American PW Ingersoll-Trenton 16s

Michael Maddan

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May 24, 2015
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Hello!
I'm just finishing a ( hobbyist ) service on one of the 19J examples, and I would like to hear from anyone who encountered a problem similar to mine: it seems that the mainspring cap bushing is worn to a degree that stops the watch!

I have a new spring, and the watch may be wound about 1 1/2 turns...and that's it. At that point the winding becomes so difficult that it's dangerous to proceed. I took the barrel out, and noticed that there was a distinct ring of brass particles on the barrel arbor where it passes through the cap...and this, after just 2 or 3 winding cycles.

I'm thinking at this point that the arbor cannot run true once the spring acts upon it, and that the resulting tilt either causes the barrel to drag, or that the spring, itself, is pulled against the barrel with enough force to make winding impossible.

There are four teeth missing from the ratchet wheel, so I'm also assuming that this issue was around for some time.

I have another 16s Ingersoll-Trenton--a 17J--and it, too, is missing ratchet wheel teeth.

So: does it sound like my guess is correct? And, is this a known issue with these watches?

Oh: sounds like I'll need cap re-bushed...work I cannot do...anyone interested?!

As always: thanks everyone!

Michael.
 

Dave T

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Sounds like a candidate for a parts watch.
Can you post some pictures?
 

Skutt50

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In my experience the tilt of a barrel usually cause the wach to stop but winding is still possible.
Are you sure the spring has the correct dimensions? It sounds like either it is too strong or too wide.
(Did you measure the old spring? It may have been the wrong size?)

Since it sounds like you are going to replace (at least) the barrel lid anyway, you could try to close the hole in the old one. Use a staking set, punch the material around the hole and it will shrink. It will make the lid bushing area thinner so it is not a long term soluton, but you can test your theory.
 
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Michael Maddan

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Thanks folks...nice to see so many Replies so quickly Posted.

I have an old Sony digital camera that does take good close-ups, & I'll try to Post a few later today.

The new spring is a "Nu Vigor" , blue, No. 802. It's a replacement for Ingersoll's No. 365. It's 15 x 3 1/2 x 19. I have a copy of Swigart's listings, and there is only one (1) for an Ingersoll-Trenton...the 365.

There's always a chance that non-original parts have crept-in over the years (!), but the barrel certainly looks legit: it's finished just like everything else, and 'seems' to belong.

Once again: all this is pretty strange; I've worked on MANY USA PW's, from 7J Elgins to 23J Bunn Specials, and I've never experienced a watch that will wind so few turns, then absolutely STOP...whaterver's fouled-up here, is generating a lot of force, and it's doing so all at once.

Left to my imagination, I'd think that a much weaker spring is in order ..something that we've probably all seen, a newer Swiss white metal item, that--somehow!--simply seems more pliant and springy than the Original...if you know what I mean!

Thanks again.

Michael.
 

Skutt50

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Just for the "fun" of it, remove the mainspring and see how many turns you can wind the crown. There might be something else blocking the winding motion e.g. some bent teeth that locks up when they meet.......
 

Michael Maddan

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Skutt50...Hello!

Another good idea...alas, I tried that, and all's well in the winding train: no damaged or ( with the exception of 4 on the ratchet wheel ) missing teeth; winding click & spring are OK; ratchet & winding wheels are free and smooth; a bit of grease applied where appropriate.

I'm still thinking that a different mainspring may be necessary, although I'd really like to insure that the barrel arbor's running true...

It will be another day until I get back to this...I've spent a few nights looking at it all, and I need a change of scenery...there are several other watches waiting their turn on my bench, and--perhaps--a day or so away from this one, will clear my vision!

Thanks again.

Michael.
 

Skutt50

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The four missing teeth on the ratchet wheel can be the cause it jams. Can you check if the teeth are close to the crown wheel teeth when it locks.
It could be that the crown wheel teeth does not interact properly with the ratchet wheel teeth when there is some extra resistance in the ratchet wheel (from winding the main spring). With no resistance it may slip by without you notising it.

Have you considered closing the barrel lid hole? It is not complicated and will give you a quick test if that's where the problem lies.

If the barrel arbor is tilted to the point where it locks/runs rough, you can usually see this in the wear of the barrel bridge. The locking part would have scraped off material before it went into "locking mode"......
 

Michael Maddan

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May 24, 2015
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Skutt50...thanks again!

