BOOKREVIEW: Brillié Electric Clocks by Robert Miles

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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Brillié Electric Clocks
by Robert H.A. Miles and Martin Ridout (Translators)


Brillié Electric Clocks: Product Catalogues – Installation and Set-up – Fault-Finding.
By Robert H.A.Miles and Martin Ridout (Translators from the French originals). Consisting of facsimile like translations of seven French language documents. Published 2007 by The Electrical Horolgy Group of the Antiquarian Horological Society, Ticehurst (United Kingdom). Paperback, 968 pages, numerous black & white illustrations, ISBN 978-0-901180-45-2, available from the from the AHS office or through www.ahsoc.demon.co.uk. UKP 10 for member, UKP 15 for nonmembers, plus postage


While not quite as well known as the competing Bulle brand electric clocks Brillié electric clock systems were a mainstay of French horology in the first half of the 20th century but were hardly sold in the English speaking world. But increased international networking of electrical horology collectors at such events as the annual Mannheim swap market has led to an increasing numbers of Brillié and other formerly exotic electric timepieces appearing outside of their traditional home markets. This in turn has fueled the demand for more technical information on these brands. For many years such knowledge was primarily passed along privately, or through specialized websites and in periodicals of very limited circulation, such as the Technical Papers of the EHG of AHS and the newsletters of the various electrical horology chapters of NAWCC. In Germany an unofficial network of enthusiasts developed which copied and recopied old catalogs and technical bulletins.

One of the very few technical monographs on a specific brand of “foreign” electric clocks available in English was the “Bulle Clock” by Robert Miles (published 1995, ISBN 0 901180 31 9. Finally now somebody has stepped up to quench this thirst for knowledge and produced another monograph in this area: The Electrical Horology Group within the AHS again took the lead, and Robert Miles again – this time supported by Martin Ridout – undertook the tedious task of translating some of the rare French language original documents.

The resulting publication is a fount of useful knowledge for the electrical clock enthusiast and a must have for any owner or repairer of a Brillié brand timekeeper. The book contains translations of a variety of undated Brillié catalogues (presumably from the 1920s), typeset with reproductions of the original illustrations to create English language “quasi-facsimiles” of the French originals. The catalogs cover electrical, stand-alone regulators, master clocks for electrical time distribution systems, slave dials, as well as auxillary apparatus such as bell controllers, marine apparatus (steamship master clocks), night-watchman clocks and what the English call “clocking-in”-clocks (and Americans call time recorders). These catalogs account for about 75% of the book. The last quarter is devoted to translations of two technical documents, one labeled “Instructions for fault finding in Brillié Brothers Electric clocks” (undated) and an apparently more recent document from the 1960s named “Brillié Instructions for Installing and Putting into Service”.
While a more in-depth corporate history and thorough technical history of the Brillié brand, a text with more analysis and more judgment, still awaits to be written we are grateful to the publishers and translators for this publication. It clearly fills a void.

Bookreview by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ September 2007
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

National Library Chair
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Life Member
NAWCC Member
Aug 25, 2000
1,489
58
48
Sussex New Jersey USA
www.hsn161.com
Country
Region
Sherm said:
Hi.is this book available from any US booksellers ?

Sherm
To the best of my knowledge no US based reseller carries the book (yet)
 

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