Broken Pendulum Crutch:

DeanT

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I have recently purchased a 1770's 30 hour longcase by Benjamin Smith of Alfreton to restore. It is the first time I have restored a clock so apologies for my questions. The movement is in good condition apart from the pendulum crutch which has been snapped off and is missing the bottom piece. Could someone recommend where I could find a replacement pendulum crutch and how to install? I have attached a couple of photos.

I assume the face should be re-silvered as it was probably originally silvered?

Thanks for the help,
Dean

I have attached a brief description of the clock:
A George III mahogany crossbanded oak long case clock, the 32cm circular brass dial, inscribed Benjamin Smith, Alfreton, Roman and Arabic numerals, steel hands, calendar hand, 30 hour movement `Whitehurst` movement striking on a bell, the hood with swan neck cornice, brass capped columns, rounded rectangular door to waist, fluted quarter columns, plinth base, bracket feet, 211cm high

Benjamin Smith of Alfreton the younger was the son of Benjamin Smith the elder himself born 1721 and after a decade working with his father took over the business in 1774. From the later 1760s they adopted the round brass silvered dial first pioneered by John Whitehurst FRS from 1760, and it would appear that his firm supplied the Smiths with their movements, most of them having the distinctive "pig`s ear" back cock, as with this example. Smith retired in 1807 selling the business and goodwill to John Platts. The case hood is very distinctive and also occurs in clocks of the 1770s by Bradley of Ilkeston and some later Whitehursts. These cases would seem to be the work of one particular, as yet unidentified joiner.
 

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shutterbug

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Firstly, I wouldn't touch that dial! It's in great condition for it's age and resilvering would lower it's value.

On to the question: It appears that you're missing the suspension spring too, unless you just removed it for the picture. The crutch length is not critical, and it appears that the loop has been broken off. If the metal is not brittle, and many of that age were, then a new loop can be formed in the existing piece. If it is brittle, then you'll have to find a piece of similar metal to either replace the crutch or repair the existing one (best choice). You're not likely going to find one ready made for that old timer :) The piece will extend away from the back plate, out to where the suspension hangs from the hanger, and will have a loop that the suspension spring passes through. It should not be overly loose, just tight enough to allow movement without binding.
 

Cactus50

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The suspension spring for this movement is attached to a rectangular brass block at the top of the pendulum and the loop at the end of the crutch needs to reach the center of the bras block. The best repair for this issue is to make a duplicate "loop" of steel and weld it in place. This is a common issue with these clocks as people try to set them in beat by bending the loop right of left as an adjustment.
 

shutterbug

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The suspension spring for this movement is attached to a rectangular brass block at the top of the pendulum and the loop at the end of the crutch needs to reach the center of the bras block. The best repair for this issue is to make a duplicate "loop" of steel and weld it in place. This is a common issue with these clocks as people try to set them in beat by bending the loop right of left as an adjustment.
I think Cactus is right about the position of the crutch, so disregard what I said about the length not being critical :).
 

tom427cid

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Hi all,
If I may suggest,Timesavers and Merritts both sell replacement crutches.Cut the loop off and drill a hole in the loop to match the size of the end of the existing leader and have a jewler or somebody skilled in use of a small oxy-acet torch silver solder the two pieces together.I have seen it done with soft solder,but it does not hold up well.Also if a mediun hard(that's important) solder is used there won't be an excess of heat used. I have done this numerous times with good results.
Hope this helps.
tom
 

shutterbug

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Hi all,
If I may suggest,Timesavers and Merritts both sell replacement crutches.Cut the loop off and drill a hole in the loop to match the size of the end of the existing leader and have a jewler or somebody skilled in use of a small oxy-acet torch silver solder the two pieces together.I have seen it done with soft solder,but it does not hold up well.Also if a mediun hard(that's important) solder is used there won't be an excess of heat used. I have done this numerous times with good results.
Hope this helps.
tom
Got a number, Tom? I think he'll need a different approach (attaching to the vertical piece, not the horizontal) but the method is sound. How is the part listed in Timesavers?
 

tom427cid

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Hi sb
listed as pendulum crutch-tall case.There are two pn.10537 & 29722.
For an extra $4.00 they will bend it for you! p14 new cat.
Hope this helps
tom
 

Ralph

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If you can get someone to weld the crutch repair for you, do that, instead of silver or soft solder. You can make an effectively invisible repair, if done right.


