Verge Between Plates: Would You Oil the Pivots?

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Uhralt, Sep 20, 2019.

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  1. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    A general question. I learned that one should oil all pivots that make full turns, but leave the ones that don't, like pivots of levers or rakes, dry. How about the pivots for a verge that is mounted between plates? There are no full turns here, but the pivots move back and forth a lot more than a lever would do, so one could expect some wear if left dry.
    To oil or not to oil, that is the question.

    Uhralt
     
  2. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Yes, I oil them.

    RC
     
  3. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    Yes and a small amount on the pallet surfaces.
     
  4. Dick Feldman

    Dick Feldman Registered User

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    I do not understand the reasoning to oil pivots only if there is a complete revolution. Verge pivot holes have friction and that friction can be reduced by lubrication. A dry verge pivot hole may mean the difference between a clock being reliable and not.
    Best,
    Dick
     
  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I oil them slightly. Same reasoning as DF.
    The shock loading is very slight but it is there. Willie X
     
  6. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you all! That's what I was doing all the time. While oiling a New Haven Black Mantel movement after an overhaul I suddenly remembered that old rule and asked myself "Am I doing it right?". So it seems some "rules" need to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Uhralt
     
  7. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    I always oil verge pivots and as R&A states, I place a small amount on the pallets too.
     
  8. John MacArthur

    John MacArthur Registered User
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    Uhralt - You may be thinking of watch pallet arbor pivots, which are so tiny, and need a "snap" action to work well, that if oiled, might gum up and not work. These are typically left dry. Not true, BTW, of the pallet jewels themselves.
    Johnny
     
  9. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    If it's powered by something other than gravity--spring, pendulum, whatever--oil it. Don't oil gravity levers, flirts, etc.

    Is what I think.
     
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  10. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Of course the pendulum doesn't power anything, and we are mostly talking about pivots associated with various levers. Wheels and pinions are powered and we don't oil them, just their pivots.

    RC
     
  11. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

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    I went to a Horological School for 2 years after graduating High School in the mid 90’s.

    They taught us to never oil pivots that do not revolve 360 degrees. Watches or clocks.

    To this day I still don’t.

    M.
     
  12. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I oil all pivots on verges in clocks. I think opinions do vary, but i still go with oiling pivots and a tiny amount on ew teeth.
     
  13. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Altashot would you mind naming the Horological school that you went to?
     
  14. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    I do. If it is a friction point that can have an effect on power transmission, cause more wear, it gets oiled.

    Posts or surfaces that slide against each other get a bit of grease, just like in watches.
     
  15. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Just one other comment from me: As I've only worked on clocks, I can't speak at all to watches, but I can say that I've noticed on occasion significant wear to verge pivot holes. In order to maintain the correct depth of the escapement I've felt the need to bush more than a few of them. I don't know if the shortcomings of natural lubricants lead to the 360 degree rule. Reasons are often lost in translation from one generation to the next. However, if there is enough friction to cause significant loss of metal due to wear, I think the part(s) in question would benefit from the appropriate type and amount of synthetic lubricant. IMHO.
     
  16. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Too often we hear rule and almost never the exceptions. Sometimes common sense has to be the rule.

    RC
     
  17. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Yes! If two surfaces rub against each other there is friction created. Wear on one or both of those surfaces happens. A tiny drop of some kind of lubrication certainly helps slow down that wear. Is what I think. Why not?
     
  18. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    The problem with students, RC, as that we often have very little common sense (experience) but many questions (annoying).

    Okay, one more comment and then I'll sit down and let the grownups talk...

    In the http://www.nawcc-index.net/Articles/BTI-The_Practical_Lubrication_of_Clocks_and_Watches.pdf, it states the following:
    as number one in the list of places to apply oil:

    1. Oil sinks/pivot holes in movement plates, cocks and mainspring barrels...

    If my count is correct it goes on to list about another 30 points, depending on what type of movement is under consideration not all points would apply.

    I submit that the Verge is not an exception. It is positioned and supported by pivot holes in the plates. It just constantly oscillates instead of completely rotating.

    Most all have seen long idle movements which have had hammers and levers glued by evaporated oil. I think that maybe the 360 rule was/is much easier to remember than a long laundry list of areas to lubricate. The British Horological Institute states that it is good practice to have a general check list to ensure that nothing gets missed. I'm not sure where I would keep such a list. Certainly not in my head. :rolleyes:

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  19. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

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    Kevin, I went to L’École Nationale de l’Horlogerie. 1994-1996.

    I follow their advise, however, I am a bit confused by it. I don’t really know where to stand. I times, I do think it would be a good idea, then I remember what I was taught.

    Wear do occur on all pivot holes, lubed or not. When they call for bushings, I put them in, wherever they are needed.

    M.
     
