Clock pivot installation

term789

Registered User
Oct 19, 2016
37
1
8
Country
Hi,

Just a general question.
In the 1800's what type of lathe did clock makers use to put the pivot into a gear/ pinion.
I have some old clocks and am amazed how this could have been done at that time not to mention doing this on a pocket watch.
I don't think I could do this now with my lathe on some of the smaller gears.
Just curious.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TempusFugit

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
12,334
2,032
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi term789,

...In the 1800's what type of lathe did clock makers use to put the pivot into a gear/ pinion...
If you mean how would the pinions have been made originally, the answer is usually from pinion wire, which was pulled through a series of draw plates to produce the pinion cross-section. The wire was cut to length and the unwanted sections of the leaves would be turned away to leave the arbor and pivots. Most of the lathes in use at the time would have been 'dead-centre' types; the smaller ones for watches were called 'turns' and the larger clock variety were called 'throws', all driven by bows or foot treadles of various kinds.

Regards,

Graham
 

Firegriff

Registered User
Feb 22, 2013
757
38
28
Country
It is amazing what pre-industrial age they could create with just basic hand tools and a simple bow lathe.
 

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,726
163
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
Hi term789,



If you mean how would the pinions have been made originally, the answer is usually from pinion wire, which was pulled through a series of draw plates to produce the pinion cross-section. The wire was cut to length and the unwanted sections of the leaves would be turned away to leave the arbor and pivots. Most of the lathes in use at the time would have been 'dead-centre' types; the smaller ones for watches were called 'turns' and the larger clock variety were called 'throws', all driven by bows or foot treadles of various kinds.

Regards,

Graham
Pinion wire was drawn...? I hadn't even considered that. I Always thought is was a long section that was milled in one setup, to make it cost efficient. The more you know!
 

karlmansson

Registered User
Apr 20, 2013
2,726
163
63
Linköping, Sweden
Country
Hi,

Just a general question.
In the 1800's what type of lathe did clock makers use to put the pivot into a gear/ pinion.
I have some old clocks and am amazed how this could have been done at that time not to mention doing this on a pocket watch.
I don't think I could do this now with my lathe on some of the smaller gears.
Just curious.
If I read the question right you are asking how the pivot (that is the bearing Surface of the Wheel assembly) was put into Place? It generally wasn't. It was, and is, an integral part of the arbor onto which the Wheel is mounted. In some cases the pinion (steel gear with 6-12 teeth) would be hollow and press fit onto the arbor. In those cases they were machined separately.

Installing a pivot into an arbor is generally something only necessary for a repair of a worn or snapped pivot.

Best regards
Karl
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,281
874
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
In regard to the use of "pinion wire" to make the pinions, arbors, and pivots. A few experts have taken the position that so called pinion wire was more of a passing repair approach and was never used in the making of clock pinions originally. While that might be difficult to prove or disprove it is certainly a wastful approach of making pinions. To draw wire requires some fairly precise plates and the process is not easy. To draw out several inches of wire and then shave off the leaves of 90% of the shaft is not good use of time or resources. What has been well documented was the use of "pinion kits" that were finished by filing to final form. These kits were generally English in origin, see photos below for some that have survived unfinished here in the US. Also, clockmaking was a well established profession in England with many specialty trades supporting the making of parts. One could buy semi-finished or finished pinions from the pinion maker, wheels from the wheelmaker, and plates from the platemaker, dials from the dialmaker, on and on. While there were clockmakers who made everything, some fair number did not make much, but they assembled and finished the work of the various specialists. The photos are from the work of Tom Spittler of Ohio and have been published in several locations including the NAWCC.

IMG_2610.JPG IMG_2607.JPG IMG_2603.JPG IMG_2609.JPG
 

Similar threads

P
Replies
1
Views
783
PAclockaddict
P
Replies
3
Views
2K
Steve Maddox
S

Forum statistics

Threads
164,878
Messages
1,434,705
Members
85,843
Latest member
Wagons
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,872
Last edit
Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff