Help Ansonia Open Escapement Assembly

clarke

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Oct 25, 2009
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Hello,

I’m an amateur who’s I’ve taken apart and reassembled a number of Ansonia movements. But never an open escapement movement.

I have an “Eton” and a “Boston” that I got in Shanghai in the early 2000’s. They’ve alway been clean and run well. But now there’s a problem.

I took the movement out of the Eaton to oil it as hasn’t been done in many years. Letting down the mainsprings, the time side spring disengaged from the anchor.

So now I assume I have to take the movement apart, which I said, I haven’t done on an open escapement before.

So the question is:

Is there any particular order for putting wheels and gears in the reassembly. I am familiar with a common Ansonia, but not this one. What should I pay attention to with the open escapement movement?

I have often receiveded good advice here so thank you in advance.

c.
 

John P

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The mainspring may be broken. You might try putting a small screwdriver into the smaller coils of the spring and gently pry up while winding the key.
You might get lucky but if not it will have to be taken apart to re bend the center coil tighter.
I think they are easier to reassemble than the standard ansonia arch top movement because the escape wheel and verge goes in after the plates are together. Take care working the escape wheel in and out .
The strike side is set up the same.

good luck
 

shutterbug

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Don't put the pallets into a cleaning agent or an ultrasonic. Just use Dawn dish washing soap on them. Other than that, things will be pretty standard. The escape wheel and pallets go in toward the end - it will make sense as you take it apart.
 

R. Croswell

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Just as the escapement parts go in last, these come out first. Be gentle. There should be two tension washers behind the center disk, don't forget these. The escape wheel teeth are easy to damage. Don't be tempted to adjust the escapement. Its run for over a hundred years and unless you replace a broken part it should not require adjustment.

If as you say the clock hasn't been oiled in many years, it is time for it to be disassembled and cleaned properly. I would not try to get the spring to "catch" without disassembling clock and correcting the reason why it came unhooked (or broke).

RC
 
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Bruce Alexander

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These escapements are easily thrown out of adjustment and are very unforgiving to the tune of a few thousandths of an inch. Be sure to follow Shutterbug's advice on cleaning. I agree with RC that the movement should be disassembled and properly serviced.

The Strike's activation and regulation set up is a little different too. The Lifting Lever is riveted to the back plate and is unusual in that the gravity assist spring attached to the count lever arbor is hooked lifting lever. In some ways it's kind of like a clothes pin in that each end of the spring is anchored to a moving part. See this link from Bangster's "Clocks hate me" Thread: Clocks hate me.

Steven Conover describes a method of reassembling these movements kind of upside down. (page 11 "How to repair 20 American Clocks") He assembles the gears into the plate without the pillars. Since the pillars have to be inserted through the mainspring loop ends, this can make it tricky not to disturb the gears which are only being held in place on one end. Edit: Steven was describing work on a Porcelain clock but I think that all of Ansonia's Open Escapement Movements are similar.

I don't assemble that way, but then I have to deal with the tricky gravity assist spring set up. Choose your poison.

Be sure to check every gear, pinion, arbor and pivot for possible damage from the mainspring failure too.

Good luck with it

Bruce
 
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clarke

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Gentlemen,

Thanks for your responses.

Bruce’s advice has led to a couple of actions and I have a few more general questions.

1. First of all. I had three of Conover’s books: Chimers, Strikers and Frenchies. I was not aware of the “...20 American…” that you mentioned and now I have it too. Thanks.

2. I followed his/your advice and put the movement together in the more familiar orientation of working from the back plate.
It was somewhat complicated getting the strike side in sync as the 4th (locking) wheel was inside the cam wheel rather than outside, which I’m accustomed to on Ansonia movements. Just a matter of tight finger squeezes. But I finally got it so your wishes of good luck prevailed.

3. I didn’t have to do something Conover suggests, but I’ll mention it in case anyone is following this thread. (Note: the following are all paraphrases).
He said one of his reasons for working from the back plate is that he could hook the spring wire from the strike levers arbor to the hook in the lifting lever, which is riveted to the back plate.
In his book “Striking Clock Repair Guide”, (in which he features the same La Normandie movement) he explains that most Ansonia movements do have the lifting lever riveted to the back plate and that if the rivet joint is clean, i.e. not sticky and swinging freely, gravity will make the lever fall and initiate the strike sequence. He said as an “extra precaution”, install the tension wire hook.
The lifting lever on my clock was free, so I didn’t see the need to fiddle with spring wires, and skipped that step.

(Again, not the subject of this thread, but in case anyone has this chore…)
There were other issues with the escape wheel arbor insertion through the front plate after the plates were together. The lantern pinion on the escape arbor has to mesh with the 2d time wheel. It’s a very tight fit and clearly as was mentioned in this thread, very delicate. So I spread the plates a bit to more gently maneuver the escape wheel rear pivot into it’s hole (in the bracket which is riveted into the inside of the front plate), and mesh with the 2d wheel teeth. Also loosening the inner porcelain face allowed a little more leeway to move the escape wheel around to angle the arbor around to make the fit.

New subject

Conover’s book says on the open escapement Ansonia La Normandie, the correct mainspring sizes are:
Time side: 5/8” x 014”x 120” and Strike side: 3 /4” x .014” x 108”.

