Scientific Timing by C Purdom

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Mike Miller, Nov 30, 2002.

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  1. Mike Miller

    Mike Miller Registered User

    Dec 2, 2001
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    Is anyone familiar with this book? I just received it and am in the process of going through it. Fairly technical, but seemingly lacking in detail as to how he came up with his conclusions on timing in positions. Does anyone know how this book was received when published in 1947?

    Mike Miller

    NAWCC Member #154831
     
  2. Mike Miller

    Mike Miller Registered User

    Dec 2, 2001
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    Is anyone familiar with this book? I just received it and am in the process of going through it. Fairly technical, but seemingly lacking in detail as to how he came up with his conclusions on timing in positions. Does anyone know how this book was received when published in 1947?

    Mike Miller

    NAWCC Member #154831
     
  3. Steve Maddox

    Steve Maddox Guest

    I read a part of that book one time, enough to figure out that I thought the author was a crackpot. I can't remember exactly what it was right now, but as soon as I read something that I knew for sure was totally out in left field, I decided not to waste any more of my time with it, and I moved on to something else.

    It seems like a lot of it was a bunch of "hocus pocus" that gave examples of how different timing results were achieved. "Remove the balance wheel, rub the hairspring clockwise with the whisker from a white cat, and it'll make the watch run 2 seconds per day faster in the 'pendant-up' position," -- really "goofy" stuff like that (not literally, but almost that bad).

    If memory serves, I think that's the book with the "psychedelic" hairspring drawings, and if it is, I've never seen anything like those before anywhere else in my life (but for what it's worth, LSD was legal in those days!).

    Steve Maddox
    President, NAWCC Chapter #62
    North Little Rock, Arkansas
     
  4. Mike Miller

    Mike Miller Registered User

    Dec 2, 2001
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    Steve, You are correct that it is the one with the "psychedelic" hairspring drawings. And it is a very odd writing style. Kind of like Yoda.

    But the basis of the book is the theory of Scientific Timing, which I gather was something that Charles Purdom, founded and professed. The book itself was aranges by Orville R Hagans, who was President of American Academy of Horology and editor of The American Horologist and Jeweler. So apparently he had found one person who understood what he was talking about.

    I haven't written the book off as hocus pocus quite yet, but I am having a hard time following the thought train. Anyone else able to digest this book?

    Mike Miller

    NAWCC Member #154831
     
  5. towrope

    towrope Registered User

    Jun 6, 2002
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    Having just received this book over the Holidays and having had time to read it, I think it should be remembered that it was being peddled in conjunction with the Watchmaster timing machine.
    The best way I can put it is that it deals with the dynamic as opposed to the static balance of the escapement.
    We all are familiar with the old bubble balances for balancing car tires. We realize that spin balancing was and is a much better way to balance wheels. It takes into account the bearings, brakes and the rest of the rotating mass of the wheel.
    Mr. Purdom was talking about the dynamic balance of the hairspring and the escapement itself. Not just poise, but dynamic or "moving poise" The "goofy" diagrams are an attempt to show the differing centers of mass of the hairspring in various positions.
    The book was touting the then virtually unknown "science" of electronic watch timing. Mr. Purdom apparently spent many thousands of hours with various watchmakers teaching them to use the Watchmaster as an aid to timing in positions as well as an aid to troubleshooting.
    If you'll notice the prerequisites to using the Watchmaster for timing to positions, it requires the watch to be as close to mechanical perfection as it can be. And then we're only talking about the improvement of timing by a matter of seconds per month!
    The stroking or touching of the hairspring with a needle was a way of making microscopic adjustments to the hairspring. The proof was the improvement in the diagrams made.
    I realize that much of this is immaterial now when no one uses a mechanical watch in a critical occupation. I believe that what is said in the book is useful if we read it in the context in which it was written. It is NOT a book for beginners!!!
    towrope
    Jay Thomas
    NAWCC member #0156966
     
  6. Julian Smith

    Julian Smith Registered User

    Sep 1, 2000
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    I asked Henry Fried about this book.He said he knew Mr. Purdom and he was a "soft soap salesman".He said rubbing the hairspring with a needle might change the rate for a few minutes but was not a permanent fix.
    J Smith
     
  7. towrope

    towrope Registered User

    Jun 6, 2002
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    I was wondering about how long the tweaking would last, but didn't know from experience. I think some of the material is valid, however. Still the information presented is mostly intended for highly experienced watchmakers,not newbies.
    The major drawback that I see from a timing machine is that it shortens the time for rating a watch to a very short amount of time. Problems that might show up in a few hours or days will not be seen. Still it was a major advance in watchmaking.
    Towrope
    Jay Thomas
    NAWCC member #0156966
     

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