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  20. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Bruce, valid questions are never annoying. I would not equate common sense with experience nor would I say that students or beginners necessarily "have very little common sense". "Experience" (or the lack of it) usually pertains to specific tasks or skills. One may have much experience in one area and very little in another. We have see many here (yourself included) that have a great deal of common sense and ability to infer how to apply basic understandings and skills from other trades to the Horological world in which they may have limited experience. Experience of course is "the great teacher", especially when the outcome is not so good. Perhaps the single greatest aspect of this message board is that there are many here who willingly report what they have personally found to work over many years - whether it "fits the rules" or not.

    To focus back on the specific question, thanks for posting the reference http://www.nawcc-index.net/Articles/BTI-The_Practical_Lubrication_of_Clocks_and_Watches.pdf I'm sure some have never seen it. In addition to describing what parts should be oiled the sited reference also lists parts that should NOT be oiled. Conspicuously absent from that list is verge pivots.

    RC
     
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  21. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I think the issue comes up because when lifting levers are oiled, dust can collect on the oil and hamper the ability of the lever to fall back where it should after rising.
    Little "rules of thumb" come up to help people avoid issues, but sometimes are taken too far.
    I mostly agree with Bangster's take = if it depends on gravity to fall, don't oil it.
     
  22. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I have to agree, that (if it depends on gravity to fall) is a better "rule" than the 360 rotation "rule". It isn't so much that gravity powered lever pivots wouldn't benefit from lubrication as it is that over application of oil and/or oil with too high a viscosity can cause the motion to be sluggish. The problem is compounded by the use of natural oils that tend to thicken over time. I believe that in most cases a very thin film of synthetic oil, while probably not necessary, would also do no harm.

    RC
     
  23. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Just to add to the discussion. After experiencing multiple stuck hour hand cannon pipes I don't oil the minute hand arbors anymore, even though they do rotate full 360 degrees and don't depend on gravity to function. I think it is reasonable because there is very little load here and I have never seen the need for a bushing due to wear. Another exception to the rules?

    Uhralt
     
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  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yeah, pretty slow movement there. I still put a little oil inside the cannon, but probably wouldn't need to.
     
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  25. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Pay attention to what I'm saying, RC. The verge is powered by the pendulum (yes it is) and deserves a bit of oil. I thought it was clear I was talking about levers and flirts and stuff, not wheels and pinions. If they rely solely on gravity for their action (a) there's very little wear going on, and (b) oil can thicken and impede action. You know that. I ain't no idjit. Hmph.
     
  26. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Thanks Altashot, i know of a few people that went to the school in Trois riviere.
     
  27. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Sorry Bangs but the verge is NOT powered by the pendulum. All power comes from the main spring or wright and is delivered to the escape wheel and the escape wheel powers the verge. The pendulum receives power from the verge. The pendulum is not a source of power and can power nothing.

    I agree the verge pivots should be oiled - see post #2.

    RC
     
  28. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Never one to be quiet when I should, I can see both perspectives. In a recoil escapement, the stored energy in the pendulum powers the recoil and overcomes the weight/spring force. Ultimately that kinetic energy came from the weight or spring though...which, getting back on topic, really makes lubrication of verge pivots (and pallets) an even more critical aspect to maintenance in recoil escapements.
     
  29. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Anything that drops by means of gravity--or whose motive power is notably feeble for other reasons and must thus be helped along by one of those really thin helper springs--is happier when it's clean, preferably polished, and oil-free. It's a matter of judgement.

    "Rules" like those being discussed are often helpful for the beginner, and are used a lot in every sort of vocational education. But they're hardly absolute, and it's therefore important for the more advanced student to understand their motive and history as much as possible. Otherwise, one gets into weird conversations that can involve legal hair-splitting.

    It's not only important to oil verge pivots, but it's almost always a good idea to bush them as snugly as you can while still leaving them perfectly free. Any looseness lets the verge bounce around, which wastes motion that ought to be going to the pendulum.

    I learned that here, at the Electronic Horology Classroom of Tomorrow.
     
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  30. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    #30 R. Croswell, Sep 23, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    You are quite correct. Unfortunately many clock owners and some newbies actually believe that the pendulum powers the verge and the escapement. Bang's general statement "The verge is powered by the pendulum (yes it is).........." is generally incorrect and could be misleading to the uninformed. Actually, even during recoil the verge is still receiving power from the escape wheel and that power is opposed by the kinetic energy in the opposite direction stored in the pendulum. It is a very dynamic situation. The only time the verge isn't influenced by power from the escape wheel is during the brief instant of tooth drop. During that brief period the escape wheel accelerates (powered by the weight/spring), storing its own kinetic energy which is released when the escape wheel stops (or recoils) when tooth impacts the pallet face. So we have forces of varying intensity, including an impact force from the escape wheel, acting in more than one direction on the verge, which is why we sometimes see verge pivots "dancing around" in worn verge pivot holes where other pivots are generally just pressed continually against the worn side of the pivot hole. All the more reason to oil verge pivot holes. It is important in understanding how a clock runs to know that the direction of power flow is from the power source (spring or weight) to the pendulum even though there may be brief surges, pauses, and reversals as the escapement operates.

