• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

Does this Atmos appear damaged?

Friendofclocks

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Hello, a friend in another city said he may be able to buy a used Atmos (he saw on Craigslist) for me, involving some significant time/gas expenditure for them to examine in person. I know some of the basics about the Atmos - the operation of the torison pendulum with its notoriously delicate spring , how it's powered by the bellows, the generally quite high cost of repairs requiring a specialist, issues about acquiring replacement parts etc....

Could any of you be kind enough to advise me (your impressions deeply appreciated, nothing definitive necessary or expected of course, based on the one photo) about the pendulum locking lever. Does it appear the lever was forced into an improper position, thus likely damaging the clock? I know (in most pictures) the lever rests in a notch on the front of the base; here it appears to be wedged into the corner of the base (have no idea if it's loose or tight there etc.)

Thanks so much for any impressions or insights if this is a sign of possible/somewhat likely/very likely/certain damage, so very deeply appreciated!!

Best wishes & thanks again,
Andrew

(BTW, this photo all I have to go on as to this issue, no further info avail; in pics other aspects appear to show modest to moderate wear/scratching on case but internals fairly shiny, without apparent wear or dust or other bad signs. Question is just about that lever and how much of a red flag that would be.)

IMG_0248.jpg
 

KurtinSA

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I'm no expert...can't say as I looked at the underside of my Atmos! But I'm thinking that if it bent, loosening the slotted screw would allow the lever to be pulled off the stud. Then it could be rebent however needed. I don't know what one does about the pendulum at this point...how to keep it locked while doing the work.

Another thing might be to just grab the tip of the lever and pull it out enough to clear the base and put it back into the slot it's supposed to be in.

Hopefully more sage advice is on the way!

Kurt
 
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Friendofclocks

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I'm no expert...can't say as I looked at the underside of my Atmos! But I'm thinking that if it bent, loosening the slotted screw would allow the lever to be pulled off the stud. Then it could be rebent however needed. I don't know what one does about the pendulum at this point...how to keep it locked while doing the work.

Another thing might be to just grab the tip of the lever and pull it out enough to clear the base and put it back into the slot it's supposed to be in.

Hopefully more sage advice is on the way!

Kurt
Thanks so much for the reply, Kurt! I've never seen nor handled an Atmos clock in person, have no idea of how that lever locks/stabilizes the pendulum. Obviously my question was (far) less about aesthetic or possible annoyance aspecs of a bent lever than whether that apparently improper position is a likely sign of damage (improper stress, stretch etc) to the spring. Thanks so much for your response, and to any others who can help clarify!
 

new_hampster

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Sometimes the lever is intentionally put in this position before shipping to prevent accidental unlocking of the balance during packing/shipping. That alone does not represent a problem. The locking lever is flexible, and can be gently pulled down to put it in the notch in the base.

A more important visual check would be to look at the position of the chain where it attaches to the chain pully. The attached photo is for 528-8, which I believe is what you have. Note where the chain is pinned to the pulley. If the pin is more on the top of the pulley, it could mean the bellows is flat, or there are other problems in the winding process. With the balance locked, the mainspring should have wound to equilibrium and the pulley would be more like the photo (unless the clock has been kept in a location where the temperature does not vary enough to facilitate winding).

lcu2_L-a.jpg
 

Friendofclocks

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It looks like some had it apart and reassembled it wrong.

Ralph
Thanks so much Ralph! I fear I'm la
It looks like some had it apart and reassembled it wrong.

Ralph
Thanks Ralph! Your reply very deeply appreciated!
Sometimes the lever is intentionally put in this position before shipping to prevent accidental unlocking of the balance during packing/shipping. That alone does not represent a problem. The locking lever is flexible, and can be gently pulled down to put it in the notch in the base.

A more important visual check would be to look at the position of the chain where it attaches to the chain pully. The attached photo is for 528-8, which I believe is what you have. Note where the chain is pinned to the pulley. If the pin is more on the top of the pulley, it could mean the bellows is flat, or there are other problems in the winding process. With the balance locked, the mainspring should have wound to equilibrium and the pulley would be more like the photo (unless the clock has been kept in a location where the temperature does not vary enough to facilitate winding).

View attachment 639593
Thanks so, so much new_hampster!!!

This thread, after my year's absence, already reminds me of what I love so much about NAWCC, as well as the challenges to myself: On the former the delight of amazingly helpful and welcome info, and as to the latter, if I'm not careful I either get verbose or improperly ask questions resulting in my confusion from aspects of the replies (in this case triggering welcome but imprecise speculation on what the unexpected lever position may mean--- my fault, and the replies were still super-appreciated and welcome...)

So I'm happily going with your insight about that being a normal situation from which no inferences can be made... and your especially welcome tip about the chain and the pully.

I'll see if I can confirm anything about those matters, would have to obtain more pictures; you're wonderful new_hampster, same for Kurt and Ralph! I may or may not ultimately succeed in getting this clock, but the great help (from all) super-appreciated, as always at NAWCC!!
 

