Unmarked "Skeleton" movement. Could it be a home made project?

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
I just picked up this "skeleton" movement size 23cm x 12cm x 8cm made of brass, on a online sale in South Africa.

I was wondering if anyone has come across this design of movement at any stage.

Is it a home made movement by an aspiring clockmaker?

It has no markings, no pendulum,dial, glass dome or wooden base.

I do however, have some grand plans for it if I can get it up and running :-0

Mark

2018976_130614195630_111.JPG 2018976_130614195718_117.JPG 2018976_130614195703_112.jpg
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
46,961
1,996
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
No, I've seen it. Not sure where. Maybe ebay. Could be Chinese in origin.
 

curly

NAWCC Member
May 17, 2001
74
1
8
76
Northern Wisconsin
Country
Region
I don't think it's Chinese, most of those have a fusee movement and the hands don't look chinese either. but what do I know...just my opinion.

Curly
 

John Hubby

Senior Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Life Member
Sep 7, 2000
12,294
241
63
The Woodlands, TX
Country
Region
Mark, thanks for posting your "project" clock. I don't think the movement is Chinese, it appears to me to be French or possibly English and of rather good quality. I notice the minute arbor appears to be broken off just outside the front plate. That can be repaired using silver solder or other high-strength brazing or welding. You could make a pendulum or probably purchase one that will work, do a train count and the BPH can be calculated and from that the approximate pendulum length.

Keep us posted on your progress, this could turn into quite an attractive clock.
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Hi John, I have a question.
As you correctly said the minute arbor is broken.

I do not have access to a silver solder or brazing set up.

The arbor is about 2.5mm in diameter.

Can I drill into the center of the shaft with say a 1.0mm drill bit and insert metal dowel, and then use soft solder to support the joint. The minute hand arbor is not taking any real strain.

Not ideal I know but what do you think?

Thanks

Mark IMG-20130629-01373.jpg
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region
You could drill and dowel mark, but you have to ensure you were drilling absolute centre. And you would prob need a lathe to do it. Alternatively making a new part of the shaft, fitting into a central hole with a pegged/dowelled end and then lathing the new part of the shaft to same diameter. This would mean if you did drill slightly off centre it wouldn't matter so much.

Don't know what tooling you have? As john said, silver solder might do the trick, and is cheap to set yourself up with a solder torch and wire and flux. Might be a less sturdy fix. But then, it doesn't take too much torque when setting the hands so prob be fine.
 

Oldfathertime

Registered User
Sep 8, 2010
516
4
18
S.West U.K.
Country
Region
It looks like it might have been a good clock earlier in life, is that all you have of it?, seems to be a few bits missing, a clock mender may give a better appraisal and a little more research may turn up something, like date and possible maker, would say that it would have been on a wooden base and under a glass dome originally. I very much like skeleton clocks but they are pretty pricey when they do come up. I have a modern example, mounted in a 'mahogany' square case with bevelled glass all round with a drawer in the front but even these are commanding quite a price now.
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
I do love "Skeleton Clocks" and have been looking for one for some time now.

I have stripped and cleaned the movement.

I has one or two problems.

The cover on the barrel has been damaged and is held in place by solderd on lugs. In the "Hall of shame" section.
The minute hand Arbor is broken. I will get a Jeweler to silver solder it up for me.
There was a bent arbor which I manage to get fairly straight.
Some little "gems" have been badly soldered to the hour hand. I will get those off.
The dial is missing, as is the pendulum.
Will have to trawl the internet for those:-(
I have a base and glass dome that will fit.
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

I have begun to clean up the "Skeleton Movement" that I found and found a nice base for it too. Some small problems but after some good advice here on the forum, (thanks guys) I can move forward.
However I am a bit confused about how the pendulum would have been hung on the movement.
There is no bracket or mounting arrangement at the back of the movement, all I can see is a blue steel pin through both front and back plate with a hole bored through it horizontally at the back end . The front of the pin it is square(like the one which is often at the top of a french clock movement.) For a key? There is also a normal looking crutch so I don't think the pendulum was too unusual.

There was no pendulum the clock so it is a bit of a mystery.

Any Ideas please?

Thanks
Mark

Sandton-20130701-01399.jpg IMG-20130701-01403.jpg Sandton-20130630-01394.jpg
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

I think that might suggest it is a silk thread hung arrangement. The squared end at the front would be for turning the arbor to regulate the movement. The thread would be threaded through the hole you mention and secured before being wound around it. That arbor is probably friction fit?
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

Here's a pic of one of mine. the difference is that I think your one has no post to tie off onto before threading through the arbor, so will be tied and wound on what you have. You can see that the pendulum leader on mine has a brass block on it. So you might want to look for a similar pendulum. This stabilises the pendulum whilst swinging, as the thread does little to stabilise. A suspension spring type will keep things in line, where all other factors are right of course.
silk thread.jpg
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Hi Shimmystep. I have never come across a silk tread arrangement before. I guess that will help date the clock a bit more accurately?