    Which means that when the verge is supported by two movable clocks between the plates one must be extremely careful to move both cocks equally to avoid pinching the pivot is a close fitting pivot hole. After each verge adjustment it is a good idea to recheck that the verge is still free moving.

    RC
     
  31. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Extremely and very precisely well stated RC. Absolutely no argument (nor room for one) from me. Thank you. I think that your points are important to understand *especially* when trying to diagnose a power problem.

    Also, the concept of "End Shake" can not be over-stated (in my opinion).

    :offtopic:
    Ultimately the Sun directly or indirectly powers all of our clocks, including the mechanical ones. The exact mechanisms depend upon the various geniuses of those who designed and built them. It's all I can do sometimes to simply fix them. :)
     
  32. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #32 Bruce Alexander, Sep 23, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    This is slightly off-topic but it involves verge pivot points between the plates and it punctuates your quoted point here RC, I've been working on this clock earlier today.
    The case is an Ansonia Sonia No. 13, and it has lived up to its name thus far because it's been nothing but a bucket load of bad luck if it has been anything. It's one of those clocks that you just have to either walk away from and come back to later or smash with a hammer. It has one of those "Pat. Pend." Ansonia 8-day Westminster movements. I'm really not a fan of these clocks. Their "Sonia" Chime Rods sound nice, but as far as I'm concerned that's about the only 'nice' thing about them.

    The movement tested okay for several weeks on the test stand, but every time I re-installed it into the Tambour Case it would always stall very soon if not right away. I went through all of the typical diagnostic steps I could think of with the clock fully assembled. Beat, taper pin loosened, hands completely removed. Nothing helped. When I removed the movement, the problem disappeared. Cutting to the chase: The verge didn't have enough end-shake. Even though it ran fine on the test stand, when it was tightly fastened to the case, there much have been enough plate torque/displacement to introduce too much friction on the shoulders of the Verge Arbor. I oiled them so lubrication didn't help.

    Using an expanding Plate Spreader* I was able to press/flatten the movable cock which had acquired a very slight bow. Perhaps this was due to depth adjustments that I had made during the overhaul. I'm not sure as the movement wasn't working when I started servicing it. In any case, I was able to use the Plate Spreader to carefully remove the Verge (both Fans came out as well). I then inserted a round head screw into one of the Plate Spreader's "arms" in order to concentrate maximum force on the cock's bowed contour, tightened the post screws in the plate, positioned the Plate Spreader between the Cocks and pressed the slightly bowed cock into a flatter profile by opening the Spreader. It was just enough to slightly flatten the Cock and increase the end shake of the Verge. We're talking very small tolerances here. Personally I think that the Verge's Arbor came out of the Factory a little too long, but it came out running so what I think doesn't really matter. The only other way I could think of to increase end shake here would be to thin one or both of the cocks. Turning the Verge Arbor was not an option, and this approach didn't require full disassembly of the movement.

    The movement has developed other unrelated problems that I'll still need to address but the clock has been fully assembled and the Time Train has been running merrily along for about an hour now. I couldn't get more that 30 - 60 seconds out of it before this procedure and I think most of that time was just the pendulum's swing dissipating.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, a good illustration of your point RC. Between the plates Verge Pivots are adjustable via Cock or offset slotted bushings. There's more to their proper set up than oil and special attention needs to be given to them during an overhaul.

    Regards,

    Bruce

    Slight bow in Verge Cock
    Very slight bow in Verge Cock.jpg

    Plate Spreader set up for Press
    Plate Spreader as used.jpg

    Plate Spreader in place.
    Plate Spreader as press.jpg

    * I have really found the Plate Spreader to be a very useful tool to have in my shop. Well worth the money.
     
  33. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    #33 bangster, Sep 23, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
    Hey RC, I know all that. Understand the power series from MS to EW to pallets to crutch. But I still cain't help thinking the pendulum moves the crutch back and forth. After all, the pendulum doesn't get ALL of its energy from the crutch; just enough impulse to keep it from running down. The bulk of the energy in the pendulum is gravitational... with periodic help from the crutch. Crutch doesn't move the pendulum back and forth. Crutch goes tick!, pendulum takes it from there. If the pendulum isn't moving, the crutch cain't start it.

