Posted frame 30hr longcase by William Wise of Wantage

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by chrisuk, Mar 29, 2019.

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  1. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2010
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    Introduction.

    I have been on the lookout for a 30hr single hand longcase clock for many years, you can't rush these things, but not found any locally and those on a famous internet auction site tended to be 'buyer collect', 'no returns', 'expensive shipping costs' etc, and I didn't want to drive long distances in order to find out that they were not the clock for me. Finally one turned up which was only 6 miles away and so I bought an 18th century 80 inches tall brass dialled (10 inch) single hand longcase clock with posted frame movement in running order by William Wise of Wantage. As I expected closer examination showed that some work sould be beneficial or essential, details follow.



    The pendulum.

    This has a replacement suspension spring, has had its length increased and the bob is badly damaged. The rating nut was right at the lower limit of its travel and my Microset timer showed that the rate was 3583bpi. I melted the lead out of the bob and reshaped the brass shell as far as possible then made a carboard cylinder to fit around the bob. This cylinder had a lower second layer fitted inside to form a ledge for the brass shell. The bottom pendulum fitting was wrapped in a couple of layers of paper and passed from side to side through the cylinder just above the shell. I melted sufficient lead in a 2oz tobacco tin, picked this up with a surgical clamp ( they grip well and lock in place) then poured it into the cylinder. Once cooled it is easy to withdraw the pendulum fitting as the paper has prevented the lead sticking to it.

    Wise_bob_front_before.jpg
    Wise_bob_front_after_recast.jpg

    I'll get to the pendulum extension later.



    The movement.

    Wise_movt_back_before.jpg
    A typical arrangement with the going train at the front and the striking behind. The pillars are rectangular, the movement bars show signs of hammering, are held in place with wedges, one is a replacement, and have cruciform side extensions. There is very little wear on the wheelwork considering the age of the clock so it must have stood idle a lot of the time. One or two pivot holes have been closed by punching around them. There are no redundant holes in the brass so a marriage between dial and movement is unlikely.

    The going train has Great wheel 84, 2nd 6/72, Escape 6/42, Pinion of report 16 and hour 48 giving a required rate of 3528 bph with the Great wheel turning three times in 12 hours. The front pivot of the hour wheel is the hole in the dial a flexible brass spring holds the hour wheel in place. The pallets have been refaced with small slips of watch mainspring and the fork refixed to the crutch rod. The escapement layout is standard with the pallets spanning 10½ teeth of the 42 tooth escape wheel.

    The strike work is unusual in having pins for locking and warning, no hoop wheels, just one arbor carrying locking and warning detents with the lifting piece and countwheel detents fitted on squares at each end, they are a good close fit. The countwheel has protusions instead of slots, they work in the same manner as if they were pins. When striking is to stop the countwheel detent is raised bringing the locking detent up with it and the train stops. At warning the lifting piece carries the locking detent up with it until this clears the locking pin. The train is now free to run but the warning detent is now in the path of the pin on the warning wheel so motion is arrested. When the lifting piece drops it takes the warning detent with it the train runs and the locking detent falls back to the locked poition. During the striking of the first blow the countwheel detent drops from the protusion on the countwheel so the train can run freely.

    The strike train has 13 pins on a Great wheel of 78 teeth, which turns six times in twelve hours, carries a pinion of eight teeth driving a countwheel of 48 teeth. This pinion is only held in place by the presence of the countwheel. The other train counts are Locking 6/60, Warning 6/48 and Fly 6.


    The only work required to the movement was cleaning. During assembly I found the setup of the striking quite tricky as all the detents and the lifting piece move together. The great wheels were obviously designed for use with chains as there are cutouts for the links to rest in. The weight pulley is modern.

    Wise_going_train_after.jpg

    Wise_striking_train_after.jpg

    Wise_pallets_after.jpg


    The dial.


    Brass with primitive engraving af a coastal scene in the centre, a separate chapter ring and spandrels. The spandrels of a scroll type popular 1760 – 85. The dial has a coat of lacquer but I cleaned down the chapter ring and resilvered it.

    Wise_dial_after.jpg

    The hand.