Can't imagine the they are being incorporated in to replicas .

The Brass plates of the clock are pitted and most components look fairly old.

John thought perhaps English or French.

A dial or face would have been a help.

I have worked on some French clocks and the wheels look very similar in design although a lot bigger.

The Barrel is 57mm so that is some indication.

Silk thread should be interesting!!Lol

Thanks

Mark
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

You're welcome. Silk thread suspensions do indicate an earlier movement. However it might be that way because it is early, or for simplicity or preference, hard to say. I use a synthetic button thread to replace, thicker than normal cotton and has a similar wind pattern to the original silk thread so looks good. Others have different preferences.
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

Thank you.

It would be better to order one of these I guess from timesavers ?
They will be able to calculate the pendulum weight I will need I guess.

Mark
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

After reading your post and looking at the picture you posted. I went back to the movement to look at how the tread could have been anchored. I notice a small bit of brass sticking out of the the clamp that holds the pallet in place. In a lump old solder and a blob of glue, in the box that the clock came in I found the missing bit that I had not noticed. That will teach me to look more carefully. This bit I can make and repair the hanger.

Many Thanks

Mark
Johannesburg-20130701-01404.jpg
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

Well excellent, you have all you need for the thread suspension once repaired.
 

laumeg

Registered User
Jan 22, 2011
573
8
18
Houston, Texas
Country
Region
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

Hi, Interesting movement, Just responding re. the thread suspension. French clocks are known for having silk thread suspensions. French comtoise had them up until about 1850. It seems that I have also heard of it on some French mantle clocks. Charles
 

shimmystep

Registered User
Mar 5, 2012
4,105
84
48
Cambridge, UK
Country
Region
Correct Mark, the swing time doesn't depend on the mass of the pendulum though. More important is the length of the leader.
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,249
299
83
Country
Hi John, I have a question.
As you correctly said the minute arbor is broken.

I do not have access to a silver solder or brazing set up.
<snip>

Not ideal I know but what do you think?

Thanks

Mark 171763.jpg
I prefer welding. This longcase center wheel was gas welded. Tig would probably be better.

IMG_4519_(640_x_480).jpg IMG_4525_(1024_x_768).jpg

Ralph
 

John Hubby

Senior Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
NAWCC Star Fellow
NAWCC Life Member
Sep 7, 2000
12,294
241
63
The Woodlands, TX
Country
Region
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

After reading your post and looking at the picture you posted. I went back to the movement to look at how the tread could have been anchored. I notice a small bit of brass sticking out of the the clamp that holds the pallet in place. In a lump old solder and a blob of glue, in the box that the clock came in I found the missing bit that I had not noticed. That will teach me to look more carefully. This bit I can make and repair the hanger.

Many Thanks, Mark
No question now that your movement originally had a silk suspension, which also confirms is was almost certainly French and likely made sometime in the 1800-1850 period. Regarding weight of the pendulum, the generic silk thread pendulum from Timesavers would be just fine. They aren't very heavy but don't need to be, just heavy enough to trip the escapement on each swing. You can even replace the bob with something decorative of the same approximate weight since you are building a "custom" clock.

Finding a dial could be more of a challenge. A quick check of the usual parts suppliers didn't show a whole lot of things that might be adapted to your movement. However, I've not done an eBay search and there may be other sources to find a dial that would be in the form of a chapter ring of the right diameter with open center to show off the fancy hour gear. Many skeleton clocks also have skeletonized dials custom made for the specific clock.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

John.
Thank you for all the info. I is great to find that the clock is a oldie.
I have started trawling the internet but I am prepared to wait.
My sister is in the UK, so I buy online and have the bits sent to her and the on to me in South Africa in one parcel or with a visiting relative, otherwise the postage is a killer.
Thank you of all the good advice and expertise.
It may take a while to complete, but I will post the result.
It sure feels good to rescue something of such beauty, that was heading for the scrap heap.

Mark
 

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Re: Unmarked "Skeleton" movement.What type of pendulum?

Hi John, A new mainspring, a turned over barrel cap which now fits tightly. A silk thread pendulum and an Enamel Dial from the scrap box. And this little clock is back in use.

Thank you for all the help and support. Will look for a more appropriate dial and fit when it comes along.

IMG-20130727-01523.jpg
 

Attachments

Just-in-time

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
525
5
18
South Africa
Country
Shimmy,
Could not have done it without your assistance and input. Thank you to all for the advice and tips. If can can save one clock a year from the dump, I am happy.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
167,159
Messages
1,456,618
Members
87,340
Latest member
Jerrydodge
Encyclopedia Pages
1,057
Total wiki contributions
2,914
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller