Thomas RUSSELL & Son, Liverpool EARNSHAW spring detent going barrel movement

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by John Matthews, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I attach pictures of a Thomas Russell & Son half plate Earnshaw spring detent going barrel movement. It is in rather dirty, albeit working, condition. Under Graham's guidance I am going to apply a film of light oil to the detent and spring in an attempt to prevent any further deterioration prior to servicing.

    The base plate of the size 18 movement has Russell's stamp (T.R) together with the serial number. The dial is signed by the maker and is designated as a Breguet Chronometer. David Penney believes that this refers to the presence of a balance spring with Breguet overcoil replacing a helical spring. I assume this. together with the regulated spring, rather than being free-sprung, would have resulted in a somewhat cheaper construction. Whether this might also have provided a more resilient mechanism, I am not sure and would welcome comment.

    The address of 12 Church Street was a popular one in 1900. In Gores Liverpool and Birkenhead directory of that year, three businesses are listed under watch makers, Russell & Son, Roskells and John Morgan. Russell & Son are additionally listed under chronometer makers. The first instance I can find of Russells listed at that address is 1893, being previously listed at 43 Catherine Street in 1889. I therefore believe the movement dates from c1895.

    John

    20180609 007.jpg 20180609 006.jpg 02.jpg 20180609 005.jpg 20180609 004.jpg 20180609 003.jpg 20180609 001.jpg
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,348
    1,096
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John,

    I don't think there would have been a lot of difference in costs between the two, as they would both have had to be set up and rated to begin with in much the same way, and the additional cost of a helical hairspring would be a very small proportion of the overall total. The freesprung type would not be so susceptible to owners tinkering, (a positive advantage on the whole!), but for a pocket instrument the reduction in height with a flat as opposed to a helical hairspring would be an advantage and would give perfectly adequate performance for this type of watch.

    Resilience isn't a major feature of any detent escapements; for all their virtues it's probably the main disadvantage.

    I do notice that the screws on the balance have been 'modified' in various ways, and also that the escape teeth have signs of wear, or perhaps just dirt, on their tips.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  3. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Graham,

    My thanks for your comments on the balance and the pointing out the resultant reduction in height.

    I think you are correct there is some wear on the tips of the escape teeth, I think the presence of the dirt is emphasising it. I can see that some of the balance screws have a circumferential chamfer and others have had flats filed. Now I look it appears that most of the balance screws are bottomed out. Do you think the modifications were done in an attempt to lighten the balance, as we have discussed elsewhere?

    John

    upload_2018-6-14_14-46-11.png
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,348
    1,096
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John,

    Well, that's certainly the effect it will have, causing the rate to increase, together with a possible alteration in the poise, if as seems likely, not all were done at the same time or even by the same hand, judging by the variety of 'techniques' used to lighten the screws. I notice that the quarter screws aren't fully home, which would have made a difference to the rate in the same direction if they were.

    It's a shame to mar a fine balance like this.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  5. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
    Staff Member NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Ruby Member Sponsor

    Aug 24, 2000
    81,802
    1,298
    176
    Male
    retired SW dev
    Boston
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    For dedicated chronometricians, resilience is a defect. They are not interested in the approximately correct time. :)
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  6. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    The movement has now been serviced together with some relatively minor repair. The work undertaken included a thorough service, fitting a new mainspring, dressing balance staff pivots, reinstatement of some missing mainspring barrel stopwork elements, steel corrosion stabilisation and the replacement and refurbishment of screws.

    DSCF7790.jpg DSCF7774.jpg DSCF7783.jpg

    Examination of the movement during the service, revealed good quality workmanship. Corrosion on the steelwork was not found to be severe.

    DSCF7594.jpg DSCF7596.jpg

    Batch punch marks were observed both on the edge of the pillar plate and on the underside of the top plate, from which it is inferred that this movement was probably the second movement in a batch of four at some stage of its manufacture.

    DSCF7575.jpg DSCF7597.jpg

    The underside of the top plate also has the last two digits of the serial number.

    DSCF7598.jpg

    Batch marks, as 3 + 1 triangular punch marks, were also found on components of the keyless work.

