Awed by fusee chain !

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Britannicus, Dec 16, 2018.

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  1. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

    Apr 26, 2016
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    I know we have all seen a fusee chain before, but I just took a moment to record this one against a mm scale and a human hair - this is from an 1867 English lever and I'm always dumbfounded at the perfection of these things - can anyone point me in the direction of a paper on how these were made ? -

    I believe that Cradely Heath in the Midlands UK was a centre for production - but how this was done n the days of candle light and hand tools I have just no idea ! Just absolutely gobsmacked to see this so perfect after 5 generations of use.

    Sun Dec 16 14-25-40.jpg
     
  2. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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  3. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Sadly on looking at it more closely the cone end of the chain seems to be lacking its hook. Wondering if I can manufacture an alternative - would this solder on ?

    Sun Dec 16 15-00-13.jpg
     
  4. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, you would be better to make the Hook and rivet it on. I think that solder would end up with Disaster. It is a pretty rough looking Chain; they are sold on eBay. Regards Ray
     
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  5. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    #5 Britannicus, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    This is really helping - I'm still finding my way around to be honest - I've never attempted a fusee before - seen plenty of examples but this is my first "hands on" - really appreciate the advice - anywhere I can find information on how I could rivet a hook on - doesn't appear to be any kind of hole at the end missing the hook can't see how i can drill it for a rivet - any advice ?

    Having looked on ebay - I saw one for £10 wit both hooks - looks decent value so will order one - but still interested in repairing this if I can

    Sun Dec 16 15-56-13.jpg
     
  6. PatH

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    #6 PatH, Dec 16, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    Hi - there has been some discussion about various fusee repair methods recently in this thread that might be helpful. It also includes some very enlightening information about fusee chains, their manufacture, etc. as well as links to other fusee repair discussions. Looks to me like it's definitely not a repair to be taken lightly. Like Ray, I'd probably be looking for a replacement - or more likely asking someone else about a replacement. That's probably the reason the few fusee movements I have are still sitting in a movement tray, admired for their beauty and innovation!
    Other PW - Fusee chain repair
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    The broken end you have is the centre link; to fit a new hook you need to punch out that rivet and leave the two outer links, which the hook fits between. The other thing you must do before attempting any repairs, is to make sure that the remaining part of the chain is actually long enough to reach the barrel when it's fully wound, with at least 1/4 turn extra, otherwise you risk breaking the chain again, because the fusee stop mechanism doesn't activate if the chain is too short. Have a read of the thread which Pat linked to.

    Ray's right, soldering is no good here!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. SKennedy

    SKennedy Registered User

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    Hi, your chain there has its fusee end hook but not the barrel end, which has an extra pointed finger.
    If you're looking for a complete replacement then you need to make sure it is the correct thickness to fit the groove in the fusee and the correct length - your broken one may be missing more than just the hook. Also it is possible in a watch where clearances are tight, that a chain with links that are too wide will get stuck between the barrel and the lower lower potence, or perhaps the first turn of the chain in the fusee groove will rub the barrel. They were made in so many sizes that it would be best to measure what you have before buying another and getting an idea of the dimensions from the seller.
     
  9. Britannicus

    Britannicus Registered User

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    Thanks for the advice - looks like I've got some work cut out for me !
     
  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Britannicus,

    A broken chain is probably the most common fault found with fusee movements, so well worth getting to grips with repairing them. Scrapped movements are often a good source, but do pay attention to Seth's cautions about choosing one with the right dimensions.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  11. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    The Black Country would be your destination Britannicus, if you wanted an anchor chain (anchor and chain for the Titanic forged there) or smaller 'general purpose' chain, but the main centre for fusee chains appears to have been Christchurch in Dorset. There were other centres but many were made in Dorset, mostly by women and children in the poorhouses. A very informative work, if you can find one, is 'The Chainmakers' by Allen White. This wee booklet was first published in 1967 but republished in 2000 by The Christchurch Local History Society.
     

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