Edward East watch - London, end 17th century

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by rstl99, Apr 23, 2018.

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  1. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    #201 rstl99, Feb 15, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
    Again, a photo of the drive train from my East watch, set up in a line with the pinions lined up with the driving teeth of the previous wheel.
    Also, a couple of photos showing the potences under the top plate.
    You can see that the potence "floats" above the dial plate, and does not make contact with the dial plate, as Baillie shows in the early fusee watch diagram. In other words, it need not be as long as it is in this watch, the maker could have made it shorter, and have a shorter verge staff, and also a smaller escape (crown) wheel. But he didn't.

    In describing the earlier fusee movement, Baillie writes: "the fuzee shown has nine turns of its groove, so that it can only make nine turns to the three or three and a half turns of the mainspring, a multiplication of three or less. ... The fuzee watch has to have a higher multiplication in the rest of its train to go even half as long [as the stackfreed movement, which he says went for 27 hours]. For this reason, the escape wheel was generally larger in diameter, as shown, and its bracket was frequently fixed to both the plates."

    In my view, this East watch shows elements of transitioning between the two types of watches diagrammed by Baillie. It has elements of the earlier fusee movement: taller fusee with more turns of its groove, larger diameter escape (crown) wheel. But like the later fusee diagram, it has the extra wheel which Baillie explained "enabled the watch to go for about thirty hours with fewer turns of the fuzee, and a smaller escape wheel". Except in the case of this watch, the fusee retains the higher number of turns, and the escape wheel retains a larger diameter. Unlike the earlier diagram, this East watch has the center wheel whose arbor carries the minute hand. You will also note that the pinion on the contrate wheel of my East watch is at the top (like the earlier fusee watch), and not at the bottom (like the later one).

    All in all, an interesting transition watch, and I would be curious to know if watches that soon followed it (by Tompion, Quare, et al) also had this kind of configuration, or were more in line with Baillie's later diagram. Evidently watches were still evolving, during the first few decades after introduction of the balance spring.

    For the record, the distance between the plates of this East watch is around 10.8mm.

    --Robert

    east_train2.jpg east_potences1.jpg east_potences2.jpg
     
  2. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    I think when you are on the forfront of invention-I would have thought your aim would be-that your invention worked-and someone would buy it-with luck many would want to buy it. Of course in the era of Eward East it would difer from the world today. There were no sharp businessmen with factories waiting to churn out a million copies-East could only rely on a few rich clients-how his work looked a hundred years later he could not influence, thought he lived long enough to see it improved. There is a little book out called "The Art of Invention" by Steaven J. Paley. in his book he gives this advice:

    " Whether you´re an aspiring inventor or an experienced designer, the the author´s expertise, personal examples and case studies offer detailed guidance on conceptulizing your ideas and turning them into reality. The author shows how ideas can come from a variety of sources such as the natural world, basic physical principles, life experiance, or even chance observations. He examines how intuition and the harnessing of subconscious information are key ingredients for the inventive process."

    I wonder what Edward East would have thought of that-? :coolsign:


    IMG_6971.JPG IMG_6972.JPG IMG_6973.JPG Just a few words on who Edward East was.
     
  3. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Hi Allan,
    Thanks for quoting the piece from the Art of invention. Indeed, most horological creators and innovators would have associated with the elements in that quote, though obviously more ancient ones would likely not have understood the concept of "subconscious", which is a later creation in the "Western Canon". They may have ascribed more to "divine intervention or inspiration", or something like that... ;)

    I've read that piece on East (over a year ago probably) that you included a photo of, when I was reading all I could find on him. Several inaccuracies in that piece which attest to its age, notably the reference to him dying in 1701 at the age of 84 (he actually passed away around 1695 at the age of 93 or thereabouts).

    A most excellent 2 part article on East was published in Antiquarian Horology in September and December 2017 by three authors named Finch. In my view, these are the definitive writings on East from a historical and genealogical perspective. The articles are not as rich on the technical aspects of his work and times, so others may later devote some time and research to those aspects. Hopefully the information I've shared about my East watch in this long thread will be of some assistance to these researchers, if they ever find it. ;)

    The fine articles on East have been made available on their site by the authors, and I strongly urge anyone curious about this master to read them.
    --Robert

    Edward East (1602-c.1695)
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    If the second, (centre), wheel is between the plates, as it generally is in watches with minute hands, the potence has to be shorter to allow it clearance. The number of teeth in the escape wheel, (most commonly 15, as here), is of more relevance than its diameter to the running duration as defined by the train counts. Later verges in the 18th century had the same number of wheels in the train as the East and had a duration of 30 hours.

