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    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.

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Fusee verge re-conversion help

Room 335

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I believe that this movement originally had a verge escapement and was then converted to anchor...

I would like to put it back to its original state if realistically possible within a parts budget of around £200.

The third wheel currently has 76 teeth and the escape wheel 30 (pinion of 7). From what I can see verge crown wheels in this type of clock tend to have around 27 teeth? Presumably then I would need to compensate with more teeth on the third (contrate) wheel to preserve the current gearing? This looks to be about 84 teeth according to my crude calculation?

The clock did not have a pendulum when I acquired it but I have made a rough mock-up as pictured which is 18.5 cm to keep accurate time with the current anchor. I think perhaps that a bob pendulum for the verge may be best a little shorter than this? so that would require a few more teeth again on the contrate wheel?

Sorry for all the questions but this is new territory for me... I have a lot of experience with longcase movements but relatively little with fusees. Any views or comments welcome,
thanks,
Richard

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novicetimekeeper

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There are a few here like Peter Hagemans who have done very successful reconversions. You are right the original bob pendulum would have been much shorter, generally they come a little below the movement plates.

You should find the evidence for the hold fast.

Also the mock pendulum will make more sense with the verge escapement as the amplitude is much greater to fill the slot.
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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The clock appears to also have had pull quarter repeating. if I may chuck my two-penneth in before you embark on the project. The clock has probably had the anchor recoil escapement longer than it had the verge escapement. Yes the mock pendulum may be considered to look a bit lame with the anchor recoil escapement but re-converting to verge does not put the clock back, it makes those parts new. It would certainly be a massive learning curve and useful educational process. as you probably know verge reconversions were very popular and some proficient work carried out in the last part of the twentieth century which at the time was considered "high quality restoration". Inevitably much of that work now looks like it was done in the 1970's / 80s etc. Just a thought but if you obviously have the skill and equipment to tackle this project, would you consider making a new verge timepiece clock movement instead? BTW I'm not against a reconversion, working with existing holes and matching eighteenth century threads is good fun, I just wondered what the thinking was? Good luck if you go ahead, please post the results.
 

Room 335

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Thank you for your comments thus far.

Some pictures of the case as well.

I bought the clock initially because it was very attractive, reasonably priced (at least for this type of clock), and of a type I had not owned previously. It was in a bad way though... dirty, severely bent pillars (dropped probably), missing date wheel, missing pendulum, completely non-operational. My goal at the beginning was to make it operational again which it now is although I would need to find a suitable pendulum if I retain the anchor.

The reason for considering the verge reconversion is that I love verge clocks in general and I like clocks to be of 'original specification' if possible.

I think at the moment it just depends on the practicality of being able to do this, to be honest I'm already having doubts but keep the comments coming!

Richard

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Room 335

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Sorry I didn't pick up on the point about pull quarter repeating... so it may have had more bells originally? normal hourly strike but pull repeat would reveal the quarters by how many peals on the additional bells and then the hour? Now that does sound complicated...
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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Richard, thanks for the positive response.

The case I see has some missing veneer from around the lock? I love the overall state of preservation.

You will find a fusee pendulum on an internet auction site easily enough. I see the seaboard was cut away when the conversion was done. almost always the case.

Yes the clock had pull quarter repeating so yes, more bells and a heap more complication! You can see on the backplate a hole with a little notch in it. This is where the spring arbor went. Notches in the pillar where the hammers were:???: Yes, it would have done the hours and quarters on demand. Somewhere on the motion work you may find evidence of the site of the quarter cam. There are a load of different variations. To research this element you need a copy of Hobsons Choice. This is the only book I know of that deals with pull-quarter work.

To reiterate, I totally get the verge thing, my point was only that and new work is new work, not thank you for the 'original specification' remark :=)

Maybe next steps would be to disassemble and do a 'forensic' inspection of the movement, do a drawing and train count. If you were assiduous in 'respecting' existing existing holes and threads, if the worst came to the worst, you could always put the recoil back and it would have been a great learning experience?

