Recoil Clicks

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Tom McIntyre, Nov 29, 2007.

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  1. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    #1 Tom McIntyre, Nov 29, 2007
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    I commented incorrectly on a recoil click in another thread that I had thought was Fitch's patent, but is really Aune's patent. That got me to thinking about these little mechanisms and what their history might be.

    Some of us are really fond of these little mechanisms. There can be almost as interesting as patent regulators. What is the earliest patent for a recoil click that we know of? What are your favorite examples?

    I will post Fitch's patent here and perhaps Jerry will repost the Aune patent here also.

    Fitch's Patent.jpg
     
  2. Jerry Treiman

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    #2 Jerry Treiman, Nov 29, 2007
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    I find it curious that Waltham did not use the Fitch patent recoiling click, patented in 1906, until much later. It wasn't until the 1940s that Waltham introduced a new recoiling click, with separate return spring, that functionally matches the Fitch patent. Here is the 1909 Aune patent click that Waltham used from 1909 until around World War II.
    AunePat.jpg
     
  3. Jerry Treiman

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    #3 Jerry Treiman, Nov 30, 2007
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    Another Waltham curiosity is found in this private label movement for Bigelow Kennard & Co. The patented recoiling click is used only on movements made for this long-established Boston jeweler.

    65.jpg

    B.K. & Co. specified that these watches be made for them with their own patented click. The click is protected under this 1904 British patent by H.H. Lake and was used on these private-label movements (and only on these movements) from 1904 until the Aune patent was granted in 1909.
    LakePat3.jpg
     
  4. Jerry Treiman

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    Ignoring the Lake patent for these special order watches, Waltham did not use a recoiling click on most of their production until the Aune click in 1909. One has to wonder why they did not use the Fitch patent earlier, considering the value of the recoiling click.
     
  5. Tom McIntyre

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    #5 Tom McIntyre, Nov 30, 2007
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    My favorite click is the 5 tooth click that DeLong patented for the Illinois Watch Co. It is much later than these Waltham efforts and Illinois had a large lobe click that provided the minimum recoil function that they used both before and after the DeLong click.

    66.jpg
    Click to make it bigger.

    Delong Pat.jpg
     
  6. Jerry Treiman

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    #6 Jerry Treiman, Dec 1, 2007
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    Here is another recoiling click patent held by Waltham (invented by Olof Ohlson). Like Fitch's it bears a 1906 patent date. Although it bears a striking resemblance to Aune's 1909 patent, the position and function of the spring portion is reversed. I am not aware that this was ever used on any watches. Both the Ohlson and Aune patents offer a much simpler assembly than many others (like the Fitch patent) by combining the spring with the click.

    Ohlson click.jpg
     
  7. Jerry Treiman

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    #7 Jerry Treiman, Dec 1, 2007
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    As fond as I am of Waltham, I find that Elgin was ahead of the curve on a number of technical issues. Here are a couple of variants of Elgin's recoiling click. I believe it was used as early as 1895, almost fourteen years before Waltham introduced theirs.

    rclicks.jpg
     
  8. Jerry Treiman

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    #8 Jerry Treiman, Dec 16, 2007
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    Here is another distinctive recoiling click. Who knows which movement this was used on?

    click.jpg
     
  9. Bill Tapp

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    Jerry,
    It from a Hulbard Elgin. These are wonderful little watches.
     
  10. Jerry Treiman

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    What is wonderful about research?
    What is frustrating about research?

    The answer is the same to both questions ... it is never done.

    I have wrapped up one major research article and am sending that manuscript to reviewers and am now delving into my Bigelow, Kennard & Co. research again. An important aspect of that is their use the neat little recoiling click that I showed in post #3. The history of the recoiling click has brought me back to this thread with two questions and one new discovery.

    The first question is really just reiterating Tom's request for early recoiling click designs or patents. Can anyone share some early designs?

    No.2 is, does anyone know the patent for Elgin's click? It might provide the answer to question No.1

    I also did a quick search for recoiling clicks in our U.S. patent database. It did not turn up the Fitch, Ohlson, Aune or DeLong clicks. (What search words will find those?). However, my search did give me something I did not know about the Lake patent click. I knew that the Lake patent is a British patent dated July 2, 1904. My U.S. Patent search showed me the U.S. patent for the identical device, filed February 3, 1904 (and granted July 12, 1904). The U.S. patent, though, was filed by Frank R. Cunningham, also assigned to Bigelow, Kennard & Co. While the British patent is pretty sparse on words, in the U.S. patent Cunningham claims to be the inventor. So why did BK&Co. feel the necessity to have someone file for a British patent. A quick search of British patents brings up Lake's name numerous times. Was he an inventor, as he appears in the British records, or just an agent for inventors elsewhere?
     
  11. Nathan Moore

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    Jerry, it is quite plausible that you already have found your answer for this one. In case not, the patent click used by Elgin is #596,407, issued to George Hunter on December 28, 1897 under the description "Winding Mechanism for Mainspring Barrels."

    https://www.google.com/patents/US596407 313664.png
     

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