Backwards - Scottish long case

Michael Hancock

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Oct 5, 2020
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I have a long case clock, Scottish, ca. 1830 which has been in the family for at least 100 years.
It runs well, has had a full overhaul (around 30 years ago!) and I have got to know it fairly well. One thing that has always puzzled me is that during the winding process, the movement actually runs backwards, quite steadily and seems quite happy that way. I don't believe the movement would have any form of "maintain" feature, so I would expect it to stall during winding if one took a long time, but not to run backwards. Can anyone explain to me why this should be happening? I can post pictures of the movement if helpful. IMG_4828.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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I have a long case clock, Scottish, ca. 1830 which has been in the family for at least 100 years.
It runs well, has had a full overhaul (around 30 years ago!) and I have got to know it fairly well. One thing that has always puzzled me is that during the winding process, the movement actually runs backwards, quite steadily and seems quite happy that way. I don't believe the movement would have any form of "maintain" feature, so I would expect it to stall during winding if one took a long time, but not to run backwards. Can anyone explain to me why this should be happening? I can post pictures of the movement if helpful. View attachment 618413
I always stop any without maintaining power to rewind, lest the anchor crashes into the escape wheel.
 

Uhralt

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Weight driven pendulum clocks with a recoil (anchor) escapement can run backwards during winding because the pendulum keeps swinging and the escape wheel is powered to turn in the opposite direction. I don't think that there will be a lot of impulse given to the pendulum in the backwards mode but as long as the pendulum keeps swinging, the clock can run backwards.

Uhralt
 

oldcat61

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Dec 12, 2008
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You might want to add "Scottish longcase" to the title of your post. There are several members with at least one Scottish clock who might click on your post with more info. And please share more photos. Sue
 

novicetimekeeper

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I have a feeling your clock is later than 1830, a close up of the picture in the arch may give a clue, the style of case with the short door suggests nearer to the middle of the 19th century, and I think the picture might confirm that.
 

Michael Hancock

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Oct 5, 2020
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Weight driven pendulum clocks with a recoil (anchor) escapement can run backwards during winding because the pendulum keeps swinging and the escape wheel is powered to turn in the opposite direction. I don't think that there will be a lot of impulse given to the pendulum in the backwards mode but as long as the pendulum keeps swinging, the clock can run backwards.

Uhralt
Do you think that damage is a possibility to the escapement or should I not worry too much.?
 

Michael Hancock

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You might want to add "Scottish longcase" to the title of your post. There are several members with at least one Scottish clock who might click on your post with more info. And please share more photos. Sue
I have added the words Scottish long case as a tag but I’m not sure how to change the title of the thread as such.Thank you
 

Michael Hancock

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I have a feeling your clock is later than 1830, a close up of the picture in the arch may give a clue, the style of case with the short door suggests nearer to the middle of the 19th century, and I think the picture might confirm that.
Interesting, thank you. I will see what paperwork I have on it and I will post some more pictures of the escapement, the movement in general, decorated pendulum bob, the weights and anything else and anyone might wish to suggest.
 

novicetimekeeper

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We can't date the movement, but dial and case followed fashions.
 

oldcat61

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Interesting, thank you. I will see what paperwork I have on it and I will post some more pictures of the escapement, the movement in general, decorated pendulum bob, the weights and anything else and anyone might wish to suggest.
BTW, I love the banding on the door. More pictures for sure!
 

jmclaugh

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It appears to have a name on the dial which may help with dating. It is a typical busy and boldly painted dial that became popular from the 1830s onwards in Scotland and has the four elements at the corners. The pendulum bobs were often painted. The case is not unlike one shown in Loomes' book White Dial Clocks which is dated to around 1850 though that has a crest pediment on the top.

I have a fusee dial clock that when wound jumps backwards when deprived of power, sometimes winding will stop it. It probably doesn't do it any harm but I stop it when winding.
 
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Uhralt

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Do you think that damage is a possibility to the escapement or should I not worry too much.?
Your Scottish longcase clock has a rather robust recoil escapement. I don't think letting it run during winding will do any harm. I have two (English and Scottish) longcase clocks with similar escapements that I wind every week without stopping them since many years. So far no damage has been done. Deadbeat escapements with more delicate escape wheel teeth may be a different story. I would probably stop them during winding unless they have maintaining power.