The movement of my inquiry here is an Ansonia open escapement Eaton. I also have an open escapement Ansonia Boston which has a broken time side mainspring for which I’ll have to order a replacement.

Question:

1. Is it probable/possible/predictable that all these Ansonia open escapement movements use the same mainsprings?

2. Conover couldn’t find a time side replacement spring (5/8” x 014”x 120) in the catalogues. What size would be a suitable substitute?

3. And...The broken time side spring in my Ansonia Boston, I assume is wedged tightly inside the metal case. Do you have any advice on how to get everything out of the case without damaging the movement?

Sorry to load so much on you at one time. But I found all your advice very helpful and thought I’d push my luck with more questions.

thanks again,

c.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Hello Clarke,

Good to hear that you've been making a lot of progress so far.

if the rivet joint is clean, i.e. not sticky and swinging freely, gravity will make the lever fall and initiate the strike sequence.
In most cases I just shut up, read and try to implement what Conover advises. In rare cases, I do not. This is one case where I don't agree. The rivet joint must always be clean before you reassemble the movement. Carb. Cleaner, Kerosene, whatever is needed to clean out any gunk. Ansonia designed the movement and they went to a lot of trouble to include the gravity assist spring.

Something else totally unrelated to Ansonia is Conover's advice to remove the Geneva Stop Gears on a Seth Thomas Salem model. His reasoning is that the Strike Train will always be stopped before the Time Train requiring re-sync of the two. If that's true, why not just remove the Strike Geneva Gear and tape or secure it to the inside of the case? If testing indicates a problem, that might not be a bad approach to any Count-Wheel Time and Strike with Geneva Stops. I just hate seeing movements with missing Geneva Gears, but I suppose Conover's recommendation here could explain why it's not uncommon to see them go missing. It's a shame since they can improve time-keeping accuracy.

My 2 cents.

There were other issues with the escape wheel arbor insertion through the front plate after the plates were together.
Yeah, I agree. I like to have that set up before tightening down the plates. There's no way to coax it into place. Keep a close eye on that pivot cock by the way. It seems to get missed when lubrication/re-lubrication time rolls around. I've seen some severely worn pivots/pivot holes there.

1. Is it probable/possible/predictable that all these Ansonia open escapement movements use the same mainsprings?
I would not assume such to be true unless the movements are identical otherwise.

2. Conover couldn’t find a time side replacement spring (5/8” x 014”x 120) in the catalogues. What size would be a suitable substitute?
What did Mr. Conover recommend? The nearest off-the-shelf spring I could find was this one: 5/8" x .013" x 105" Hole End Mainspring.
As you can see it is a hole-end (can be converted to a loop end by riveting the old loop end to the modified new hole end. It's also shorter but close to the 10% maximum shortening limit so that shouldn't be significant. However, if my estimates are right the proposed replacement spring only has about 82% of the original spring's strength. (Please double-check). See this page: Clock Mainsprings If there are any minor issues with the movement's efficiency, that might become problematic towards the end of the week.

If that spring doesn't work, or if you don't want to test it, you can custom order a spring from:

Timewise (formerly Tani Engineering)
330-947-0047 email: twclock08@att.net
Larry Wise
Custom Made Mainsprings

3. And...The broken time side spring in my Ansonia Boston, I assume is wedged tightly inside the metal case. Do you have any advice on how to get everything out of the case without damaging the movement?
Luckily I've not run across this problem yet. As I recall some members have had success cutting coils with heavy duty "tin snips" or by compressing coils with long needle-nosed locking pliers and removing the entire movement, broken spring and all, that way. No doubt there are other methods that may work if you don't happen to have either of those tools handy. Do a search of the archives to see what turns up.

Regards,

Bruce
 
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clarke

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Oct 25, 2009
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Hi Bruce,
You mentioned, and I read about Conner's solution to his inability to find a replacement 5/8" x .014" x 120" mainspring.
He found the nearest off-the-shelf spring was a 5/8" x .013" x 105" Hole End Mainspring. He then took the loop-end from an old spring and riveted it to the new spring.
Question: I don't have any old springs laying around, so I can't repurpose an old loop-end. I can't find any, but do any parts houses sell just those loop-ends? I've been pouring over catalogues and there are many more hole-end springs than loop-ends. It would seem to me that providing loose loop ends and rivets would give people a lot more options to get the correct fit.
Thoughts?
Thanks.
c.
 

Bruce Alexander

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After independently searching available sizes, that's exactly what I was suggesting in #7.
If you don't have a loop end, choose the least expensive 3/8" width Loop End (or the longest available 3/8" width) Loop End and harvest the Loop End which will leave you with a Mainspring which might be used in future.

You might also ask Message Board Members if they have a suitable used throw-away loop end. Shouldn't cost much to mail/ship. I'd do so in this Thread and here:
Clock - Clock Parts Wanted

Good luck.

Edit: I meant 5/8" width, not 3/8"
 
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Bruce Alexander

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I'll check my bone yard. If I have something I'll start a private conversation with you.
 

shutterbug

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Most repair shops have a few discarded springs laying around. Check those out.
 

Bruce Alexander

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As per SB, it's a godd idea to become meet and become familiar with your local Horologists/Repair Shops.
I've got an 11/16" Loop End I can mail. Probably can be done with a "Forever Stamp".
Respond to my PM with your address if you want it.
Bruce
 

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