• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

Alabaster Portico Clock with small quarter striking movement

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
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My newest clock is an alabaster portico style with a quality quarter striking movement. Unfortunately the case didn't survive its journey intact, but the damage looks to be repairable. Not sure what the best adhesive for joining alabaster is. If someone has a suggestion please let me know, I was thinking of using some epoxy 330 that I have.
The case is a mixture of alabaster and what looks like marble. The pieces that broke off look like they were joined with some kind of plaster mixture and scoring. I like the carved details.
The movement looks to me to be high quality quarter striking, possible Swiss origin. The plate are pretty thick at 3.6mm, it is 108mm across. Not sure of the run time yet.
The dial plate has notches that fit into case to stop turning while winding, otherwise I don't see any other means of the movement being secured other than a friction fit. It is kinda tight. Makes me wonder if the movement is original as the suspension unit is also a slightly different shade of brass (maybe I'm just being skeptical as it fits together nicely) and has no adjustment that I can see.
Is there a way to make this adjustable beyond an adjustable bob? If anyone has an idea, please let me know.

Are there any characteristics of the movement that help to date it? Pointing them out would be appreciated, as it would help me to learn how to make these observations myself. Based on what I think I know; offset winding arbors, silk suspension, quarter striking snail?. I would say early first half 19th century.

It looks to have been well taken care of before UPS got a hold of it. The shape of the anchor is interesting, is this what you call a tic tac escapement since it only spans a few teeth?

Also, the hands are a disaster. Anyone have tips on straightening these out? They are pretty fine. Thanks for any info and suggestions.

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zedric

NAWCC Member
Aug 8, 2012
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One sign that this is a relatively early movement is that the plates are not circular, but have a flat section. This disappears in later movements.
 

Betzel

NAWCC Member
Dec 1, 2010
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Uugh. Sorry about the damage. If there's a problem in transit, usually I find it was not packed safely enough. Was it carved from one solid piece? A fine art conservator (museum/gallery) may be able to suggest how to "properly" repair. Worth a shot, as many will advise at no cost via email. According to http://www.theindex.nawcc.org/Articles/Dean-french.pdf silk was used up to 1850. And, (though it's just a guess) versions of these had a take-up shaft to adjust rate by shortening the rope. Perhaps this means it is an earlier silk suspension? TBD.

the hands are a disaster
It may be the photo angle, but these hands seem long. Mine permit winding even if the hour hand is right over the arbor, but is not as old as yours. On finer pieces, like this, weren't the hands more ornate? They also seem soft. If you keep them (?) they should straighten out if warmed and peened gently against a clean block with a brass hammer. If they bend easily, and will harden, it might help. The bell stand and striking hammers also look unFrench, but I really like this one and am curious to see how old it is.

See what others have to say...
 

Royce

NAWCC Member
Oct 8, 2018
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Wingraham, I have a portico style alabaster clock that had significant damage and had previously been repaired with epoxy, which over time had yellowed as all epoxies will do. I disassembled the previous repairs and used Bob Smith's Inst-Cure CA which is super thin and received the following guidance from Bob Smith Industries:
"Hold the pieces tightly together so that the joint (is)sic virtually disappears, then apply the super thin to the joint. It will penetrate deep into the joint even though there appears to be no gap. Use our Un-Cure or acetone on a paper towel to remove the excess CA on the outside surface. This will give you other details:

Reparing Broken Porcelain Tea Cups and Saucers Using BSI Insta-Cure Super Glue

Hope this helps.
Royce
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
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Bextel, I dont know about the hands either but I like them, they are finely cut steel that was blued at some point. I'm going to straighten them out and reblue them. The hour hand got twisted in a circle somehow, they might be a little too big, the angle exaggerated it. I have another silk suspended movement that doesn't have an adjustor either, so maybe it was made like this. The is a couple different pieces, it looks like someone put it back together after a break at some point, they did a good job.
Thanks Royce for the tip. I will look into the stuff, I didn't know about it. That got me thinking that I should use some HXTAL that I have instead of the epoxy 330. I was saving it to do glass repair, but there's more than enough to try it here. They claim it does not yellow either, it does have a much longer cure time though.
The movement is still ticking with a pendulum that I fitted since it didn't come with one. I'm not going to try to repair the case until the claim is done with UPS. They wanted to pick it up today as part of the claim process, there's no way I'm letting it back on one of their trucks.

Thanks for the replies,

Will
 

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