    I believe I can count seven turns on your fusee, which is the norm in 18th century movements. The 'extra wheel' noted by Baillie is the centre wheel I guess, which is necessary if the watch is to have two hands with the motion work required for their functioning.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    I agree that the East watch is intermediate between the two examples from Ballie that you reproduced. Is that not to be expected as the first example is dated early C17th and the second early C18th? - your East movement is, I believe, between the two. Interestingly, the first movement he shows with the stackfreed, from ~1550, also has the shorter potence.

    upload_2019-2-15_23-21-33.png

    The reason why the larger escape wheel was needed when the stackfreed was replaced by the introduction of the fusee 'is because the multiplication ratio between the spring barrel and fusee is much less than between the wheel of the mainspring arbor and its pinion.' Further, in the stackfreed train there are two intermediate wheels and pinions, whereas between the fusee and contrate wheel there is only one. In the early C17th 'great variations are found in the trains'; watches without the extra wheel were made to run for 24 hours with very high fusees - with up to 17 turns - but this made for 'a very thick watch' and longer running was also achieved by modifying the gearing 'attained by the bad practice of using pinions of five leaves throughout'.

    Graham gave an example of the escape wheel from a 1777 watch approximately 100 years later than the East movement. In that period of time, watches became thinner and as a result the fusee and escape wheel became smaller OR as the fusee and escape wheel became smaller, watches became thinner.

    John
     
  6. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Thank you John and Graham for helping me to better understand what Baillie was talking about in those excellent evolutionary watch diagrams, and how that pertains to the East movement.

    Indeed, the East being late 17th would situate it between Baillie's two diagrams. I find the description by Baillie to be one of the most useful I've read about the differences between these different iterations, and I'm glad I finally acquired this book recently. And there were no doubt variations between the 5 generations that he chose to draw and describe. As I said, the East has some features of one and some of the other. Other contemporary watchmakers would likely have had slight distinguishing elements as well.

    I recall from the Finch articles, which I read when they first came out, about East having a shop (inherited from his father-in-law Bull if memory serves me right) down in a small lane that gave onto the Thames, which was thus situated outside the area of control of the Guild, so that his shop was free to bring in materials and workers/journeymen by boat to produce timepieces in that place, outside the control of the inspectors, and then sell them in his shop in London city limits per se. He very well may have hired some French Huguenot watchmakers, who had fled France due to Louis XIV's revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 -- those men would not have been authorized to work under the area of London controlled by the Guild, but were able to bring to East's firm some of the techniques, methods and designs they would have learned on the Continent. Interesting times...
     
  7. John Brotherton

    John Brotherton Registered User

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    77478AED-2A7A-41F9-B760-339BC3ECDFF1.jpeg 2D823C5E-B9C3-4224-B895-5AA6F6E9A47B.jpeg 4BEC97C6-1DA1-43FD-83AC-003F771C21C8.jpeg
    Different topic folks for which I apologise. Is anybody able to date this little treasure any more accurately than late c17th/early c18th? French and unsigned. She’s a runner and gains around an hour in 24.
     
  8. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    It would be better if this were in a thread of its own. It would help others research it later if required.
     
  9. John Brotherton

    John Brotherton Registered User

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    Totally agree- I’m pretty new to the forum and trying to navigate my way around :-( !
     
  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Nick,

    It already is, I did suggest to John (the poster) that he might find some interest in this thread though.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  11. John Brotherton

    John Brotherton Registered User

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    Cheers Graham! Lots to read here
     
  12. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    #212 rstl99, Mar 18, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
    I was just visually inspecting the pallets for their angle, which is just shy of 90 degrees (maybe 89, impossible to measure accurately, I am going by my microscope and eyeball looking at the two faces in relation to each other). The intent of the watchmaker (as I gather was the standard in old English watches of this era) was to have a 90 deg angle. In later verge watches, the angle was a bit wider (95 to 100, with the latter "generally preferred" according to Britten's wonderful Watch and clockmaker's handbook dictionary and guide published in 1907).

    Britten writes (p. 432): "... with the opening between the pallets only 90 deg, as it is in many English watches, the vibration of the balance is too small and the recoil too great. An opening of about 100 deg avoids the drawbacks of the two extremes (the other being more open pallets found in French and later English watches), and may therefore be adopted with advantage."

    It would be very interesting and informative to carry out such a detailed analysis of the construction, dimensions, angles, etc. of components from other contemporary watches to this one by Edward East, to note similarities and differences between makers of that period of early balance spring watches (i.e. the late 17th century), both in France and in England. Most antique watch books understandably concern themselves with the outer appearance and characteristics of the watches, and very infrequently delve into the mechanical components inside.

    Most of these watches are in museums or private collections and are only infrequently taken apart by restorers or watch repair technicians who seldom make their photos, drawings, or measurements available to others interested in this aspect. Museum curators would be ideally positioned to carry out such analyses, but probably don't have the time to do so given reduced resources, and time constraints.

    If someone is aware of such a comparative analysis having been done, please let us know.

    --Robert
     
  13. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Took a couple of hours to measure and document the wheel train on my East.
    If anyone would care to contribute similar measurements from watches from a similar era, would allow interesting comparisons.
    (Not sure too many people would care to do this kind of analytical exercise, but who knows...) :)
    --Robert

    wheel dimensions.jpg
     

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