    DSCF7786.jpg DSCF7807.jpg

    A train count established that a balance frequency of 18,000 bph.

    I found an 'acceptable' set of hands and the movement has performed well in a short test run. The difficulty of winding these keyless movements will mean that it will not be run frequently.

    20191125 001.jpg 20191125 002.jpg 20191125 004.jpg 20191125 007.jpg 20191125 005-2.jpg

    My thanks to Graham for his excellent work and comprehensive documentation.

    John
     
    SKennedy, Keith R..., viclip and 2 others like this.
  7. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    Hi John, very much as an aside and referring back to your original post, I am not sure that an address for Thomas Russell and Son was ever in Catherine Street. My information is that it was consistently, from 1848 onwards, on either Slater Street or Church Street. This, 'here' is the best precis of the chronology of the companies that I can find currently.

    I have often wondered, yet never troubled to investigate, how the trade directories of this Victorian ere were structured and funded. If, as I suspect, like 'Yellow Pages' payment had to be made for such an entry then it would cast doubt on their completeness I think. I have also found, in many of the directories that I have referenced, that duplicate entries are present for the same tradesman, sometimes with work and residential addresses and/ or with manufacture and retail addresses.

    Lovely watch John and the first detent by Russell that I have seen, so thank you for that.

    regards

    dave
     
  8. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Dave - many thanks for the link which I had not seen before.

    I agree with you comments about trade directories - interpretation certainly has to be accompanied by a health warning. They definitely can never be taken as providing a complete record. I usually try to remember to provide a source when using such records - in this particular case I failed to do so. My apology.

    As you surmised the Catherine Street address is from Kelly's 1894 trade directory but what I failed to spot was that the 12 Church Street address is also given. So clearly the inference I made in my first post was, ill-founded.

    upload_2019-11-27_15-24-30.png

    However previously in 1883 the address given was 18 Church Street ...

    upload_2019-11-27_15-26-16.png

    At this point I considered whether these two addresses referred to the same building and there had been a re-numbering of Church Street, on balance I don't think this is the case and there are probably discrete addresses. They certainly are today ...

    Church Street & Church Alley.JPG

    I note that in the link we have ...

    By 1877 the company had moved the business once more, this time to Cathedral Works, 12 Church Street, Liverpool, with additional offices at Piccadilly in London and Toronto, Canada.
    However this is at odds with the addresses in their advertisement from 1880 as are many of the references

    Russell 1880 advert.JPG

    So putting all that together I infer from the photograph in the advertisement, that Cathedral Works was possibly on the corner of Church Street and Church Alley. You or someone with local knowledge will probably be able to agree with, or correct, my inference (some old photographs here may help). In 1880 the two brothers were sharing offices with the address as on the advertisement, Sandon Buildings, Post Office Place. By 1883 Thomas and Son had moved to 18 Church Street with an outlet in London. The listing in 1894 has the 18 Church Street occupied in the name of Thomas Robert and the business address for Thomas Russell & Sons was 12 Church Street. Currently, I infer from the evidence that 12 Church Street was first occupied by Thomas Russell & Sons at a date between 1883 and 1894.

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  9. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    Liverpool 1847.png Liverpool 1865.png L'pool postcard 1890.png

    Hi John, The waters around the two companies that were created between Alfred and Thomas are a wee bit muddy aren't they. I have a bunch of disjointed notes and jottings from my digging around a number of years ago and I never did arrive at a definitive view of who was where, when and doing what. I was always sceptical about the illustration on the advert that you reproduced, thinking it to be a touch of marketing license in response to the period views of huge American watch factories producing hundreds of thousands of watches per year - a tad beyond the capacity of any English maker of the period I suggest. Also, could that really be situated on one of Liverpool's dockland main streets? I have revisited some sites that I used when looking around before and come up with some images that are interesting if nothing else. The first is from Ackerman's Map of 1847 (allegedly mapped from a hot air balloon). The second is 1865 and I think from a London Evening News creation. This is apparently a more accurate reproduction of the buildings and to a more accurate scale. The third is a postcard dated to 1890.

