Marine: Bliss Hair Spring

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Paul Regan, Oct 9, 2017.

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  1. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Can someone here tell if this hair spring is Invar? The movement appears to be a Kullberg in a John Bliss & Co #3119. The chronometer was considered "new" in a 1912 USNO Trial and was to have an Invar helical hair spring. To my eyes the spring color is brown.
    Paul
    IMG_4296.JPG IMG_4312.JPG
     
  2. burt

    burt Registered User
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    Paul,

    I think your balance is Invar and the hair spring steel. I cheated and re-looked at the U.S.N.O. document. :)
     
  3. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Thanks Burt, I believe I meant to state it that way. This balance does not look like what I would have expected for a Kullberg movement. It looks like a Guillaume style.
    Paul
     
  4. burt

    burt Registered User
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    #4 burt, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    Paul,

    Well the chronometer is Kullberg's for sure. As Dr. Charles Gillaurne discovered in January 1897 and which he patented (DRP No.100870) Nickel Steel/Invar that certainly would make sense.It's a Gillaurne balance and was probably (as the records indicate) installed or used at the time the chronometer was sent by Bliss to the U.S.N.O. for trial.. I would guess the arms are Invar and maybe the balance wheel stainless steel? Whitney called it a "brass and nickle steel" In any event, invented in 1889 and it did work eliminating middle temperature error.

    Kullberg had an excellent reputation in the manufacturing of chronometer instruments. Whitney writes "(Kullberg) was not only a very excellent maker but also a very astute student of chronometry "."His credentials as an outstanding adjuster was exemplified by the performance of his chronometers at Greenwich". Mercer seems to agree writing "one of the most brilliant and most prolific makers of chronometers and movements". The performance of your chronometer recorded at the U.S.N.O. seems to confirm their opinions.
     
  5. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    So we have a 1912 Bliss that started it's life with an Invar balance (as per the USNO Report). All the Bliss chronometers in the trial had Invar balances and many were numbered sequentially. None of the other chronometers in the Trial had Invar balances. Today this one still has an Invar balance. I believe all the Bliss units were high scorers. Does anyone know what Kullberg Invar balances of the 1912 period looked like. Does anyone believe that this is an original balance to the movement?
    Thanks, Paul
     
  6. burt

    burt Registered User
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    Paul,

    This one is hard to put down so let me fill you in on what I found. First your chronometer was according to Mercer was built by Kullberg (at least his firm as he died in 1890) and its number is even listed in his book but under John Bliss. It's on page 108 and it is in a group 308-3119. So that is fact.John Cronin states in his book Kullberg,during the period yours mas made, got his frames and parts minus the balance,escapement,mainspring and fusee chain from Joseph Prescott and Sons. So what you have in question is probably Kullberg's. Cronin goes on to state Kullberg's records have survived and each instrument he made has a separate page detailing the cost of each component and process involved in its production.So if we can locate the records there is no reason to guess. Looks like at one time or other Mercer,Kullgerg and others were making chronometers for each other complete or in part. Mercer makes notice that Kullberg made a variety of escapements ( that I mentioned in another post). What yours is probably one of those "improved" models. I looked up the Greenwich Trials of 1844-1914 and found in the time frame of your chronometer Kullberg"s firm won in 1908-1909 and 1910 with chronometer's which featured auxiliary compensation and palladium" escapements.I'm going on record that what you have is similar to these and yours is now as it was built.
     
  7. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Burt,

    A small typo, if I may point it out, the company was Joseph Preston & Sons, working from the Lancashire town of Prescot, and still in existence into the early 1950s. Their work was of the very highest quality and the frames of a great many English chronometers were originated by them.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  8. burt

    burt Registered User
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    #8 burt, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    Graham,

    Hey....that's what happens when your typing fast and don't proof your own words. Yes that's what I intended to type.
    While I have your attention (at least someones) do you know how to access Kullberg's records for Paul? They are on your side of the pond. It would be nice to see this to the end as I think I'll be done here very soon.

    burt
     
  9. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Burt,

    The records are held by the London Metropolitan Archives, and I'm investigating how to get access to them.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  10. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    #10 Paul Regan, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    Thank you Graham, I appreciate your help with this. Here is something I found in the London Metropolitan Archives.

