The Midget Quartet

Discussion in '400-Day & Atmos' started by Randy Beckett, Sep 4, 2013.

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  1. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    May 23, 2012
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    I never gave much thought to the little midget 400 day clocks until a couple of years ago. My sister found a Kern at an antique(junk) store, not working, and gave it to me as a gift. I thanked her, all the while thinking it was going to be a joke trying to make this work. Anything that small can’t work reliably, right? They only made them as novelty items, right? Wrong, I was very surprised that, most of them, were not hard to set up and adjust (even though they are slightly different), and appear to run as reliably as the “Big’uns”. Upon studying “The Guide” I was able to identify 4 makers that made these tiny pin pallet models, and I set out to find at least one example of each. I was fortunate enough to acquire the Haller recently, and it completed my search, at least until I find another one. Though they lack the age and character of the clocks usually featured here, I find them very unique and interesting and thought they deserved a little “airtime”. I think they represent one of the last chapters in the evolution of our mechanical torsion clocks that we shouldn’t forget. I like them and hope you do too.
    (L to R) Kern plate#1340f, Schatz Jum7 plate#1013b, Koma plate#1393b, Haller plate#1522
    View attachment 192158
     
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  2. darrahg

    darrahg Moderator
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    Dec 22, 2006
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    I am glad you took the time to show them. Kudos to your sister. I have a mini on my night stand and, as like yours, keeps great time.
     
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  3. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

    Oct 2, 2017
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    I like your clocks. I have a Midget Kern of my own. It has refused to run for long though. It's not as if I have no others and don't understand them very well. I do. However this one wont sustain. The mechanism is clean & free and without the pallets will run right down at some speed. If you stall it - even towards the end of the mainspring the train picks up well. It just doesn't seem able to deliver sufficient impulses. I put it by and wait for a while then I try again. The pendulum has the right wait. The suspension is new & correct. There must be something I need to do with the pin-pallet arrangement. It doesn't throw very far. One day perhaps I will get a result. The fork has been up and down the wire. The beat has been set & reset. It has all been cleaned and tried with oil & without oil. It appears well made clockwork. So what is I want to ask you? Do your Kern clocks all run well?
    Thank you..
     
  4. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User
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    Jun 6, 2016
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    I really enjoy these tiny 400 days. I thought cleaning that minuscule barrel was going to be a nightmare, but surprisingly it was so easy. I find adjusting them tricky, since their size means even the slightest adjustment is going to create huge changes. But once right, they run beautifully. I have a Schatz and a Kern. Hadn't ever seen the Haller. Very nice.
     
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  5. tracerjack

    tracerjack Registered User
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    [QUOTE="Berry Greene, post: 1253135, member: 83938........ So what is I want to ask you? Do your Kern clocks all run well?
    Thank you..[/QUOTE]
    Yes, they run very well. I have only worked on two midgets, but in each case, I found setting the beat a real test of my patience. Both were very difficult to adjust for beat, since even the lightest pressure from my fingers seemed to be too much. I think in both cases I eventually got it right simply because I didn’t give up. It only makes sense that in working on something so small, if the beat is even a tiny bit off, the movement will stop. That’s been my experience. Wonder what others think.
     
  6. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    May 23, 2012
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    Hi Berry,
    Sorry I was late getting back to you, but I don't seem to get to the message board very much anymore.

    Anyway, I have expanded my collection to include 4 midget Kerns, and they all do run very well. Although all the midgets are finicky to set up, it seems the Kerns are among the most forgiving.

    All the midgets, including the Kern, seem to be very sensitive to fork height. Mine are all currently running in display cases in my home and were last wound the first half of last May. They have rotations of about 250, 230, and the other 2 around 210 degrees. The fork is positioned low enough that they will run until the rotation weakens down to around to 180-200 degrees.

    All my midgets we're serviced last May and were oiled with Mobile 1 5w-20 for the first time, as an experiment based on John Hubby's experience. The oil has performed very well so far and the clocks have had no unexpected stoppages.

    I don't recall anythin factory that allows any adjustments to the escapements on the Kerns. Mine are all close enough to run fine, but they do vary slightly in how they impulse from one to the next, which probably explains the differences in rotation.

    I would recommend trying to set the fork height to the lowest position that the clock will not flutter when fully wound, but setting the beat with only 1 turn of power on the mainspring. That's how I do it. Good luck.
     
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  7. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply Randy.
    I'm listening intently and I will get back to it. I very much appreciate the tips and the data.
    To run from May is quite an achievement, even though "400 days". You have done well.
    Best regards, BerryG
     

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