    Of steel and typical of designs used in the 18th century. The square hole in the hand is not a very good fit on the square at the end of the hour arbor, about a ¼ of an hour's slack. I made some tiny wedges to hold it in the correct position.

    The weight.

    Made of lead, 12lb 12oz which is too heavy. I experimented with lighter ones then cut the original down to 7lb.

    Wise_weight_pendulum.jpg


    The case.


    Of dark oak 80 inches high, the plinth starts very close to the lower beading on the bottom panel so the case may have been shortened. The marks on the inside of the case back did not line up with the position of the pendulum bob so I wondered if there had been a marriage, so back to the pendulum. The pendulum rod had been lengthened by cutting it and soldering the ends into a piece of copper tube but whoever did this seems to have forgotten that single hand longcase clocks do not have to beat seconds and produced a pendulum that, with the rating nut in the middle of its travel, did beat seconds. Finding that the clock ran fast the rating nut had been moved as far down as possible, but this was not enough. Some of the damage to the bob could have been an attempt to move its centre of mass further down As received the clock was beating 3583 per hour. The square section rating screw was badly damaged and broke in two as I turned the rating nut. I cut it away and silver soldered a new square section rod into the bottom block of the pendulum then cut a thread into it, filing the end of the square rod into a round taper makes it easy to start cutting the thread. I separated the two sections of rod and stuck one end into a piece of drilled dowelling. I also put the other section of the rod into the dowelling but held it in place by squeezing the dowelling with a clamp, making adjustment of the length easier. Once the length was correct to give 3528 bph the pendulum bob lined up with the marks on the inside of the case back. As the beat rate is non standard this is a good sign.

    Wise_general_view.jpg

    Historical notes.

    Wantage was part of Berkshire but is now in Oxfordshire and lies about 15 miles south west of Oxford.

    I could only find two photos of other clocks by William Wise, both of 30hr duration. Both were two handed clocks but one of them had a chapter ring marked with quarted hours and no extra minute division, a possible later conversion. Both had similar primitive engraving in the dial centre, the building with a smoking chimney was on the left on both of them but one had field to the right and the other a river. The cases were of a similar flat top style to mine, one was mid-range oak in colour, the other had been stripped of all original finish so was very light.


    Other notes.

    I must keep this clock out of earshot of the ticking of a standard longcase clock as the ticking of each would synchronise only once every 51 seconds and this varying rhythm would drive me nuts.
     
  2. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Welcome to my world :)

    Nice job, odd that you get marine scenes about as far from the see as you can get. Nice quirky anchor too.
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Very nice.

    I'm particularly partial to that dial.

    Wonderful bit of folk art. That seaside cottage, ship and a great close-up of a seagull or some other sort of aquatic bird in flight. Rather phoenix like? The kind of bird that might decorate the crest of a mirror or other objects made in the same period as the clock.

    RM
     
  4. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Perhaps a ho ho bird.
     
  5. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Quite a fluid bit of engraving that, and a nice touch the same idea for the half hour markers. These late 18th century engraved dials have a bit of a following, particularly the sailing scenes. I sold one recently.

    s-l1600.jpg
     
  6. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    A nice longcase, especially the dial, I too spent a while finding a single handed one. Train counts in these clocks can vary quite a bit. According to Barder's book English Country Grandfather Clocks the Wise family were a long line of clockmakers in Wantage dating from the late 1600s to the late 1700s, at least two of them were called William. The book illustrates the 12" dial of a two handed clock by a William Wise, said to be the last of the clockmaking family, dating to circa 1775, the centre is engraved in what the author calls an arabesque pattern, the rococo spandrels are described as unusual but aren't the same as the ones we have here.
     
  7. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2010
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    Thanks for your interest and the information from Barder. 'The Longcase Clock Reference Book' by John Robey gives many examples of train counts for single hand clocks.
    Chris
     
  8. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Darken & Hooper is excellent for train counts, they give them for every clock in the book.
     
  9. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User
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    I borrowed a copy of Barder's book and the hand in the photo (plate 53) matches the one on my clock except for the fact that the photo shows a two handed clock so the hour hand has no tail. Many clocks of this period with engraving in the dial centre had the centre silvered so I decided to silver mine. I've added a better photo of the movement as well as one of the dial.
    Wise_movt.jpg Wise_dial_centre_silvered.jpg

    What are your views about the silvering? Best wishes, Chris
     
  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Quite right to silver it, remember lighting in the evening would be very low, you need the silvering to bring out the contrast.
     