    KULLBERG, VICTOR
    REFERENCE CODE: CLC/B/141
    SITE LOCATION
    Guildhall
    LEVEL OF DESCRIPTION
    Collection
    FORMER REFERENCE
    MS 14537- 44; 14546- 54
    DATE
    1857 - 1947
    EXTENT
    96 production units.
    SCOPE AND CONTENT
    Business archives of Victor Kullberg, watch and chronometer maker, comprising: operational and financial records, 1857-1947 (Ms 14537-42, 14546-54), and correspondence 1871-1930 (Ms 14543-4).
    CLASSIFICATION
    BUSINESSES
    ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
    Victor Kullberg was a watch and chronometer maker, of 105 Liverpool Road, Islington (before 1869 known as 12 Cloudesly Terrace).
    COPYRIGHT

    The Kullberg number would be less then 8541. I'll take my dial off tomorrow to see if there is a Kullberg serial number.
    Paul
     
  11. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Paul,

    As far as I can see, the Kullberg archives held by the LMA are only available to study by visitors in person to their site in the Guildhall Library, at present there's no online access to documents held there. The LMA website provides an index at file level of the various documents they hold. Maybe one of our London-based members could help you here.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  12. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Thanks Graham. I'll also see if they provide some sort if research service.
    Paul
     
  13. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Well, I was unsuccessful in finding a Kullberg # under the dial. There is a "JP" which I assume is for Joseph Preston. Everything is marked with #3119. The dial frame, dial, dial plate and the top plate as well as the tub and bezel all carry 3119. There is what appears to be a sail or flag with #551 crudely scribed on the back of the dial. There is also three small triangles punched in a tight circle under the dial on the top plate. See photos.
    Is there someplace else I should be looking for the Kullberg serial number?
    Thanks, Paul

    IMG_4333.JPG IMG_4331.JPG IMG_4338.JPG
     
  14. burt

    burt Registered User
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    #14 burt, Oct 14, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
    While Paul is still looking for that number I thought as one of my last posts I'd clarify one of the points I made and add another. Traditional Bliss movements if viewed placing the balance at the 6 o'clock position will show the winding arbor to the left of the balance. The ones Bliss purchased from Kullberg after approximately 1900 the winding arbor will be to the right as in Paul's example.I think that's a quick way of identifying the different makers easily and the one I used. Also just about everything I read and reviewed on the subject agrees that Kullberg made most if not all of the chronometers at that time frame for Bliss. It's also possible as a few examples exist that later, Mercer made some too.

    I was wondering why Kullberg used and to some degree very successfully at the Greenwich trials, Palladium hairsprings, and Paul's built for Bliss used steel. I though that odd until I discovered that due to the nature of Palladium being softer that steel, making adjustments more difficult (similar to the early elinvar used at Hamilton) the U.S.N.O. would not accept chronometers, during that time frame with Palladium hairsprings. As Paul's example was selected for trial and subsequent purchase it must be as marked in the document made of steel.

    Even after actual manufacturing chronometers for themselves ended the Bliss firm continued to service chronometers and continued experimenting trying to find a solution to the temperature problem affecting chronometer accuracy.

    The first photo is a traditional Bliss movement. The second is Paul's example.

    [/ATTACH] bcmvtru.jpg IMG_4297.JPG
     
  15. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Well, except for Burt the silence has been deafening on my questions in this thread so I will give everyone a break and not post anymore.
    Paul
     
  16. Tom McIntyre

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    Paul, I don't understand your reaction. I suspect the rest of the 10 readers of this thread, like me, did not think they had anything to add to the great response you got from Burt with good input from Graham.

    The style of balance with 4 short arms became the dominant style from about the 1910 time frame on. Most makers including the German and Swiss makers called it the "Integral Balance" but the first Guillaume balances had, I think, a special alloy combination that generated non-linear temperature coefficient that mirrored the linear coefficient of elasticity in the steel hairspring. Since the change in the moment of inertia of the balance goes by the square of the average diameter of the balance, the coefficient needed to be a square root effect. My limited understanding is that these balances were very difficult to make because of the metallurgy of the alloy. The hairspring characteristics were well established and easily controlled, but the balances were a real challenge. In addition to getting the alloy components right, there was a working and annealing process needed to get the desired properties.

    Elgin adopted the same design in their competition for the marine chronometer contract in WWII. Nardin was probably the major maker of the style at that time.

    I was reluctant to post this without checking it and did not have the time available to do the research to make sure the above was accurate. i am sure someone will be along to correct my errors.
     
  17. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Thank you Tom, I sincerely appreciate your input. I interpret this to mean that this style of balance in a 1912 Bliss chronometer is appropriate.
    Paul
     
  18. Tom McIntyre

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    Yes, it was appropriate for a Kullberg chronometer sold by Bliss.

    Guillaume was the genius behind the theory and development of the novel property nickel iron alloys. I think of them as the three major categories of Invar, Elinvar and Guillaume's metal. I think it is amazing that thermal expansion and thermal coefficient of elasticity were arbitrary functions in the mind of Guillaume.
     
  19. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Thanks again for your input Tom. It adds a lot to answer my questions. The movement is such a work of art, I feel privileged to own this Bliss/Kullberg. And thanks to you Burt, you always provide great information to many questions asked here.
    Now I shall make the missing lid!
    Paul
     
  20. Kinpol

    Kinpol Registered User

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    Hi, so everything starts to be clear... I have two Blisse's numbered 3111 and 3069 and both have different balances and hair springs. 3111 has the same than yours but 3069 has invar hair spring and different balance, but 3111 has steel hair spring and the same balance than yours one has...
    This is 3069
    DSCN9352.JPG
    This is from 3111
    DSCN9353.JPG
    DSCN9354.JPG
     
  21. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Thank you Kinpol for posting the very enlightening information. Your info certainly is affirmation that both balances are identical and correct. I guess I should have believed Burt earlier. In case you have not seen this I am posting a picture of the 1912 United States Naval Observatory Trial of Chronometers. You can see 3119 in it however the earliest Bliss I see is 3112. This is the first Trial of 3119 as it is noted as "new". I will see if I can find 3111 in another Trial. I do a simple Google search.
    Paul

    Bliss1912.png
     
  22. burt

    burt Registered User
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    Kinpol,

    Just one small point of order. All the hairsprings on Kullberg chronometers made for Bliss are either steel or palladium. It is the balance arm that is made of Invar. As I wrote the U.S.N.O. during the time period, we are dealing with, was not accepting chronometers made with Palladium hairsprings ( or compensated balances for that matter) for U.S. Navy service due to the fact the Palladium springs were soft and I'm guessing not resistant to the severe conditions on board ships in Navy service. I can't imagine the conditions aboard a U.S. Navy Ship of War more of a test to a marine chronometers ability to keep good rates of time, in combat and heavy sea service. I appreciate you joining in this discussion. I enjoyed Tom's input,as always, in adding to this threads worth as providing our readers, now and in the future, the best information we have to share.

    I sent Paul in a private message what I thought the Kullberg serial number of his chronometer actually is. I'll be interested in finding out just how close I can in my assessment or if I was all wet with my guess.I know he will share all what he finds out in his investigation. This is certainly what I appreciate and enjoy about chronometer collecting fellow collectors contributing in solving the history of the instruments we collect.
     
  23. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    To further what Burt has just said about Kullberg serial numbers on Bliss chronometers, I would like to ask Kinpol if he has searched for a Kullberg number on his #3111?
    This discussion is becoming very enlightening.
    Paul
     
  24. Tom McIntyre

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    The name Invar is normally used to describe the metal of the balance that does not change its dimensions with temperature. It is also used in clock pendulums for the same reason. Hairsprings are made with Elinvar, which is the material that does not change its elasticity with temperature. It does change its dimensions with temperature. If one combines an Invar balance with an Elinvar hairspring, the assembly is nearly insensitive to temperature. To compensate for the elongation of the hairspring with temperature Hamilton used an Invar cross arm to the balance with a stainless steel rim which "ovalized" slightly with the increasing temperature to compensate for the elongation of the hairspring.
     
  25. Kinpol

    Kinpol Registered User

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    I think that helpfull would be information that mine 3111 came to me from Odessa, Ukraine...
     
  26. Kinpol

    Kinpol Registered User

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    I want to add that also every part is marked with 3111 number and also is J.P. under the face...
    How looks the Kullberg's mark or number? What should I look for?
     
  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Kinpol,

    'J.P' is for the frame maker, Joseph Preston of Prescot, who supplied many of the top London chronometer makers and finishers with 'raw' movements.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  28. burt

    burt Registered User
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    I was just wondering if we are looking for a serial number that doesn't exist? Paul has dug into his pretty deep and nothing was found. Is it possible or even probable that Bliss "specified" only his serial number be affixed to the dial and chronometer movement? I think as the instrument was being made to his specification as to the balance and hair spring material he made have done just that? I have no idea how many chronometers if any are marked with two numbers (even a partial) ? Again only guessing, when a manufacture would build a chronometer for a "Nautical Optician or Retailer/Wholesaler" I think the manufacture would affix his own number for the purpose of why chronometer and watches are serialized. Many chronometers were marked on their dials and sold by people who never built them. Perhaps someone who has handled many of these pieces would comment? I can't find a reference on chronometers marked with two numbers even in part. Perhaps it's apples and oranges but I'm not aware of Hamilton marking anything they built for Ball with their numbers. I've also been looking into the Bliss/Kullberg relationship and it appears there is a pattern, of the two companies numbers,while not matching but following in numerical sequence.
     
  29. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    I sure wish I could look at the Kullberg Journals in a certain range. Off site, Burt has extrapolated that the Kullberg serial number for Bliss 3119 is around 8526. I guess a trip to the London Metropolitan Archives is in order unless someone reading this lives near it.
    Kinpol thanks for confirming your 3111 is fully marked as my 3119 and that there is no Kullberg number on it.
    Paul
     
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