I did put on my B&L Loupe last a few nights ago, and watched as the winding wheel teeth interacted with those on the ratchet...I had a notion similar to your's.

From what I saw, all is good: all the teeth seem to mesh properly, and I think that the issue is elsewhere.

I like your idea of closing the hole, and plan to do this soon.

I also looked on the pillar plate for any signs of the barrel dragging, and that, too, looks just fine.

It will be fun (!) to finally figure this one out. Once again, I'm not at all new to watches and how the work, but I must admit, that whatever's going on here just seems a bit weird: the darn thing winds a turn and a half, and STOPS. PERIOD. Tight as tight can be...all at once!

So: I'll do what all the Old Books suggest; take a little time off. Go for a few long walks. Have a cup of tea. Wait a few days. Take another look...the Problem may be right in front of me...on second sight!

Michael.
 

gmorse

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Hi Michael,

I tend to sacrifice originality on the altar of reliability when it comes to NOS blue steel mainsprings. Any NOS spring you acquire now will have been in its packaging and constraint for very many years, and at the very least, these springs are often set, and worse, liable to sudden failure during the first few winds following installation.

If you want to know more about the Dennison and other mainspring sizing gauges, have a look at this Richard Watkins web page.

Regards,

Graham
 

Michael Maddan

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May 24, 2015
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Graham...I am in complete agreement: these old blued springs make me nervous, and there's ( essentially...) no doubt, but that the Swiss white-metal items are the best choice.

As I was going through my mainspring assortment, I chanced upon a few of the last generation, Hamilton 992 springs...talk about being impressed! These things are as different from the earlier ones as can be imagined...just about perfect in form and feel: they'd probably last about Forever.

So: I reckon that a different spring's in order. I'll look over my charts, and see if I can come up with a white spring that may be modified a bit to fit. I do have a decent assortment of T-ends ( a dozen or so in a glass vial, from a watchmaker's collection ) and, although I've not done it, I'm confident that I'll be able to rivet one on to a proper spring.

Thanks again...I appreciate your help.

Michael.
 

Michael Maddan

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May 24, 2015
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And away I go: looks like an evening's read, Graham!

A 60 second peek at Mr Boettcher's work revealed a few things I recognized...I'm certain that there'll be lots there I do not!

Thanks again...there's much to be gained from an understanding of the Theories behind our Practices.

Michael.
 

Michael Maddan

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May 24, 2015
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Hi Michael,

I tend to sacrifice originality on the altar of reliability when it comes to NOS blue steel mainsprings. Any NOS spring you acquire now will have been in its packaging and constraint for very many years, and at the very least, these springs are often set, and worse, liable to sudden failure during the first few winds following installation.

If you want to know more about the Dennison and other mainspring sizing gauges, have a look at this Richard Watkins web page.

Regards,

Graham
Hello again, Graham.

Now: don't quote me (!), but it seems that I may have chased-down this Gremlin; I've just gone over several things ( again ), and it's looking as if the issue was an improperly adjusted winding stem sleeve. As I'm sure you're aware, these things are threaded, and control the depth of the stem into the movement. Although I'll need to take a sheet of paper and draw myself a diagram--and in so doing compel an actual knowledge of what's happening!--it seems that a lack of clearance in the winding position results in excessive pressure on the bevel pinion ( as one book calls it ) as it bears against the pillar plate.

It may be that this lack of clearance becomes critical as the winding progresses, and that the force exerted on the pinion drives it against the pillar plate to a degree that simply causes it to 'lock' against the pillar...steel pinion vs nickle plate=steel digs into nickle=NO MORE WINDING!

I learned a long time ago, that old 'trench watches' ( the ones using a stamped-steel collar to control the winding stem @ winding / setting ) really MUST have a little 'spring' in the crown in the winding position: if there is not a bit of give between the stem and the case, smooth winding is usually not possible.

Alas, it seems that what I knew about wristwatches, I forgot to apply to larger mechanisms.

Still: even now, I'm not certain that I know what happened! The Ingersoll took several turns on the ratchet wheel a few hours ago, but I'll not be certain that all's well for at least another day...as these things so often happen, I had to secure the ( non-original ) stem with thread sealant to allow it to turn backwards, so I need to wait a day or so for that to set up...then, I'll be able to put the watch through it's paces, and discover if my adjustment actually works...!

Michael.
 

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