Marine: Hamilton 21 in a strange case

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Kenneth Snowden, Jul 6, 2017.

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  1. Kenneth Snowden

    Kenneth Snowden Registered User
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    May 21, 2010
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    I have a Hamilton 21 marine chronometer. It works perfectly, but is cased in a strange case. The movement is only gibaled to float left and right. The case does not appear to be "home made". Has anyone seen a configuration like this, and if so, know why it is set up this way? The bottom of the case has a piece of perforated metal for ventalation. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Ken,
    That is not an original Hamilton box.

    Posibally it was made up after WW2 just for an commerical ship?

    I can't tell from the pictures if it is a late production or an early one, just recased.

    You should post the serial number of the movement.
     
  3. Kenneth Snowden

    Kenneth Snowden Registered User
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    I believe this is the movement serial number.[​IMG]
     
  4. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Ken,
    2E 2405 was sold to 64-14500( customer number code, which we haven't figured out yet) on 12-22-1943.

    Most likely for a military contract. I would GUESS that it saw war service and later was mounted in that nice custom box.

    But it is possible that the contract called for that type of box, without the contract we just don't know.

    I haven't seen another box like that ,so if it was in the contract, not many were made for the customer who ordered it.

    I did see that number, 64-14500, on several more chronometers on the 2 pages of ledgers that your number was written on.
     
  5. Kenneth Snowden

    Kenneth Snowden Registered User
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    Jim, I really appreciate the information that you have provided. Is there a correlation between the N2405 on the dial and the 2E 2405 serial number? On the dial is a 1941 date, but you are saying that this movement was sold in 1943. There is enough similarity in this unique box to a standard chronometer box to indicate that this was made by Hamilton under another contract.
     
  6. Tom McIntyre

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    I think all the early Hamilton 21's have the 1941 on them the later special purpose ones do not have the date.

    When chronometers are used for aerial or survey purposes the generally get a different kind of mounting box. I have not seen that particular one before, but it looks like it might be suitable for surveying work.
     
  7. burt

    burt Registered User
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    From the time the U.S. Navy accepted the Hamilton Model 21 Marine Chronometer to its end of production Hamilton never gave up on trying to improve its accuracy, performance and reliably. Mr. Ernest W. Drescher,who was in charge of Hamilton's design section received several patents to this end. One area that was of concern was when shipping chronometers in transit from the U.S.N.O. to various ships the chronometers were subject to damage by incompetent handling. Two of Drescher's patented improvements (2,425,602 Aug. 12, 1947 and 2,433,509 Dec. 30,1947) were to support systems to help prevent this from occurring. Both vibration and shock were two areas of concern which were not completely addressed in the original box design. I believe what we have here is a "one off" model case,done at Hamilton,as a prototype for testing an improved design inner case. I think a Hamilton factory piece as the workmanship appears to be first rate and the factory Hamilton label is attached. Before computers, designers had to first manufacture an idea then put it to testing. This box appears to utilize a different style of gimbal mechanism and raised feet and vent system. I don't know if any of its features were patented but more than likely it was never put into general production. Jim Haney and I were discussing this, as in his lengthy experience in this area, he has never seen a similar box. This I think supports the prototype theory. I don't think it is a survey chronometer as most if not all chronometers utilized for that work are of the break-circuit design. In any event that I feel this at least a good theory of what we have here. Anyone's thoughts on this?
     
  8. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    #8 Jim Haney, Jul 8, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
    Burt,
    I believe you are on track with your thinking about this. This is the second patent and if Ken can look it over and compare it to his box it would confirm your thinking.

    https://www.google.com/patents/US2433509?dq=2,433,509

    The 1st patent doesn't look like Ken's box.

    https://www.google.com/patents/US2425602?dq=2,425,602&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgubGm_fnUAhURayYKHRyeBJAQ6AEIJDAA

    Ken. Yes the N with a circle around is the standard Navy marking and the dial is numbered with the your movement number.
     
  9. burt

    burt Registered User
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    Jim,

    Thanks! I always enjoy it when you agree with me. :)

    As I wrote this "prototype" may or may not have gone as far a being patented? Many ideas never work out after testing.It's a guess but there are a limited amount of answers of what this may actually be. Hamilton received their standard boxes from a supplier/s so we shouldn't expect it to look the same in general construction if put together at the factory. I doubt it had those handles attached when the instrument was boxed. Most experimental models or prototypes find themselves in the trash dumpster or taken home by their inventor or perhaps a factory employee. There would have been many years for an individual to modify that original configuration. In any event we can reasonably conclude what it isn't so that is what guided me to my theory. If correct I think Ken has a great piece of Hamilton history and a interesting historical find.
     
  10. Kenneth Snowden

    Kenneth Snowden Registered User
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    I do not believe that my box reflects the invention in this patent. If I understand the drawing, it depicts a system for securing the boxed chronometer inside the outer box. In carefully looking over my box, I did discover "H00" stamped into the rear of the case, just above where the post on which the chronometer is gimbaled is secured to the case.[​IMG]
     
  11. burt

    burt Registered User
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    Ken,

    Your correct with your understanding of the two patents. That "stamp"marking is interesting as it certainly looks like it may be a factory marking and it does begin with "H".
     
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