 (D Penney)

    Savage Wide Jewel Lever Escapement

    BRACEBRIDGEs Clerkenwell London #38931 c1865 (D Penney)
    GOLDSMITHS Alliance (Limited), London. #17927 c1890 (D Penney)
    LUPTON, Clifford Cornhill London #1343 c1880 (D Penney)
    McCABE, Jas Royal Exchange London #06922 c1875 (D Penney)
    McGREGOR J M & Son, Edinburgh. #13414 c1880 (D Penney)
    TAYLOR, Chas & Son 30 Ely Place London #20527 c1860 (D Penney)

    Standard Lever Escapement with Two Pins

    CONNELL 83 Cheapside London #5849 c1850 (D Penney)
    CONNELL 83 Cheapside, London #5870 c1850 (D Penney)
    COZENS, MATTHEWS & THORPE London #94006 c1860 (D Penney)
    DENT 'Watch maker to the Queen' London #6994 1843 (Omexa)
    DEBOIS Danl London #52 c1840 (D Penney)
    EARNSHAW Thos London #7279 c1840 (D Penney)
    JOHNSON, E D 'Maker' 9 Willmington Sq London #12974 c1860 (D Penney)
    L'ANGE A 51 Cornhill London #260 c1850 (D Penney)
    MUIRHEAD, Jas & Son 90 Buchanan St Glasgow #43523 c1840 (D Penney)
    NICOLE & CAPT #2775 for Bell & Son London #14712 c1870 (D Penney)
    PARKINSON & FRODSHAM Change Alley London #999 1816 (Martin Rosen)
    SOWTER Oxford #3877 1819 (D Penney)
    WHITELAW, Jas Edinburgh #1044 c1840 (D Penney)

    Standard Lever with Wide Jewel

    BARWISE & SONS London #7794 c1820 (John Palvik)
    McGREGOR W (William, Edinburgh mid-late C18th?) (lanzhou)

    Standard Lever Escapement with Dovetail Jewel (Dovetail Escapement)

    BARRUND & LUNDS 41 Cornhill London #3/1909 c1875 (D Penney)
    BARRAUDS & LUND, 41 Cornhill, London. #2/3320 c1840 (D Penney)
    BARRAUDS Cornhill, London. #2/2472 c1830 (D Penney)
    BARRAUDS London #2/2886 c1860 (John Palvik)
    BARWISE & SONS, London #7848 1819 (D Penney)
    FRENCH, Royal Exchange, London. #21879 c1865 (D Penney)

    The number of original case dated examples is very small and to draw any chronological observations, other than the known fact that some makers of the Savage escapement, latterly, used a wide jewel rather than the two pins, would be ill-advised.

    I believe that all Savage 2 pins and all Savage wise jewels are single roller escapements. Similarly, all the examples of 2 pin standard levers that I have found are single rollers. The list of dovetail escapements includes both single and double rollers and I think double roller examples of standard levers with wide jewels may exist. I base the latter on the descriptions of these two American examples:

    ADAMS & PERRY watch movement c1876 #1585 (dweiss17)
    ADAMS & PERRY watch movement c1876 #1753 (pmwas)

    It is my hope that the post will encourage discussion and lead to the identification of further examples that can be added to the lists.

    John

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    Hi John,

    I think this is a useful piece of work, and one which might shed some light on an area that doesn't seem to have attracted the detailed examination accorded to Edward Massey.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  4. #4

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: gmorse)

    I can add a further Savage 2-pin:

    JAMES McCABE, Royal Exchange, London #14162 1833 (Martin Rosen)
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    Last edited by MartyR; 02-22-2017 at 03:32 PM.
    Martin Rosen

  5. #5

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: MartyR)

    Graham - many thanks for your encouragement.

    Martin - thank you for adding your smart Savage 2-pin and for providing the excellent photographs.

    The shape of the lever fork is of interest. It has the normal parallel sides, but the bottom rises at a gentle angle to the centre when viewed from above. In the other (few) diagrams and photographs I have seen, the bottom of the Savage forks are flat. The fork bottom of the dovetail escapements has the same feature with a more exaggerated slope. In that case it is associated with a more extreme shaped fork that widens to the bottom with non-parallel sides. As far as I can recall all the fork bases of all the other types are flat.

    Given that the in the Savage escapement the action of the pins with the fork relates almost entirely to unlocking, I would tentatively assume the shape of the bottom of the fork facilitates that part of the action - but I wonder if someone, perhaps Graham, might be able to explain what influence the shape of the bottom of the fork has.

    Martin, do you happen to know whether the two roller pins and lever pin, are gold or brass? I am inferring that the lever is steel from the colour. Is that correct?

    Incidentally, I have been reading Grossmann's 1844 'The Detatched Lever Escapement' today where he describes enhancements ascribed to Savage, viz.

    " and it seems that the inventor, George Savage, himself made a step in that direction, jewelling the notch by inserting two very small rubies in it and replacing the two unlocking pins in the roller by one broad ruby pin. Still the thin impulse pin was kept, with its liability to bending and to wear."

    This is the first reference I have found to jewels being used in the roller notch as part of the continuing development by Savage

    John

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    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    I can add another. It is a variant of the Savage with a single large jewel. It is the John Hutton version covered by his patent and used in his patent lever chronometer. The Reid example listed above from Penney's site as a Savage two pin is a Hutton single jewel variant.. The two pins are replaced by a large single jewel which also includes the impulse notch.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: Dr. Jon)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jon View Post
    I can add another. It is a variant of the Savage with a single large jewel. It is the John Hutton version covered by his patent and used in his patent lever chronometer. The Reid example listed above from Penney's site as a Savage two pin is a Hutton single jewel variant.. The two pins are replaced by a large single jewel which also includes the impulse notch.

    Dr Jon - thank-you for spotting my error. When I initially read David's description of the Reid example, I was undecided whether it should have its own category and left it, to decide later. I forgot to return to it. The Reid now sits alone as the only example of the 'Hutton Patent Lever'.

    I need to try and find more information and examples. David quotes the patent as 11,247, however, it is listed in Charles Aked's book as 11,427 dated 22.10.1846. Getting copies of UK patents, while living in France, I have found impossible in the past, but I will try again.

    Does anyone have further information they can share?

    I have also noted this in Grossman:

    "The Jewel Holler Escapement is another improvement on the two-pin lever. Its roller is made out of a solid stone, with a well-polished notch in it. The centre hole in the roller is large enough to receive a steel collet, on which it is fixed by a little shellac. This collet is fitted at a convenient height on the balance staff, and has a shoulder covering the greater part of the roller's lower surface, thus protecting it against injury. This collet carries near to its edge a broad and thin ruby pin for the unlocking. The impulse pin is the same as in the original escapement of Savage."

    This seems to be a separate example, but bearing similarities to Hutton.

    John

  8. #8

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    In my last post I mentioned the Holler escapement and commented on its resemblance to Hutton's patent. Subsequently, David Penney has confirmed that although there are differences in construction, their principles of operation are similar. Examples of both are rare.

    I should also point out that I have now seen a number of diagrams of the Savage 2-pin fork with the form displayed by Martin's McCabe, so I suspect this is far more common than I implied.

    The most comprehensive site I have found for the life of George Savage is Watch & Clock makers of Huddersfield – Here are some of his important dates from that site, together with the primary sources:

    George Savage born Howden 1730, was a weaver, served in 23 Foot 1750-57, lost use of his limbs and became a watch repairman in Huddersfield.

    1767 Baptism, George son of George Savage. [Huddersfield Parish Registers 2.10.1767]
    1787 Married at Elland, George Savage of this parish, clock maker & Hannah Whiteley, spinster, by banns. He signs. [Elland Parish Registers]
    1795 Baptism of George son of George & Hannah Savage at Highfield Chapel
    1802-c1820 working in Huddersfield with premises in Market Place and New Street
    [from various sources including trade directories, parish registers and B Loomes, Yorkshire clockmakers]
    1810 Moved to London [**]
    1816 Savage, the watchmaker of Huddersfield, has been arrested (for debt) [Radcliffe papers]
    1818 Savage opened his Montreal Business [*]
    1822 Commission of Bankrupt dated 20.1.1817 against George Savage, Huddersfield, watchmaker. Meeting at Swan Inn to make 1st & final dividend. [Leeds Mercury 26.10.1822]
    It seems likely that after this he moved to Montreal [**]
    c1855 Died.

    Research has been undertaken on the Canadian watchmaker., two published works are relevant:
    **The George Savages' family
    descendants and possible ancestors of corporal George Savage, and of George Savage, watchmaker of Huddersfield, England and Montreal, Canada
    edited by A.B. Savage.
    Published 1990 by A B Savage.
    * The house of Birks by A R George.