Uhralt
 

Michael Hancock

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Just this morning I managed to find some info on the maker, Hugh McKirdy. I found the book online. There's only one reference to date, 1836, and of course it does not mean that he made this clock in that year. I was quite surprised as he was not in Britten's large book, old edition or reprint of a later edition. There was a listing in the smaller format edition, or maybe it was the list of makers from Brian Loomes (I can't remember which).
Old Scottish Clockmakers Book.jpg Hugh McKirdy, Glasgow.jpg
 

Uhralt

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Interesting paintings on dial and bob! It seems the artist seems was very proud of the modern inventions of his time: Steamboat on dial and bob, hot air balloon on dial.
Painted bobs are not unusual in Scottish clocks, but the motive is often more patriotic, like a thistle that is often seen.

Uhralt
 
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Uhralt

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Michael Hancock

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The movement is quite typical. It appears that one of the owners of the clock let it run frequently without letting it strike, based on the slide marks on the snail. Maybe he/she took the strike weight off or just didn't wind the strike side.
Uhralt
That’s really interesting. I was wondering what that damage was caused by. The clock is missing parts of the date train or may have had a different dial installed at some time because the date is totally non-functioning. Unfortunately I cannot ask my aunt or grandmother about the winding of the strike train because neither of them are around anymore!
 

Uhralt

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That’s really interesting. I was wondering what that damage was caused by. The clock is missing parts of the date train or may have had a different dial installed at some time because the date is totally non-functioning. Unfortunately I cannot ask my aunt or grandmother about the winding of the strike train because neither of them are around anymore!
The clock is missing the calendar wheel and its post. Beneath the snail is a wheel, sandwiched next to the hour wheel, that would drive the calendar wheel. One can see it looking at the side of the snail. When you count the number of teeth you will know how many teeth the calendar wheel needs to have, twice as many as the number of teeth you counted. One can also see the hole in the plate where the post was located. It may be threaded. You could have a fitting wheel made if you want the date to work again.

This wheel was sometimes removed on purpose because a jamming calendar mechanism could stop the clock.

Uhralt
 

novicetimekeeper

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I can't see if that ship is screw or paddle wheel. I suspected it was screw in the original posting which would push you to a later date than the 1830.

I wondered if it was part of the Victorian drive to celebrate technological achievement pushed by Prince Albert leading to the Great Exhibition in 1851.
 

Uhralt

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I can't see if that ship is screw or paddle wheel. I suspected it was screw in the original posting which would push you to a later date than the 1830.

I wondered if it was part of the Victorian drive to celebrate technological achievement pushed by Prince Albert leading to the Great Exhibition in 1851.
The picture on the bob shows the whole ship, with no sign of a paddle wheel. I think your suspicion is correct.

Uhralt
 

novicetimekeeper

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the very tall single stack makes me think of the very early ones like HMS Rattler built in the early 40s.
 

Michael Hancock

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The picture on the bob shows the whole ship, with no sign of a paddle wheel. I think your suspicion is correct.

Uhralt
I had no idea that my post would generate so much feedback from members who obviously "know their stuff"! Thank you. After mentioning the paddlewheel subject to my wife Cynthia, she went over to the clock, looking at the dial, and said, "sure it has a paddlewheel". Naturally, I went and took a better photo and here it is. Definitely a paddlewheel and it is interesting, as it, or the ship is named HOPE. Since I am in the brewing business, I keep seeing HOPS.
IMG_4854.jpg IMG_4854 (1).jpg
 

Michael Hancock

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Wow, how fantastic. Thank you. Will pass this on to my sisters and cousins, who will remember the image of the ship from their childhood. I have had the clock in my possession since 1989 but as mentioned earlier, remember it at my aunt’s for ten years before that and at my grandmother’s since 1950s. I do know that it was not in our family in 1897. There’s a label inside that says it was stored in London for a Capt. Ashby in 1897. Maybe this was a Scot or Englishman who came across the clock in South Africa, First Boer War and had it shipped back before the Second Boer War. My thinking is that the clock was made for the South African owners or operators of the paddle steamer Hope and remained there after the ship’s demise before being returned to the UK at the end of the century. Real speculation there! What I had not mentioned up to this point is that my family lived in Henley-on-Thames, England. I am in Canada.
Thank you to all for your help. CDEDB5A3-142D-4293-8ECA-CA03FF6353C4.jpeg
 

Michael Hancock

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