Hope this helps.
 

Room 335

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Richard, thanks for the positive response.

The case I see has some missing veneer from around the lock? I love the overall state of preservation.

You will find a fusee pendulum on an internet auction site easily enough. I see the seaboard was cut away when the conversion was done. almost always the case.

Yes the clock had pull quarter repeating so yes, more bells and a heap more complication! You can see on the backplate a hole with a little notch in it. This is where the spring arbor went. Notches in the pillar where the hammers were:???: Yes, it would have done the hours and quarters on demand. Somewhere on the motion work you may find evidence of the site of the quarter cam. There are a load of different variations. To research this element you need a copy of Hobsons Choice. This is the only book I know of that deals with pull-quarter work.

To reiterate, I totally get the verge thing, my point was only that and new work is new work, not thank you for the 'original specification' remark :=)

Maybe next steps would be to disassemble and do a 'forensic' inspection of the movement, do a drawing and train count. If you were assiduous in 'respecting' existing existing holes and threads, if the worst came to the worst, you could always put the recoil back and it would have been a great learning experience?

Hope this helps.
Thank you, that is excellent information and advice.

I have checked for Hobsons choice and it is not cheap at around £100 but definitely my area of interest so I am tempted... so what actually powers the extra bells when the pull repeat is activated? is it the spring arbor you refer to?

Richard
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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Yes, a small mainspring, usually about a quarter of an inch high, fitted into a standing barrel riveted to the plate? Sometimes a leaf spring but the arbor hole with notch for the spring hooking gives it away. Sometimes the pull-quarter mechanism does both quarters and hours, sometimes, it just releases the main hour striking train at the end of a run. It would be fun to try figure it all out.
 

DeanT

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Thank you, that is excellent information and advice.

I have checked for Hobsons choice and it is not cheap at around £100 but definitely my area of interest so I am tempted... so what actually powers the extra bells when the pull repeat is activated? is it the spring arbor you refer to?

Richard
i got mine for about $10 so they shouldn't be too expensive.

The main cost here is time and expertise rather than materials. Although you will need cutters for the pinions if you don't have them.

You will probably need to cast the potences, backcock, contrate and crown wheels.

I guess the question is whether you can restore in a 2 step process. Fix the verge first and then revisit the repeating work later?

There is a thread about the restoration of these somewhere here by NigelW which is very informative.

I've been worked on one myself slowly and have remade the strike/silent levers and potences and am now up to making the wheels. Taking my time and enjoying the process.....

Cheers
Dean
 

howtorepairpendulumclocks

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If you don't have access to cast your own material, here in the UK at least you can buy decent quality yellow brass wheel blanks. As an alternative, you could fabricate the back cock and potencies by silver soldering sheet cast brass. It isn't as neat as castings but if done carefully, can look very neat and gives you a whole lot more flexibility.
 

DeanT

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If you don't have access to cast your own material, here in the UK at least you can buy decent quality yellow brass wheel blanks. As an alternative, you could fabricate the back cock and potencies by silver soldering sheet cast brass. It isn't as neat as castings but if done carefully, can look very neat and gives you a whole lot more flexibility.
If you are going to go to effort of restoring the clock I'd definitely get yellow cast wheel blanks and potences etc. Seems a waste to do all the hard work and not get the right material to start?
 

novicetimekeeper

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The wrong colour brass can look absolutely awful. One of my bracket clocks had a later backcock which looked quite pink by comparison to the backplate. It is verge and was lacking an apron so rather than go to the expense of replacing the backcock I had an apron made from a scrap mid 18th century longcase dial
 

Room 335

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i got mine for about $10 so they shouldn't be too expensive.

The main cost here is time and expertise rather than materials. Although you will need cutters for the pinions if you don't have them.

You will probably need to cast the potences, backcock, contrate and crown wheels.

