F.J. Barnard London - Astronomical Regulator

Northclock

New User
Sep 27, 2022
3
11
3
55
Country
I am the proud owner of an astronomical regulator. It is a tall case 6ft with the mercury pendulum and it does run. It needs to be lubricated for sure and set up correctly before I have it running daily. I am not a professional clock repairer but just love clocks and watches, As a hobby I have collected, cleaned and repaired (minor) clocks over many years but nothing even close to this mechanical marvel. I am wondering if anyone has information on the maker of this clock "F.J. Barnard London". I did searches on the web and found nothing. Also, I am wondering if there is a book that stands out regarding the mechanical maintenance of such a clock. I have done searches on the website and am struggling a bit.

Any thoughts or suggestions, comments would be greatly appreciated.

Randy

Barnard Astronomical Clock Case.jpg Barnard Astronomical Clock Face.jpg
 

Robert Gift

Registered User
Nov 12, 2012
520
54
28
Denver, Colorado
Country
Region
Wow! That is a lot of Hg in the pendulum bob. Wonder how expen$ive that was to amass. Hope that it is sealed so that mercury fumes do not go into the air.
Can you photo the movement?
Should the hot water heat radiators be insulated near and behind the clock so thathe clock is not heated?
 

rstl99

Registered User
Oct 31, 2015
1,285
401
83
Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Very fine and impressive clock Randy. Did you just happen to come across this locally, or perhaps it was handed down in your family? Take good care of it, and enjoy it for many years.
Robert
 

bruce linde

NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
10,512
2,233
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
You will find this clock much easier to work on than minor clocks because of the quality of construction... just go slow, and be very mindful as you do. If it were mine I would go through it, replace the weight cord, and re-silver the dial. Lovely clock, congrats
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,534
482
83
Country
I , and I am sure others would love to see the movement.

RG, " Wow! That is a lot of Hg in the pendulum bob. "

It looks to be about 2/3's there.

Ralph
 

bruce linde

NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
10,512
2,233
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
agree with ralph.... that jar should be at least 2/3 full, if not 3/4.

you may find the clock runs slow... unless you've compensated for the lower center of mass of the mercury/jar?
 

Northclock

New User
Sep 27, 2022
3
11
3
55
Country
Thanks to everyone for your great comments. I appreciate the info regarding (Francis (Franz) Barnard) have not had much luck yet but I will figure it out. I am hoping that when I take the clock dial off that maybe the makers name is on the plate. (wishful thinking)

In regards to the mercury I was wondering if I was short and now I know I have to somehow get some to get it 3/4 full. Great info. Also, you are correct about the radiators, I do not have the furnace on yet but I will block a good section off for the clock. Thanks again for that.

I bought it from an old couple that have had it in their family for about 100 years. I really did try to get some good historical info but all I really got is that it came from New Brunswick. They have not had it running for 10 years and I bought it "as is" not knowing what shape it was in. Very lucky that when I got it home it runs. I had been looking for an "old" grandfather clock for years and then I was fortunate enough to purchase this unit. This will be my forever clock and as mentioned hopefully passed on generation to generation.

I watched a video of the silvering process which is pretty neat but I think I am going to focus on the cleaning, oiling and setup and ponder later about silvering the dial.

I will take a picture of movement when I pull it out for you guys. From the little door up top it looks like someone must have polished it up years ago. I just have no history. Sigh!

One question, for this movement is there a particular clock oil I should use. I looked at the Perrin website and there are quite a lot of clock oils.
I have read on this site various comments regarding clock oils but for this clock is there a particular oil that jumps out. If not I am thinking of using Moebius Grandfather Clock oil 8040.

Again, thanks for all of the support and comments, its appreciated.

Randy
 

bruce linde

NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
10,512
2,233
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
first off, you should see if it keeps accurate time... you may not need extra mercury if someone has (for example) already shortened the suspension spring to bring up the center of mass of the jar

second, any clean and not-too-heavy oil applied AFTER cleaning and servicing will work just fine... try to stay away from the 'what's the best oil?' religious wars. :)
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,534
482
83
Country
The height of the mercury will determine how well calibrated the temperature compensation is. It’s probably a moot point, since your house is temperature compensated.

Ralph
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bernhard J.

wisty

Registered User
Dec 24, 2014
106
61
28
Country
I have a similar clock. I fact the case decoration under the dial looks almost identical. My dial is signed for C.H.Cornish Plymouth, and he appears as a Watch & Chronometer maker at 1 St Andrews Place in Plymouth in the 1891 directory.
Mine differs from this one in that it has an Ellicott compensated pendulum, and the weight is on the LHS rather than the right.
I was led to understand (although I have no sources) that a significant number of this type of regulator clocks were made under contract to the GWR in the 1840's and 1850's after they introduced standard time to the running of the railway. They were apparently positioned in the windows of clock shops(?) in the key towns on the GWR route to act as time standards to allow the potential passengers to know what the "railway time" was at any point. Prior to that the local time was solar and varied from place to place.
Deacons in Swindon ( a jewellers still in business) show a similar dial on their website and claim to have had a GWR "timing contract" from 1850 to 1898.
 

Northclock

New User
Sep 27, 2022
3
11
3
55
Country
I have a similar clock. I fact the case decoration under the dial looks almost identical. My dial is signed for C.H.Cornish Plymouth, and he appears as a Watch & Chronometer maker at 1 St Andrews Place in Plymouth in the 1891 directory.
Mine differs from this one in that it has an Ellicott compensated pendulum, and the weight is on the LHS rather than the right.
I was led to understand (although I have no sources) that a significant number of this type of regulator clocks were made under contract to the GWR in the 1840's and 1850's after they introduced standard time to the running of the railway. They were apparently positioned in the windows of clock shops(?) in the key towns on the GWR route to act as time standards to allow the potential passengers to know what the "railway time" was at any point. Prior to that the local time was solar and varied from place to place.
Deacons in Swindon ( a jewellers still in business) show a similar dial on their website and claim to have had a GWR "timing contract" from 1850 to 1898.
Thank you so much for the historical information, it is really great. I now have a great story to tell my friends when they ask about this clock. I will send pictures of the movement when I get it pulled out. Should be in about 2 weeks or so. Thanks again, Randy
 

Forum statistics

Threads
177,696
Messages
1,557,441
Members
53,657
Latest member
Samloops
Encyclopedia Pages
909
Total wiki contributions
3,058
Last edit
Watch Inspectors by Kent