    I would imagine that Thomas Russell & Son and Russells Ltd may well have occupied a number of properties (12 to 18?) on Church Street, if indeed the businesses were co-located. I don't see any factory chimney anywhere.

    Maps 'here' if you are interested.
     
    John Matthews and Keith R... like this.
  10. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #10 John Matthews, Nov 28, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
    Dave I think the Street's of Liverpool site (link in post #8 - a recommended site for those interested in Liverpool history) and Google Maps enables the position of the Russell buildings to be identified - this photograph of Church Street in 1880 is the key ...

    Church-Street

    The prominent building on the left is now occupied by M&S - Compton Hotel in the postcard you posted. I believe the tall building opposite is Russel's Cathedral Works as displayed in the advert - it is on the corner of Church Street and Church Alley (also in your post card). I believe the representation in the advert is the frontage of the 'works' extending down Church Alley - the part of the building to the left of the 'tower' hidden by the church.

    Photographs today from Google Earth .. M&S first with Church Alley opposite

    M&S with Church Alley opposite.JPG

    12 Church Street ~ Nat West

    12 Church Street looking to M&S.JPG

    18 Church Street ~ Next

    18 Church Street.JPG

    I understand the Russell's main building - the 'Cathedral Works' was destroyed in WWII ...

    Church-1952

    This photograph - also Street's of Liverpool - from 1952 looking down Church Alley, Russell's works no more!

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  11. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    Hi John, If you look at the 3rd image that I posted before: the building just visible on the front right of the picture is St Peter's Church (at the time of the picture the Pro(testant) Cathedral) the building beyond that you can just see 'RUS' below the roof line. I have found other very similar images dated to 1880 which show a little more of the Russell building. I did find one image on which 'RUSSELL WATCHES' was clearly visible, in a different position. I discovered that just as the battery died on my tablet and I'm blowed if I can find it again. If I do, I will post.
     
    John Matthews likes this.
  12. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Dave - I missed the 'RUS' - on your postcard - but I was convinced the building matched the advert. We have a neighbour who has a brother up near Liverpool and I have asked if they can track down some photographs of the building and their famous clock. Sounds as if you have had more success looking on the internet than I did.

    John
     
  13. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    John. a view taken from Church Alley, of the Compton Hotel (opened 1871 - closed 1927). If you look carefully at the building on the left and the text along the wall says, I think, 'Thomas Russell & Son Watches'. I think that this is probably 'The Cathedral Works' on Church Alley that is referred to in the ad. I think that, at that time, the premises on the Church Street - Church Alley corner was No 12 Church Street. It seems that Alfred occupied 12 Church Street and Thomas Robert 18 Church Street, probably opposite ends of the block. Different businesses. Possibly Thomas Russell and Son initially occupied No 12 and later expanded into the Church Alley element? I wish I could find the 'lost' image that I located on my tablet as that had 'Russell Watches' displayed on the wall of (what I think was) No 12, facing St Peter's.

    Compton Hotel 1.jpg
     
  14. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    It's too bloomin' cold to be outside :(. Not the particular image that I was looking for, but a very indistinct offering of 'Russell Watches' on the corner premises and the start of 'CATHEDRAL on the Church Alley element. The picture is from the F W Woolworth Museum and is of the first Woolworth's store in the UK. Image dated 1909.

    liverpool-church-street-woolworths-1909 2.jpg
     
  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    10,348
    1,096
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Dave,

    I think you're correct, (although it's on the right in the picture), but what about the name on the hotel just under the flag staff above the 'Compton Hotel'?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  16. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    :whistle: That'll be Army left then.
     
  17. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Dave - many thanks for these photographs/postcards - interesting that Russels is on the hotel, advertising vs ownership?

    Not sure that 12 was on the corner of Church Street & the Alley - although I do think I may have the incorrect location in post #10. I may be mistaken, but I suspect the even numbers have always been on the south side of Church Street and started at the junction with Whitechapel at the western end. I infer the corner with Church Alley was always >20. Today it is much higher >40, but in the 1880s the Church was still there.

