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Help identifying Astronomical Regulator

wolfscreek1

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May 16, 2019
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I hope someone here can help me identify this Tall Case English Astronomical Regulator .

Recently had the case restored, and movement cleaned - running like a charm.losing about 2-seconds per 24 hours, but I can't find any history on whether made in England or Sydney Australia.... and much more.
Here's what I know so far:
1. Face signed A. Ballentine, Sydney
2. Mercury Pendulum, dead beat jewel escapement.
3. Mahogany case, recently restored.
4. circa around 1883

Any historical or other info greatly appreciated.
Thanks.

Tom W

8E53EE8A-AA43-4393-8B8D-52720DD34BCA_1_105_c.jpeg 635411B6-B6C6-4ACC-B772-3D900B8CC673_1_105_c.jpeg EDC5D7ED-6B4F-4094-8A44-CE48662B24D0_1_105_c.jpeg
 

bruce linde

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why do you say 1883?
can you add photos of the movement? are there any markings there?
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
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Scottsdale, Arizona
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why do you say 1883?
can you add photos of the movement? are there any markings there?
Bruce - Thanks for quick response.
Haven't found any markings yet, but found an old newspaper clipping wedged up inside the case... a bit tough to read but here is is, describing "local" news (? Sydney Australia).

724076E6-1383-4899-B7AC-CED2940E7DF1_1_105_c.jpeg
 

bruce linde

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cool.... might even be a bit older, with the paper used to wedge something....
 

Ralph

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Pictures of the movement would give a better chance of identification. Many of these were made by specialists and branded for the recipient. Some are unique and individualistic efforts.

Ralph
 

P.Hageman

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Jul 20, 2014
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Wow, that a very nice clock, very high on my (never ending) wishlist. Congratulations!!
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
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Scottsdale, Arizona
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Region
Pictures of the movement would give a better chance of identification. Many of these were made by specialists and branded for the recipient. Some are unique and individualistic efforts.

Ralph
Here are pics of the movement, but they look very clean, without any markings... except maybe the top view right side edge: is that a scratch or some logo?
What do you think?

Tom
7158B86A-78F5-43AD-B3C3-71B70696CB64_1_105_c.jpeg
60D7F80A-30C5-4918-A021-5D2815CBA59B_1_105_c.jpeg
2AC9EED9-C9BF-4232-9C7A-045FEA27BF86_1_105_c.jpeg
 

bruce linde

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gorgeous movement... 2 seconds a day is too much... even before 'runs like a charm'. :)

have you tried regulating it? if yes, do you have a microset or digital app? note: i have an app, but i just fine tune regulate every week when i wind my babies. i do not keep track, but my clock mentor keeps a log for every one of his clocks.

his deadbeat regulator (1840, prague) is within 2 seconds over 4 months (for example).
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
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I do the same thing, regulating all clocks every week when I do the winding.

Observation - When it starts to lose a second here and there, I just stand and listen and watch the movement:
1. Sometimes (randomly), but always at exactly 3-4 seconds before the hour, there is a 1-2 second pause, where the swinging brass arm "mechanism" with adjustment screws for pendulum cadence on the very top of (don't know the terminology) the movement (top picture) just swings without the usual audible cadence-click of the pendulum.
2. When this happens, the weight is usually at least half way down through the 8-day period. Checked for cable binding as cause for loss of power, but looks perfect...

Ideas welcome.

p.s. What App do you use? I just use my Apple Watch as the "standard"
Tom
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
OK, did some basic reading on the Deadbeat (Grahm) escapement and verge/lock stuff.
I readjusted the cadence of the pendulum so that the left/right pendulum swing and escapement rhythm is extremely symmetric...
Now seems to be running much more smoothly, and so far, no skipped beats or hesitation between verge/pallets and wheel rotation.

Other than that, how does one know how to adjust the "Lock" depth for this type of regulator?

Tom Wolf
Arizona
 

Jmeechie

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Dec 8, 2010
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Sounds like your in beat. now and will be keeping better time.
The style of the plates appear to be of British descent with the top corners removed. The biggest issue you’r going to run into is Australia’s close ties to Britain will more than likely have heavily influenced a local (Australian) maker.
Having looked at a number of these clocks over the years (on my wish list) here are my observations, the movement, suspension top mount and way the fork is mounted to the pinion shaft, and pendulum are all of British styling. The case on the other hand is rather unusual for this time period and being British. My guess is the case is more of Australian descent? I tried to do a search on the dial name A. Ballentine, Sydney and came up empty.
Cheers,
James
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
Sounds like your in beat. now and will be keeping better time.
The style of the plates appear to be of British descent with the top corners removed. The biggest issue you’r going to run into is Australia’s close ties to Britain will more than likely have heavily influenced a local (Australian) maker.
Having looked at a number of these clocks over the years (on my wish list) here are my observations, the movement, suspension top mount and way the fork is mounted to the pinion shaft, and pendulum are all of British styling. The case on the other hand is rather unusual for this time period and being British. My guess is the case is more of Australian descent? I tried to do a search on the dial name A. Ballentine, Sydney and came up empty.
Cheers,
James
Got similar response from "The Regulator Clock Company" in Australia. He ran the name too and came up with "0".
I posted (different thread: deadbeat escapement drop and lock... how much?) U-Tube audio-visual recordings (at Bruce Inde's suggestion) of escapement during some skipping beats, still a mystery though as to cause of missed beats and losing now about 1-minute per 24 hours...
Ideas welcome.

Tom wolf
 

Jmeechie

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Dec 8, 2010
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An alternate answer to the name is it was the owner of the clock?
 

zedric

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Aug 8, 2012
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Almost certainly this would have been ordered in from England - we simply didn’t have the ability to make precision clocks at the time. The regulators at the observatories were all ordered in, and often took several years to arrive. If they got the spelling wrong, you would live with it... I suspect that the Ballantyne Ralph has found is the right person...
 

Ralph

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Zedric, you are right. I wasn't suggesting Ballantyne made it, and he did probably order it from England. It was near surely his shop regulator. I agree on the spelling. They weren't as fussy in those days, as we are about spelling.

Regards, Ralph
 
Last edited:

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
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Scottsdale, Arizona
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Thanks to you both - Ralph & Zedric:
This makes the most sense, especially with the papers found up inside the clock case, dated 1883, describing local Sydney activity and ships arriving from London...
Appreciate this bit of mystery solving.
Tom Wolf
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
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Scottsdale, Arizona
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Ralph - Thank you again. Mystery solved!
Are you in Sydney?
Is that an Insurance Company Directory, showing Ballantine's shop policy? Great resource.

Thanks again for finding this missing link of horologic history!

Tom Wolf
 

Ralph

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In Sydney? LOL, no I'm in the Chicago burbs.

It was called a Trade Directory, but as you pointed out, the header implies something to do with insurance.

Ralph
 
Last edited:

zedric

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Trove is the searchable, online interface of the Australian National archive, and allows you to search newspapers and other materials. There are a few adverts by Mr Ballantine, such as the one below, and a few times he took people to court. For example, if you search Ballantine Princes, and limit your search to the late 1800s you can find some of them

 

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