I guess the question is whether you can restore in a 2 step process. Fix the verge first and then revisit the repeating work later?

There is a thread about the restoration of these somewhere here by @NigelW which is very informative.

I've been worked on one myself slowly and have remade the strike/silent levers and potences and am now up to making the wheels. Taking my time and enjoying the process.....

Cheers
Dean
Thanks Dean, I will check out the info.

Looks like I need to expand my skills envelope a bit!
 

NigelW

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I am trying to do something similar with a clock from about 1710 which is missing its quarter repeat, its alarm and its verge escapement. I have never done anything like it before and have been recording my adventure, largely put on ice during the COVID pandemic because of the closure of my clock club, on a thread here called 1710 Etherington Table clock with lots of bits missing, some of which you may find helpful.

The first step I would recommend is to try to ascertain what all the empty holes and any plugged holes in both the front and back plates were once used for. My clock had about 70 of them and the task seemed overwhelming at first but I have narrowed things down a lot. Not every hole is accounted for and I think my clock was altered more than once in its lifetime but I have enough to go on to start a reconstruction. I used a CAD programme to help me both understand what was there and to design replacement components.

The configuration of the empty holes on your backplate is puzzling. In a two train clock with quarter repeating, viewed from the front, the going train would normally be in the middle (driven by the right hand barrel and fusee), the striking train on the left and the quarter repeating train on the right, above the going barrel. In your clock what appear to be the empty holes for the quarter repeating are on the left and appear to clash with the striking train, which seem to be in their conventional position, also on the left. Single train quarter repeating clocks often had their quarter repeating work on the left but they would only have had one barrel and no striking train, whereas yours has two barrels. This merits further investigation. A view of the front plate with the dial off would assist.
 
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DeanT

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I am trying to do something similar with a clock from about 1710 which is missing its quarter repeat, its alarm and its verge escapement. I have never done anything like it before and have been recording my adventure, largely put on ice during the COVID pandemic because of the closure of my clock club, on a thread here called 1710 Etherington Table clock with lots of bits missing, some of which you may find helpful.

The first step I would recommend is to try to ascertain what all the empty holes and any plugged holes in both the front and back plates were once used for. My clock had about 70 of them and the task seemed overwhelming at first but I have narrowed things down a lot. Not every hole is accounted for and I think my clock was altered more than once in its lifetime but I have enough to go on to start a reconstruction. I used a CAD programme to help me both understand what was there and to design replacement components.

The configuration of the empty holes on your backplate is puzzling. In a two train clock with quarter repeating, viewed from the front, the going train would normally be in the middle (driven by the right hand barrel and fusee), the striking train on the left and the quarter repeating train on the right, above the going barrel. In your clock what appear to be the empty holes for the quarter repeating are on the left and appear to clash with the striking train, which seem to be in their conventional position, also on the left. Single train quarter repeating clocks often had their quarter repeating work on the left but they would only have had one barrel and no striking train, whereas yours has two barrels. This merits further investigation. A view of the front plate with the dial off would assist.
Welcome back Nigel I wondered where you had gone!
 
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NigelW

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Welcome back Nigel I wondered where you had gone!
I have spent most of the last year self isolating in rural Kent, away from my clock workshop in London. I received the vaccination earlier this week so I hope to be able to get back to my clocks before too long.
 

NigelW

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Single train clocks with a dummy second winding hole are not unknown and it might be worth exploring whether this was originally the case with yours. If so, it would have been subject to a substantial rebuild to add a striking train as well as a conversion to anchor. The large hole in the middle of the escutcheon might be where a fifth pillar once was but it could also be the position of an original, single, barrel, or even of the going train fusee if the dial has been altered. The style of the arbors and collets can give some clues too. Generally the smaller collets and more tapered the arbors the earlier they are. Yours seem to be a mix.
 
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Ralph

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Nigel is making good points on his observations. The hole for a typical repeat spring arbor seems to be in the wrong place.

Ralph
 

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