Brewster & Ingraham wall clock

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Jmeechie, Sep 25, 2019.

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  1. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Hi Folks,
    It’s been a while since I’ve posted and thought I’d share my latest acquisition. It’s off of EBay and I felt sorry for this somewhat rare clock. Check out the damage someone(s) have done over the years!
    Things needing corrected:
    1. Straighten lower plate from being beaten!
    2. Repair winding arbor pivot
    3. Remove metal roofing paint from case / glass seal and re putty
    4. Make filler board for all the router damage to back board
    5. Overhaul movement, install 1” mainspring, polish pivots, bush, replace pinion wire and replace verge along with suspension
    I’ll post updates as I go along.
    Cheers

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  2. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I have always been fond of these B&I gallery timepieces. The movements were designed to use 1" wide brass springs. A 1" wide steel spring will overpower the movement and will result in unnecessary wear etc. These timepieces were made just as American made steel springs became available at somewhat reasonable prices, so they are found with both original brass and original steel springs, but those steel springs are 3/4" and even they tend to provide too much power (the brass is usually a bit soft and the great wheel teeth tend to wear quickly) Pictured is one I have here at the moment, it is slightly earlier than your timepiece as it does not have the embossed detail on the front plate. I believe the embossing was added to provide additional strength to the front plate needed when B&I implemented the steel springs. But, they are found with brass springs with embossed front plates too, so that may not be entirely correct thinking on my part.

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  3. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the input, yes I’m trying to decide how to handle the mainspring issue, as I can’t quite decide if it originally had a 3/4” steel or 1” brass mainspring installed? The one pillar has been drilled to prevent the spring from creeping due to the large, additional 1/4” gap, with the narrower spring. Yes, modern steel springs are far more stronger than older steel ones and brass springs were much more weaker and difficult to gauge a steel replacement. The current spring is 0.018” x 3/4” x 96” and I’m planning on going with a 0.016 strength in 3/4”. My dilemma is what they may have used as a filler to prevent the spring from twisting/distorting? The winding arbor hook is off centre leading me to believe the narrower spring to be original (see pictures).
    Also forgot to post a picture of the pendulum upgrade! Gotta love human ingenuity!

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  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I have seen the drilled hole in the pillar in the steel spring versions I have had. I have not seen it in the brass spring versions, but I have not pulled the movements apart in all of them so I guess they could have the hole but it is masked by the wider spring. I guess I have had maybe 10 of these over the years and have repaired or restored a few more. I have not seen any of them with any way of keeping the springs flat other than one that had a couple of coat hanger like wires affixed to the frame to limit spring migration. As I recall it was well done and looked like a factory solution more than a later repair.

    The wire through the post can be seen in two of these photos. Then there is the cast iron backplate version, rare I think, as well as the yet later version with shaped punched front where the punched out parts were used as key handles. B&I, E.C. Brewster, and Kirk were working in concert, to what degree is not clear, on these gallery timepiece movements. I think the cast backplate version is Kirks work. These were popular clocks. We can assume that given the number of survivors we have today. Yet, they show a lot of experimentation in a fairly short period of time.

    brewster and ingraham gallery key mvt.jpg brewster x 3.jpg 11998_B.jpg 7330_B.jpg
     
  5. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    I’d love to have seen the (wire/coat hanger like) rig that you’re talking about. I do agree, these early clocks in my opinion were ever evolving, and sometimes utterly failing with upgrades & modification trying to improve quality and ease of assembly along with reducing overheads. The rib design on the front plate definitely was for strength and to aid in distortion. Early brass is much softer than much later clocks I’ve noticed, implying to me a much purer, or lack of copper or zinc. I always think to myself when restoring a clock for me or a customer, did the person making this movement/clock envision this clock will still be ticking away 150 years from now!
    I really appreciate all the pictures and information you’ve provided. It has certainly helped me make much more sound decisions.
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks for sharing and resurrecting a type of clock that I really love! Sad what people do to these wonderful old clocks that are really historic...and these days with the market depressed, affordable to one like yourself who appreciates them!

