Marine: Elgin 600 Question

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Paul Regan, Oct 17, 2015.

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  1. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

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    I have this Elgin 600 that has a "2" prefix and "1" suffix around the contract date of 1943. It is numbered #954. I have read in Whitney's that there was an experiment done on numbers 918 and 919 whereby these were fitted with the Hamilton uncut bi-metallic balance. The "2" and "1" were applied to the dial identifying the change. Though mine has this designation, it still has it's Elgin balance. Can anyone add info as to why there is a "2" and "1" on my dial?
    Thanks, Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

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    Okay then, does any else own an Elgin 600 with the "21" additions that still contain an Elgin balance?
    Paul
     
  3. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    My understanding is that the Elgin marine chronometer didn't get too far past the prototype stage. Not too many around in any event. On page 51 of his book on the marine chronometer, Marvin Whitney seems to indicate that Elgin delivered serial # 1 and serial # 3 Elgin chronometer to the naval observatory for trial. Number 1 was accepted after numerous trials and extensive adjusting. Thereafter, Elgin delivered 22 additional chronometers, but they all failed! The Hamilton 21 had proven so successful that interest in the Elgin disappeared. That there has not been a reply from another Elgin chronometer owner is not surprising. Of the (approximately) 25 that were likely made, it would appear there may be other owners around. But it appears you might be the only owner who frequents this MB. Do you have an idea of how many were made? Might the serial number 954 on yours imply that there were more of these made than Marvin Whitney seems to indicate?
     
  4. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I have seen Model 600 with the additional digits, but it may have been Paul's. My 600 has a standard serial number on the dial.

    dial.jpg movement.jpg EscapementMount.jpg TopOpen.jpg
     
  5. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Beautiful machines, both! Should be in the Picture Gallery in my view!
     
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #6 Ralph, Oct 18, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015
    Here's another one I may post in a separate thread, when I have time.


    ElginChrono0001.jpg ElginChrono0002.jpg ElginChrono0005.jpg ElginChrono0006.jpg







    I thought many of the Elgin 600's numbered above 100 or so ere not built by Elgin.

    Ralph
     
  7. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    219431 has seen the Bulletin pages in the past. From Volume 42, Issue 320, Page 808.

    219431.jpg

    Bill passed away a few years ago.

    Ralph
     
  8. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Ralph,
    I removed your link and reference to the old banned chapter. Our software will not allow the chapter number to appear.

    They were banned from the NAWCC about 5 years ago.

    If you want to show anything from that site you will have to copy and paste it here and remove any reference to the chapter.

    Thanks
     
  9. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

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    Thanks for all the responses. To several questions posted, I have no additional info. My education comes from Whitney. I sure wish we could still talk to Mr. Schoeder. May he rest in peace.
    I will post these pics plus a few more in the Gallery.
    Paul
     
  10. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    It would seem the chronometer in the clipping shares the 219431 number with a number of other of these chronometers. What is NOT clear is the actual serial number of the noted chronometer. There is not much doubt in my mind that the chronometer in the clipping and Paul Regan's chronometer may NOT be the same chronometer. Even though they share a number.
     
  11. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User

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    Doug, the serial number on my 600 is N954. I am confused as to the number you are referring to.
    Paul

    Edit: Doug, disregard, I just reread your post.
     
  12. Luis Casillas

    Luis Casillas Registered User

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    #12 Luis Casillas, Oct 18, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    I remembered seeing this as well, so I searched for it in Whitney's book on chronometers... and couldn't find it. Then I searched for it in Whitney's book on military timepieces, and found it in a few seconds. It's on p. 158, in the caption of Figure 10, which is a pair of photos of #918. I still can't shake the feeling that the chronometers book mentions it somewhere, so if somebody spots it there please bring it up.

    Anyway, the caption mentions the following:

    Reading between the lines, Whitney's knowledge of this is second hand, and I wonder if he may just have attached the wrong significance to the added digits "2" and "1".

    It sounds to me that the war's progress may have been a factor as well. The quote I include above from Whitney even says that Elgin's contract was cancelled after the war ended. The main text of the chapter says that the USNO received its last shipment of six Elgin chronometers on May 31, 1945, and "shortly thereafter the war ended and the contract was cancelled." So it sounds like if the war had continued for longer Elgin might have been given the chance to rectify the problems with their balances.

    There were more than 250 additional ones made beyond the ones delivered to the Navy, according to Whitney's Military Timepieces:

    It's unclear whether Capt. Peterson in that quote is mentioned as the source of the information or the source of the photos of #918. I suspect the latter is the case, but both could be true.
     
  13. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I have no hard evidence, but the story I heard was that the kits were sold by Edmund Scientific to anyone who wanted to build their own chronometer.

    The balances use Guillaume metal and it requires a work phase in addition to the alloy mixture just like Elinvar does. Without a lot of process control, they would likely not have made the specification. Nardin made a lot of nearly identical balances and they seem to perform well.

    I have never dismounted the escapement in mine. Has anyone taken one of these down while it was still under power? It is "supposed" to be safe.
     
  14. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    In his Marine Chronometer book, Marvin Whitney covers repair procedures for the Elgin marine chronometer. This chronometer was designed with detachable escapement in a "module", and he gives detail as to how that module can be removed without letting down the power.
     
  15. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #15 Ralph, Oct 18, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
    I know #99 was purchased directly from Elgin right after WWII.

    At some point there was a fellow who would often be at the marts, especially Nationals and regional marts out east. I think he often shared tables with Dr. Ravel at marts. Maybe Conover(?). I can;t remember the name. I thought he put a lot of the Elgin 600's together. I know I have seen him sell some....years ago. I'm sure Tom knows who I am referring to.

    Ralph

    Ralph
     
  16. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    I believe the fellow I was thinking of is/was(?). I think he is gone or at least out of business.

    J.P. Connor & Co.
    Marine Chronometers
    Devon,Pa.

    Ralph
     

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