    Until 1816, when he was arrested for debt, his activities in Huddersfield are well documented, but subsequently, his residence and activities appear to be less clear. The suggestion is that he may have had premises in London from 1810. We know that he had an address in Clerkenwell in 1822 (see below), and it seems likely this was shortly before he moved permanently to Montreal.

    It is apparent that the achievements and contributions made by George Savage are viewed differently by various authors. Most give high praise for his 2-pin escapement on technical grounds, and it has been suggested that his work is a strong contender for the first intentional application of draw (A Treherne, AH Winter 1990). However, others fall short in praising his contribution to the development of the detached lever and suggest the possibility 'of over-emphasis of his part in it, is probably due to the fact that apart from Massey there were no serious competitor to the table roller.' (Dr Robert Kemp, The Fusee Lever Watch 1981)

    It is often quoted that in 1822, Savage was awarded a large silver medal by the Society of Arts for his invention. In many texts this statement immediately follows a description of the 2-pin escapement. The implication I have drawn, as I suspect have others, is that the award was for the 2-pin escapement. This is not the case. From the submitted diagram and accompanying description it can be seen that it is in fact what I would describe (possibly inaccurately) as a double roller with an additional impulse pallet fixed to the balance shaft.

    The letter that accompanies his submission, written from 5, St. James's Street, Clerkenwell, I find quite revealing and is possibly reflecting the way that his two-pin escapement had been received by certain sections of the trade.

    It is generally admitted by scientific practitioners in the watch trade, to be an important desideratum , to have an escapement produced that shall at once combine simplicity of principle, precision of performance, and cheapness of execution. An object that has long and much occupied my attention, and which, I persuade myself, is accomplished in the improved anchor or detached escapement herewith sent. It combines the most essential properties of the anchor, duplex, and detached. It is free from that extreme delicacy, which renders the two latter liable to be injured in the hands even of good practical workmen, and the watches may, in this respect, be repaired by persons understanding merely the first principles of the art; it is, therefore, the best article of the kind for exportation.”

    A full account of the Savage submission and accompanying letter can be found in the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce Trans Vol 40 (1822) freely available on the internet.

    Finally, I have been able to add two further examples of Savage 2-pin escapements to the list:
    PACE Cha 128 Whitechapel London #2595 1846
    WILSON J 112 Edgeware Rd London #2556 1853

    both described in The Fusee lever Watch, cited above.


    John

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    Hi John,

    George Savage's 1822 "Silver Medal" escapement bears a close resemblance to the much later "London Patent Lever" (or "Chronometer"), patented by George Morton, (patent No 2432 dated October 1857 and another patent in 1859). It has little in common with his widely known "two pin" escapements. I don't know if the "Silver Medal" was ever fitted in a practical watch.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: gmorse)

    Hi John,

    The form of the fork in Martin's McCabe, with the base of the fork angled forwards, is nothing to do directly with the unlocking pins, since they can't touch the base, (and neither can anything else). I think the purpose of that shape is to bring the impulse pin further towards the centre of the roller whilst still giving clearance to the two pins.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

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    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Matthews View Post

    Martin, do you happen to know whether the two roller pins and lever pin, are gold or brass? I am inferring that the lever is steel from the colour. Is that correct?

    I can tell you John that the pins in the McCabe are gold. The right hand one (as viewed) I put there as the existing was worn and bent; the left hand one, following careful cleaning of the assembly, I deemed satisfactory for continued use. That decision not at all influenced of course by the difficulty in manufacturing the pin

  12. #12

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    Nice job DaveyG, Regards Ray

  13. #13

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: Omexa)

    Many thanks DaveyG for confirming that Martin's pins are gold!

    I have spent a somewhat frustrating weekend trying to add Barraud watches to my lists. I have had some success with references on the forum and found Tom McIntyre's site very helpful, but trying to interpret the descriptions in Jagger's two tomes is not straightforward and I am looking for some help from forum members who have knowledge and experience of Barraud watches.