    I absolutely concur with the excellent info Jim has provided.

    I will just throw in that sometimes one can come across basically the same type of gallery clocks but with the dial signature and label of E&A Ingraham. Manross made a similar gallery clock and I have one labelled by Terry and Andrews with a Boston retailer on the dial.

    As you know, these galleries came in a variety of sizes from miniatures (the mini's always had convex METAL dials and steel springs with a hole drilled in the post through which a pin was passed to keep the spring in place as it unwound) to a large size.

    Not meaning to hijack, but please permit me to post a few examples and consolidate the info from some previous MB postings (search the MB for more info):

    Here's the mini next to the largest one they made (note the wall clocks flanking it for a sense of size):

    Brewster & I 1.JPG Brewster & I 2.JPG

    Sometimes the latter comes without a convex glass.

    Here's some of the more intermediate sized ones:

    Brewster&1 4.JPG Brewster &I 3.JPG Brewster & I 5.JPG

    The one in the center pic is a larger one that never had a glass. Dials are often pretty beat up on those. The Terry and Andrews labelled one is on the viewer's upper right in the last pic. The flat wooden dial is signed "Pond and Barnes/Boston". Flat dials are found less often than convex.

    Note the open spade hands used on all but the mini and the hour hand of the one without a bezel glass. Walnut and gilt cases (the gilt did not cover the whole case, the middle band was white or black painted) were typical. Sometimes one finds an ornate cast iron case.

    Besides the Bulletin, there are 2 nice publications with info about these clocks. Tran's Ingraham book has a good section on the earlier Ingraham partnership clocks and "Handbook of Clocks Produced by Charles Kirk, Elisha C. Brewster and Brewster and Ingrahams…" and so on by Ultsch and Cowan. It's actually a little soft cover book but if it's length was proportional to its wordy title, it would be longer than War and Peace.

    Good luck with your restoration and let us know how it turns out.

    RM
     
  7. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Glad to be of assistance. Regards American brass making, I was not aware of the history (or lack of) of brass making here, until fairly recently. It was surprising to learn that we had only limited production of brass stateside until about 1830. Brass used before 1800 +/- a bit for clockmaking, and as used for everything else was either remelted from other old brass or was imported, usually from England. Brass making technology was introduced to Connecticut by Abel and Levi Porter in the early 19th century. The Porters introduced the technology to make brass by the direct melting of copper and zinc, a technology invented twenty years earlier in England. In 1802, the Porters and the Grilley brothers organized Abel Porter & Company in Waterbury Connecticut. A plant was set up to produce brass using the direct fusion method. The copper was obtained by melting old stills, teakettles, and other scrap. The zinc was imported from England. The copper and zinc were melted together, and the brass was cast into ingots and rolled into sheets. At first, the rolls in a tiny iron mill in Litchfield were used to roll the sheets. Then the button manufacturers rolled their own sheet. Brass buttons were the first products of the American brass industry in Connecticut.
     
  8. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Just curious, any chance you got any old parts laying around? I’m going to post under parts needed, looking for an old backboard, dial and hands. Figured I’d give it a shot and thought I’d ask you as well.
     
  9. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Hi RM,
    Great picks and info you’ve posted and much appreciated. Yes, I’ve seen several different versions of these clocks but honestly only dealt with the later ones , late 1800’s-1900’s with the more common movements. I will certainly be keeping all updated as I move forward with my restoration.
    Cheers
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Sorry, nothing for one of these here. I am in need of a set of hands for the one I have at the moment.
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks for your kind comment.

    I also have one of the later galleries in a gilt case. Those later ones retain the use of a pendulum that is mounted from the back of the case and behind the movement. I was happy to find it.