  11. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I personally like brass dials to be silvered. Here is a before and after. The intent will be to recreate the look of the "boss" on the silvering of dial and the calendar ring. So, I still have work to do. As is it is too new looking for the rest of the clock case and the like. Not certain what to do with the spandrels as those in the arch and those around the dial are clearly not of similar brass mixtures.

    20190416_120037 (2).jpg 20190422_105404 (2).jpg
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    The chap who does my clocks has had a lot of success with coloured lacquer, mixing his own from what's available. My Richard Fennel had one odd spandrel, you can't see any difference now.

    richard fennel.jpg
     
  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Nice work on the color matching on the spandrels. Your fellow does nice work.
     
  14. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2010
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    An update regarding the accuracy and stability of this single handed clock. I regulated the clock first then checked the striking. There is very little shake in the pivots of the lifting piece so the main source of inaccuracy in the start of the striking will be due to imperfections in the cutting of the star wheel, a minute in time is only 1/2 a degree of turn. Using a timer to record the first blow struck at each hour over a period of several days showed that the time that an individual hour struck could vary by about five seconds, however the time away from the true start time varied for each of the hours. Taking twelve as being on time then '1' would be twenty seconds early, '2' would be 16 seconds late etc. The greatest errors occurred for 5 and six o'clock '5' would be 1 minute 8 seconds early and '6' would be 1 minute 7 seconds late.

    Prior to making these checks on the striking I had used a Microset timer to regulate the clock and save the results to a Laptop. For a simple three wheel mechanism they were excellent. I arranged for one reading to be taken for every 84 ticks (one turn of the escape wheel) over a period of nearly a whole week and here is a sample of the rates measured.
    Wise-rates.JPG
    As a next stage I did a moving average of twelve readings, one turn of the second wheel, and only six seconds per vertical division on the graph.
    Wise-average-per-second-wheel-rev.JPG

    The resulting ocsillation in the rate stumped me for a while 'till I noted that there were six cycles in four hours, one revolution of the great wheel, and there are six spikes on the chain pulley. Averaging over this forty minute period produced the following, with three seconds per division.
    Wise-average-per-spike-on-pulley-3-sec.JPG

    Finally, averaging over one evolution of the great wheel, four hours gave.
    Wise-average-per-great-wheel-rev.JPG
    So there you are, a very stable clock which you can only be certain of when (a) an hour strikes, (b) you have the standard-error-for-each-hour-table handy and (c) you're not bothered to within five seconds anyway. Still I think that the exercise was worth doing!
     
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  15. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    There is an 8 day by him coming up shortly.
     
  16. NigelW

    NigelW Registered User

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    Your observations about the rate are very interesting. I understand what you say about the striking, having made a ratch/star wheel myself for a lantern clock. This way of initiating the strike is inherently less accurate and less consistent than having a pin on the cannon pinion of a two handler.

    What I find particularly interesting, if I understand your analysis correctly, is that there is a variation in rate corresponding to the relationship of the chain to the spikes on the great wheel. This surprises me as I can't really see how the spikes would cause any significant variation in torque and in any case anchor escapements are supposed to be less sensitive to variations in driving force than, for example, dead beats. Do the spikes perhaps cause a little bit of friction as the links slide off them, or does the geometry change very slightly, causing the effective radius acted on by the weight, and hence the torque, to vary?
     
  17. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I had a clock with poorly fitting chain that used to bunch up a bit and then release. This was most noticeable on the strike but must have happened on the time as well perhaps to a lesser degree as it moved more slowly.
     
  18. NigelW

    NigelW Registered User

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    That's interesting. I wonder if a spike and cord system would behave in the same way.
     
  19. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I think not, a rope doesn't have to fit in the same way apart from diameter which will be pretty consistent.

    Chains stretch, and not necessarily evenly, and they get replaced, not always with the original link size.
     
  20. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User
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    Thanks for your comments. In this case a very old chain and worn spikes will be the main factors behind the uneven drive.
     

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