Newbie with a broken dual pendulum clock

BFlynnDO

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Nov 20, 2016
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Hi all,

I am a total newbie and hope to find some guidance. I admittedly know very little about clocks but was walking through a Restoration Hardware Outlet (of all places) Friday night and saw what they call a "circ. 1900 french reproduction clock cloche". Original price, $2,000, marked down to $280. Why? Tag says "broken". Broken indeed but its such a cool looking piece, I bought it in hopes of repair.
20161118_211715_resized.jpg

In my weekend of learning as much as I could online, I have found there appear to be 2 distinct movements, one for the minute hand which is fully functional, and one for the hour hand which is a mess. It appears something bad happened to the main spring located at the bottom in this brass container
20161120_151246_resized.jpg

My first question is, what is the purpose of this large spring? Its not connected to a gear set, only a wire cable. I am thinking it provides tension but I am having difficulty getting the round side piece to fit into the side so I'm not sure if the container its in got warped or bent or it just has too much tension in it still. The wire cable coils around this thing

20161118_211654_resized.jpg

which turns the hour hand movement. I have since untangled this but still not sure where to go from here. My sense is if I can get the main spring and its housing to work, the rest should follow but trying to find my way in the dark on this one. Any thoughts or info would be much appreciated. I do have a clock repair store in town but I don't know what they'd say if this walked in.

Thanks in advance!

Brendan
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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Welcome to the board.

What you have is a clock with a fusee movement. The cone shaped piece with grooves is the fusee and is designed to ensure even release of the spring power via the wire cable. There is a spring inside the lower barrel and the cover should not be loose but fits tightly.

If you google 'Fusee Clock' you will find lots of information which will help you work out what you have and how it works.

Your clock, even though a repro., is well worth restoring and there will be people here who will help you or, of course, you could take it to a clock repairer. Fusee movements are present in lots of higher-quality clocks and a competent repair man would not be put off by yours, although there may be other parts that need repair tat are not visible in your photos.

Hope this helps.

JTD
 

BFlynnDO

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Thanks JTD, I will start googling! Much appreciated and look forward to learning more from the board.
 

bruce linde

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brendan -

you scored. congrats.

find a local clock shop OR check for your local nawcc chapter and see if you can find someone to help get it running.

fusees are really cool... you should read up on them.

smike
 

shutterbug

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What you have is I believe a Chinese made Grasshopper escapement clock. They are pretty cool clocks, and you got a GREAT buy on it. The fusee mainspring may have broke, come disconnected, or was not pre-loaded properly. The escapement is a pain to get running, so your repairman may pull his hair out getting it to run even after the fusee is fixed :)
I believe many of these clocks were distributed by ProClocks. You can find their website and your clock with a little searching, and they do repairs too, if you want to go that way.
 

JTD

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I agree with you Shutterbug, I am sure this is a (Chinese) repro. from Pro Clocks, but wasn't sure I was allowed to say so in my original post!

And yes, I agree he got a great deal!

JTD
 

Tinker Dwight

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It bothers me that you describe separate minute and hour. These should be
solidly connected through motion works.
There is only one clock. The escapement wheel looks beat up.
These pallets need to be engages when running. It is hard to describe.
The swing of the pendulums alternately put one of the pallets in front
of the tooth, just as the other pallet lets go.
Swing and timing are quite critical.
Tinker Dwight
 
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BFlynnDO

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Thanks to all. Great info. Yup, its exactly what you guys said, Chinese made and from looking at ProClock's site, they have very similar looking clocks so they may be a good resource. Tinker Dwight, I may have chosen my words incorrectly by saying separate minute and hour movements. They are indeed connected through the motion works. I only meant I have been able to get the minute hand turning as it appears to be powered by a spring separate from the fusee mainspring. I had delusional thoughts that I could fix this on my own but as a neophyte, its probably a bit of a reach (nothing like fixing something yourself though). The cable is certainly shot and needs to be replaced which means I will need to disassemble the clock entirely, and that gives me pause.
The biggest head scratcher for me is the fusee mainspring barrel. The side cover will not pop into place. I see no obvious signs of damage or warping. It as if the side cover is a few mms too big. I wonder if this was the source of the failure that led to the clock breaking.

Thanks again for all the helpful info and I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on possible reasons why the mainspring barrel seems to be fighting me.

Brendan
 

JTD

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I don't think you will be able to get the cover onto the barrel without removing it from the clock, even if the drum and/or lid is not distorted. Getting covers back onto barrels often requires setting them on a bench and using a hammer (with suitable protection for the arbor).

I think this would not be the best clock for you to start your clock repairing experience but it is certainly worth the trouble of getting it done. See what ProClocks suggest.

JTD
 

john e

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Nice indeed.

The two pendulums are tied together and swing in opposing directions. Harrison did this with his H1 or H2 (IIRC) to make the clock resistant to the rocking motion of a ship at sea. Once you have this working, you will find that it keeps rather good rate even if the entire clock is tipped to one side 5 or 10 degrees.

Both pendulums are what we call compound pendulums. Normally, a pendulum of the length from pivot to bottom weight would swing much faster, the top weights slow down the motion. In this clock, the slower motion is very pleasing to the eye.

The last knockoff I saw had the pendulums geared together, there was an portion of a gear wheel from each pendulum that met in the middle, see third pic. Harrison had cross connected very thin steel bands in lieu of a meshing gear set. Of course, this knockoff uses ugly bolts and nuts to hold the adjustment weights, They should at least used threaded brass rod and knurled brass nuts, or at least loctite'd then into the top assembly. Sheesh, what were they thinking?

The only caveat I can think of is with the grasshopper escapement. Be very careful winding it, as it may NOT be entirely stable during the wind. That was one fault of the grasshopper escapement, when you wind it and lose force on the grasshopper, it may not engage the escape wheel properly and allows the wheel to spin. If that happens, when the grasshopper does touch the escape wheel, it will be toast.

John
 

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Tinker Dwight

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Take a close look at the escapement wheel. I'm afraid it is already damaged.
Tinker Dwight
 

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