    John
     
  18. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    Hi Graham, I did note the name of the proprietor of the hotel who was, in fact, one William Russell. A quick search did not reveal a William in the watchmaking family so I held back from making mention until I could search a little more.
     
  19. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I was mistaken!

    Having roamed Church Street through the C19th thanks to various web sites, I believe I have identified the location of the various addresses. I initially found references that had the Cathedral Works at 12 Church Street and others at 18. However, I have determined that prior to the levelling of the 'Pro Cathedral' of St Peter's in 1922 by Woolworths, to build a block of retail outlets for their new store, Burtons the Tailors and C&A, the Church Street frontage of Cathedral Works was at 18 Church Street. This was occupied by Thomas Robert Russell, separately, Thomas Russell & Son occupied a unit (No. 1) in Minster Buildings located at 12 Church Street. This is illustrated in the entries in Kelly's Street Directory for 1894. The 'works' is not listed as such and the listing for Church Alley commences with number 8, and likewise make no mention of Cathedral Works.

    1894 Kelly's Liverpool Church Street.JPG 1894 Kelly's Liverpool Church Alley.JPG

    The Woolworths Museum Site referenced above, has a significant amount of interesting information on Church Street, Liverpool.

    The best post card I have this far found of the works' tower is this from 1930 (with the Woolworths retail block on the right hand side stretching up to the works), together with an older photograph of the works frontage.

    Church Street 1930s.JPG Cathedral Works Church Alley.JPG

    Finally, this photograph on the Woolworth's site -1909 looking across Church Street towards Compton Hotel and Woolworths first UK store (the light building with the prominent chimneys in front of the hotel) - has the corner of a building on the right edge with a large 'R' - could this perhaps be the corner of Minster Buildings at 12 Church Street?

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  20. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

    Mar 21, 2005
    2,443
    93
    48
    Male
    Retired military aircraft engineer
    North Wales, UK
    Country Flag:
    I think tradition has it that street numbers started from the closest to the town/city centre with even numbers on the right, which would align with your thoughts. Allan has PM'dt some early images, from one of his books, of water colour paintings of that Church Street/Alley corner and it shows that plot with a derelict and tumbled down building. Next to that is a separate building and then the Old Post Office which Allan numbers as No 20 and the next building, No 22 has the name HELSBY above the door. I recall that you have investigated that name before. I will pass those images to you (dated to 1867) in the morning.

    If, subsequent to redevelopment, that corner plot was No 18 it would mean that No 12 was before St Peter's. I have to admit that my perceptions were based around the 1865 map, allegedly accurate and to scale, which shows 5 buildings from the start of Church Street to the St Peter's plot, which, assuming the Church was not numbered, would make the first plot after the church No 12. Hardly scientific I know. Excellent pictures you have there John.

    In my old notes I have mention of Minster Buildings and Sandon Building, Old Post Office Place but the links to those references are both now 'Error 404'. Thanks to Allan, I now know where Old Post Office Place was.

    It is a shame that we have been unable to go back before c1890 in pictures.

    dave
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  21. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    1,972
    520
    113
    Male
    retired
    Germany
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    B&W Picture Place: St. Peter's Church, Liverpool

    I am pleased Dave I was able to help, and though I find the Russell company a bit late for my taste (almost modern) I still like to look up old references to old Liverpool. So doing I got out my Picton books "memorials of old Liverpool" and looked up Church Ally. It is not even in the Index, which was a surprise. I then looked up St. Peters Church. It turns out the one that was pulled down in 1922, to make room for Woolworths, was the second St. Peters Church built-in 1703. He then says " There was formerly a row of Elm-trees round three sides of the churchyard, and a double row on the side next to Church Ally" So I would say you are right to say the Ally must have been across the road. Another remark by Picton "Was there were people still alive who could remember the trees". That was in 1906, so when Herdman painted St. Peters Church in 1867, he used the artist´s choice to leave out the trees.

    y-48.jpg y-37.JPG
     
    Omexa likes this.
  22. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,977
    786
    113
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Cathedral Works deceased Blitz May 1941 ...

    upload_2019-12-5_7-40-36.png

    John
     

Share This Page