Ralph
 

Thyme

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I assume the face should be re-silvered as it was probably originally silvered?
Never assume.

Examine the dial very carefully for any traces of silver. If you find any, then it would indicate that the dial was originally silvered. If not, then it is reasonable to assume (there's that word again :rolleyes: :)) that it was never silvered.

Also do some research to find similar dials from the same period, and preferably by the same maker to see how they look. If they are not silvered, then probability suggests that yours wasn't silvered either.
 

DeanT

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Thanks so much for your responses. I took your advice and did a bit more research. I have downloaded a photo of 1) another Benjamin Smith, 2) a photo of my clock (as you will see they are virtually identical minus the centre finial) and 3) a clock by Dugmore of Derby which was apparently also made by John Whitehurst and likely the same cabinet maker. I have included photos of the 4) pendulum crutch and 5) face from Dugmore as well for reference. The Dugmore doesn't look to have been silvered. Having looked closely at the face of the Benj Smith I can't find any silver at all on the dial. 6) I also attached a photo of the dial from one of my other clocks which was made by Thomas Armstrong of Hawkshead and is circa 1778. It has an engraved silvered dial but also has a brass plate behind the dial.

The maker of the movement, John Whitehurst, must have been a very talented individual. If anyone is interested here is a brief bio.

John Whitehurst FRS was the eldest of the seven sons of Congleton (Cheshire) clockmaker John Whitehurst, and was born in 1713. He was apprenticed to his father in 1727 and in 1734 left to visit Ireland, London and other places before setting up in Derby in 1736, gaining his freedom of the Borough in September 1737. He lived at 22, Iron Gate, Derby until 1764 and thereafter at 27, Queen Street. By the late 1750s he had befriended Erasmus Darwin FRS at Lichfield and Matthew Boulton in Birmingham, and by 1764 they had formed the nucleus of the Lunar Society, a powerhouse of scientific thought and innovation which drove the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. He also worked closely with James Ferguson and Benjamin Franklin. Whitehurst was a gifted mechanician and scientist and made clocks of all descriptions, many of a very advanced type for Matthew Boulton, including barometers, pyrometers, thermometers and numerous other types of instrument. His clocks are renowned for their fine tolerances, standardized parts, simplicity and good quality materials. He pioneered the use of round flat silvered dials for long case clocks from 1760. He also pioneered the heating and ventilation of houses, factories, conservatories and hospitals, as well as pioneering the first truly modern flushing lavatories for the 2nd Duke of Newcastle at Clumber in 1774. Thereafter he also served as Stamper of the Money Weights at the Royal Mint, developed an instrument to measure 100ths of a second and wrote a thesis advocating the universal introduction of standard (and decimal) measurements derived from a pendulum, which he was lobbying for the government to adopt when he died, but which was taken over and adopted by the French after the Revolution. He also wrote a pioneering work on Vulcanology and geology, An Inquiry into the Original State and Formation of the Earth. (1776) and was elected FRS in 1778. He died at his London home in Bolt Court, in February 1788 leaving his Derby business in the hands of his nephew. His 1782 portrait by his friend Joseph Wright ARA is with John Smiths & Sons., the Derby clockmakers.

From the 1740s, Whitehurst, also a keen meteorologist, developed a scale to express barometric pressure that would be more practical than the usual 28-31 inch scale used to this day on barometers, and used it on almost all his subsequent barometers, although it failed to catch on with his successors and most other makers. In so doing he may be said to have invented the millibar a century and a half early! Whitehurst pioneered both the wheel and angle barometer as well as making a variety of stick and other types.

[Revised from Craven, M., John Whitehurst of Derby, Clockmaker & Scientist (Mayfield Books, Mayfield Staffs., 1998) 33, 108-111, 181, 246]

:)
 

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shutterbug

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Good pictures! Your number 4 shows clearly the suspension spring and crutch. It appears to me that the crutch is too high, and may have been altered for the same reason as you are experiencing. I don't think it would affect the clock too much as long as the crutch loop is properly sized though.
 

Mike Phelan

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Pic 4 looks fine, except the crutch loop has been bent - accidentally, I guess, as it will still fit in the suspension block if it is horizontal.

As for the missing loop on your clock, you only need hand tools - drill, file and saw, to make a new one from a scrap bit of steel.
Get a local garage to weld it to the existiing rod, as Ralph suggested, after taking the pallets out of the clock, of course!
 

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