Friendofclocks

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Sometimes the lever is intentionally put in this position before shipping to prevent accidental unlocking of the balance during packing/shipping. That alone does not represent a problem. The locking lever is flexible, and can be gently pulled down to put it in the notch in the base.

A more important visual check would be to look at the position of the chain where it attaches to the chain pully. The attached photo is for 528-8, which I believe is what you have. Note where the chain is pinned to the pulley. If the pin is more on the top of the pulley, it could mean the bellows is flat, or there are other problems in the winding process. With the balance locked, the mainspring should have wound to equilibrium and the pulley would be more like the photo (unless the clock has been kept in a location where the temperature does not vary enough to facilitate winding).

View attachment 639593
 

Friendofclocks

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Thanks so much again; the tip about the pin/pulley/bellows absolutely super-appreciated!!! I'm just trying to figure out: Whereas I'd assume the whole circumference of the pulley would have little pins the chain grabs onto, you're saying there's just one pin that ideally would be more toward the side (3:00) position than the top (12)? I'll re-examine your photo where within one link I can make out a small green dot (pin?) your arrow appears to point to, with a faint red circle you also apparently drew? It's all kind of vague with my imperfect screen, but the pin must be very tiny (and only one?). I'll try to look closer at the photo I have...

Thanks so much again!
 

Friendofclocks

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Thanks so much again; the tip about the pin/pulley/bellows absolutely super-appreciated!!! I'm just trying to figure out: Whereas I'd assume the whole circumference of the pulley would have little pins the chain grabs onto, you're saying there's just one pin that ideally would be more toward the side (3:00) position than the top (12)? I'll re-examine your photo where within one link I can make out a small green dot (pin?) your arrow appears to point to, with a faint red circle you also apparently drew? It's all kind of vague with my imperfect screen, but the pin must be very tiny (and only one?). I'll try to look closer at the photo I have...

Thanks so much again!
Bad news:???: Here's a picture where I think I see what you're referring to: I see the pin and it's definitely toward the top: like between 12:45-1:15 -ish; not really at the top but nor particularly low either. Yours likes like about 5:00. On my photo clearly much closer to top. What does that mean? "Flat" indicates the bellows is shot, no gas in it? Does the pin in healthy bellows situation sit as far down as possible, or is it the case in damaged bellows situation would be all the way on top ("12")?

Any other impression of the photo, or the implication of the pin position? Based on what you said,I'm thinking likely bellows problem or otherwise not working. So upsetting!

Thanks so much for any further information, more appreciated than I can say! Kind of a dream to get an Atmos, don't think I can process the photos/instruction objectively. Pessimistic now the pin is so high, then slightly heartened it's (apparently) not all the way on top. Is it more onthe pessimism (negative prognosis) side? Thanks again so much!

IMG_0249.PNG
 

Friendofclocks

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Well, there is a learning process, as I've now compared many photos of healthy vs. "flat" Atmos clocks. Right now I'm fairly convinced this clock I've been following is in fact "flat"; as more chain would be visible on the chain if it were otherwise. So any sign it may be better thank I think (appears o me clock is dead), or have I possibly misinterpreted something? Thanks for the education, new_hampster; have I interpreted this situation correctly, appears to be a non-functioning clock? Thanks so much again!!
 

Ed O'Brien

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If it is a bellows, I suggest you get the replacement (or have the work done) by one of us with knowledge and experience, as well as the parts. I would be extremely careful of an Ebay bellows purchase, as you may get one that is either dead or somewhat undercharged.
 

Friendofclocks

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Thanks for reply Ed... btw having some trouble with the NAWCC comment posting, editing etc. just want to acknowledge and thank you for the great suggestion, probably more detail from me later. Thank you so much again!
 

shutterbug

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The locking lever can be tested by just moving it side to side and see if the pendulum locks and unlocks. If it won't lock, you don't want to ship it.
 

Friendofclocks

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The locking lever can be tested by just moving it side to side and see if the pendulum locks and unlocks. If it won't lock, you don't want to ship it.
Thanks! I was going to say: should I be assuming that the chain in the photo I posted above is a “perfect” case of evidence of the bellows damage new_hampster was taking about? I compared many photos and this seems a pretty definitive case. At first, having no experience, and a capacity for denial and wishful thinking ), I looked for ways to see the chain in my photo as maybe not so bad. But comparing to several healthy clocks I will instantly saw the difference between healthy & unhealthy in these clocks, the exact “symptom” he was referring to. Am I wrong? (Doesn’t seem likely, unfortunately.)

As to the lever, I’m obviously trusting new_hampster’s favorable interpretation that the placement of the lever that way is normal and benign...

Thanks so much Shutterbug, Ed, new_hampton et al...!
 

shutterbug

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There are several reasons that the chain would be as new suggested. In my case, I had one where the spring catch on the arbor broke off. The spring couldn't wind that way, of course. Worst case, the gas may have escaped from the coil. That would not be good. If you have the clock in hand, you can remove the coil and put it in a freezer for 30 seconds. You will easily see if it's functioning. ;)
 
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