    I would love to find a full sized corrugated case Ingraham gallery. I have a miniature version which is supposed to be less common.

    I found a pair of the correct period hands for one of my B&I gallery clocks on eBay. Bad news: it took several years for them to turn up and they weren't cheap. But they fit the clock perfectly such that they might have been there originally. The clock was so original otherwise it was worth it. So keep a look out.

    Good luck.

    RM
     
  12. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Yes, America’s were exporting all the raw materials, and importing the manufactured materials/stock, brass, steel, etc to manufacture the finished goods. The main reason clock makers reverted here to wooden gears and plates as there was limited and expensive brass and steel on hand.

    On a separate note, would you by chance have any side views of the dial on these clocks? I’m trying to determine if there was a backing / mounting board attached to the back of the dial? I realize they made changes and modifications as they went along in production.

    Again, gentlemen, thanks for all your input,
    Cheers,
    James
     
  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #13 Jim DuBois, Sep 27, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
    "On a separate note, would you by chance have any side views of the dial on these clocks?"
    Here is what I have at the moment. Just the back side, no side views, I guess I can take a photo of the side of one I have in the shop if these don't tell you what you need to know?

    I have had one of these gallery clocks with an original zinc dial, but I have no photos of that on file. Guess at the time I didn't think it important enough to save a photo? But that was back in the day when every photo cost $.50 and it took a week to get developed photos back from processing.

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  14. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Hi Jim,
    I’ve been pondering your comment on the wire spring retainer and noticed my clocks one post (the one the spring’s loop goes on) has 2 holes drilled and thought I’d give it a shot at making the wire spring retainer you mentioned seeing. What’s your thoughts on similarity? Oh and RM if you’ve seen something by all means let me know your thoughts as well.
    Cheers,
    James
     
  15. senhalls

    senhalls Registered User

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    I watch this thread with great interest because I have a Terry & Andrews gallery with wood dial and brass embossed case and brass plates "east west movement". I am sure it has the wrong spring, perhaps it was originally brass.What is best to use today, 3/4 X .016 steel ? Thank you..........
     
  16. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Hi Senhalls,
    It would be great if you could post pictures of your clock. I’m not sure if you are referring to your clock or mine concerning the mainspring. As both Jim and RM have previously commented the early movements definitely came with 1” brass springs. The later movements seem to have came with 3/4” steel springs as it looks like mine did. I just realized my last set of pictures didn’t load! I will update shortly with my pictures and if you look at the post there’s 2 holes in the 1 pillar post and the winding arbor hook is off centre which will allow for a 3/4” wide spring to hook but not a 1”. Thanks for your comments.
    Cheers,
    James
     
  17. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    Hi all,
    I just realized my post yesterday didn’t update the pictures I took of my thoughts on the mainspring retainer wire I mocked up to see if it looked familiar. I enlarged the second picture to show the 2 holes which I’m guessing 1 are original and 2 implies a retaining pin to hold something like a spring retainer?
    Cheers,
    James

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  18. Jmeechie

    Jmeechie Registered User
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    #18 Jmeechie, Oct 19, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    Update on progress,
    I’ve overhauled the movement, replaced the mainspring (.016 x 3/4 x 96”), polished pivots, replaced worn/damaged bushings, replaced worn lantern pinion wires, replaced worn damaged pallet, made and fitted spacer to winding arbor, and straightened the bent/altered plates along with tidying up the escape wheel teeth. I’m now in the process of making and fitting a piece of wood into the routered out area in the back board. I believe this was done when the convex glass was replaced with a flat glass and of course the hand shaft and hands hit the glass! I’m hoping to find a good picture of the label on the back board so I can copy and print to attach.
    Next I’ll be making the missing mounting block, cleaning and re-gluing the case joints that have sprung, fitting a correct convex glass (not too thick and heavy), making some dowels to plug the oversized screw holes!
    Oh, I didn’t do all the punching damage to the plates/bushings!

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