    Within Jagger's check lists, there are examples described as conversions to Savage two-pins, on balance, I think these are likely to be true Savage two pin examples, but there remains an element of doubt. In the main volume the instances of Savage are often written as “Savage” and are accompanied by a description of the impulse pin. Unfortunately this convention is not followed in the Supplement and therefore I am unsure how to interpret it. At the moment my sample of verified Barraud examples is small and only includes true savage 2-pins and dovetail escapements. Although I haven't any verified examples of Savage jewel escapements, it would be unwise to assume that they, and the other variants, do not exist. It is particularly difficult to be certain whether the examples describes as 'modified Savage' or “Savage with a trapezoidal impulse pin” are examples of the dovetail escapement or the Savage wide jewel type. There may be examples of both, but I cannot tell. My leaning is towards the majority being dovetail escapements

    Here is the list of Barraud verified examples:

    8816 1815 (
    Tom McIntyre) Savage 2-pin

    2/2472 c1830 (D Penney) dovetail
    2/2886 c1860 (John Palvik) dovetail
    2/3166 c1840 (Allan Purcell) Savage 2-pin
    2/3320 c1840 (D Penney) dovetail
    2/4171 c1840 (Tom McIntyre) Savage 2-pin
    2/8988 c1870 (D Penney) Savage 2-pin
    3/1909 c1875 (D Penney) dovetail

    and here are the 'Savage' watches from Jagger:

    List A – I think these are probably true Savage 2-pins

    Barraud's Cornhill London c1810-1820 First Series
    5939 - recased in silver pair case
    originally with verge escapement, now converted to Savage two pin lever
    Barrauds Cornhill London Second Series c1820 - c1835
    2/2941 - uncased
    Savage two-pin lever escapement might be a conversion from something else.
    Barraud & Lund Cornhill London from c1844
    2/5269 - Silver open face 1845
    ¾ plate Savage two-pin lever
    2/8149 - gold half hunter 1874 – probably recased
    ¾ plate Savage two-pin escapement.
    2/9138 - gold open face 1865
    ¾ plate true Savage two-pin escapement.

    List B - not true Savage 2-pins and probably either Savage wide jewel or dovetail escapements

    Barraud's Cornhill London c1810-1820 First Series
    7448 – recased
    lever with type sometimes called “modified Savage”. Instead of two pins, this type has jewelled impulse pin of triangular or trapezoidal form
    8905 - uncased
    “Savage” lever
    9707 – recased
    “Savage” lever, trapezoidal impulse pin
    Ilbert collection, British Museum
    9999 - pair case outer 1825, box 1819.
    the lever escapement with exceptionally large truncated-wedge shaped ruby pin
    Barraud's Cornhill Second Series c1820 - c1835
    2/1491 – gold pair cases 1822
    “Savage” lever, trapezoidal pin
    Clockmakers' Museum
    2/2018 - uncased
    lever with pincer-shaped fork, sapphire pin
    the shape of the fork is a characteristic, I believe, of the dovetail escapement
    2/2440 - gold pair cases 1830
    “Savage” (trapezoidal pin) lever escapement
    2/2710 – uncased
    “Savage” lever as earlier specimens
    Barraud's & Lund Cornhill London from c1838 when J R Lund joined the firm
    2/4173 – uncased
    “Savage” lever
    Barraud & Lund Cornhill London from c1844
    2/4619 - uncased
    “Savage” lever
    2/5493 – uncased
    “Savage” lever
    Barrauds & Lunds 41 Cornhill London c1864 onwards
    3/1256 – was gold case – now uncased
    ½ plate Savage later two pin lever, i.e. with trapezoidal pin and double roller.
    I suspect this as a dovetail escapement on the basis of comparison with the description of 3/1909 by David Penney, the only other double roller in the lists

    Can anyone offer some advice/guidance?

    John

  14. #14

    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    I have just found this in the letter section of AH Spring 1988 (David Penney editor at the time) -

    Another oddity is a Barrauds movement, re-cased, and doubtless re-scaped, with a wide jewel instead of the two pins, no 2/1212. I fondly imagined this to be a Savage until informed by one of our eminent and learned members it was in fact a Dovetail lever, acting conventionally. Are all the Barraud conversions, listed as 'modified Savage', of this kind, or is this an exception?
    Since the literature on Dovetail levers is slight, to say the least, would someone be kind enough to throw some light on the subject?
    Yours faithfully,
    M R Gibbons"

    It would seem that the problem of interpreting Jagger's descriptions has been with us for approaching 30 years.

    John

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Non-Standard English Lever Escapements from the first half Nineteenth Century (By: John Matthews)

    Hi John,

    Unfortunately the letter in question doesn't refer to the article or letter which prompted it, although the wording suggests that something previously published in the AH presumably did.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

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