    The cool thing about the anchor escapement pendulum business is the reciprocity: the EW tooth provides just enough energy to keep the pendulum wagging, the pendulum wagging provides the energy to keep the anchor rocking back and forth, so the EW can do its trick, so the pendulum can do its job, etc. ad. inf. The EW doesn't power the anchor unless the anchor is moving. It's moving because the pendulum is wagging...because the EW is transmitting power to the crutch to keep it wagging.

    Is what I think, anyway.
     
  34. Bruce Alexander

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    Interesting point of view Dr. Bangster. The pendulum does have to be put in motion. The escapement's power keeps it in motion but only as fast as the length of the pendulum allows it to. Otherwise the mainspring will unwind in the blink of an eye. The pendulum does act on the verge. Huygens was a genius and we all know that you ain't no idjit! :)
     
  35. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    The pendulum is an oscillator that converts potential energy to kinetic energy and vice versa. The verge interrupts the movement of the escape wheel in measured intervals. For this, the stop faces of the verge are needed. The impulse faces are only needed to keep the pendulum moving by giving it a little push because it loses energy due to friction within the suspension spring and the surrounding air.

    Uhralt
     
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  36. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Controlling energy........That’s what it is all about. It’s amazing how much time we spend each day doing just that.
     
  37. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The only time the pendulum "acts on the verge" is during the brief moment during the "drop" when the escape wheel is not in contact with the verge and the pendulum's momentum acting via the crutch moves the verge into position to receive the next tooth drop. The only power transferred from the pendulum is that required to overcome the friction of the verge pivots and to position the verge. At all other times the verge acts on the pendulum and transfers power from the springs to the pendulum via the escapement and crutch. There is of course a very brief moment when the crutch is not in contact with the pendulum leader and no energy is transferred in either direction. As the pendulum swings off center the center of mass is raised. The force to raise the pendulum (after the initial swing) comes from the clock's main spring. The pendulum is not a source of energy and at best can only return the energy given it by the main spring/weight. Because the natural rate of the escapement & crutch (the free running rate) is much faster than the natural rate of the free swinging pendulum, the crutch is always applying a "push" and delivering power to the pendulum except during the EW drop and instant when the pendulum leader is not in contact with the crutch. The escapement powers the pendulum, the pendulum does not power the escapement, it only regulates it. Prove it; remove the escapement (or any part of the going train) and the pendulum will stop swinging, remove the pendulum and (in most cases) the escapement will continue to run all be it at an unregulated rapid rate. The pendulum is a regulator, not a source of power.

    I believe the OP's original question has been answered and this is getting a bit off topic so I have nothing more to add about the power transfers to/from the pendulum. The facts are what they are and someone else can have the last word. Got to go do something that I can get paid to do.........

    RC.
     
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  38. Bruce Alexander

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    #38 Bruce Alexander, Sep 24, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
    I understand what you're saying. I think that maybe it's just a matter of semantics RC. Perhaps an imprecise use words?

    In a word...
    (Or as per RC, a "Regulator")

    The Open Door Web Site : IB Physics : MECHANICAL OSCILLATIONS

    Uhrait, are you quite certain that English is only your second language?

    As a native English speaker I must say that I'm impressed. :clap:
     
  39. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Thank you Bruce! I've been working for an American company for quite a while, I guess that helped.

    Uhralt
     
  40. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I doubt a pendulum clock could function in space due to lack of gravity. So the power issue is probably a bit of both power from the impulse assisting gravity - which means the power to the clock requires both. Interesting conversation, but as stated, the thread has been hijacked :D
     
  41. Bruce Alexander

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    If the OP is still involved and contributing, has it really been "hijacked", SB? :)

    "Would you oil, 'yes' or 'no'?" Maybe a simple Poll would have kept things more narrowly focused? I haven't seen many of those on the MB.

    In any case I've said much more than I intended to do. Sorry for helping to Hijack your thread Uhrait.

    I'm out. ;)
     
  42. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    #42 bangster, Sep 24, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
    OK, I've been attending to RC's posts carefully, and I'm beginning to think he's righter than I am.

    Here's his point (I think). The movement of the crutch is powered entirely by the EW. With no pendulum, the crutch will "wag itself" so to speak, at a very high --unregulated--rate. We see that all the time. That is, nothing is needed to wag the crutch except the impulse from the EW.

    Adding a pendulum into the equation doesn't change that fact. The crutch continues to "wag itself" so to speak, and also to kick the pendulum to keep it going.

    The pendulum is not needed to wag the crutch, as I argued earlier. So the gravitational energy of the pendulum contributes nothing to keeping the escapement going; rather, it retards the "going" to a certain rhythm.

    An anchor clock would run nicely in space without a pendulum. It might even run nicely with a pendulum, since there would be no gravity resistance to keep the crutch from wagging the pendulum all by itself. Of course, there would be nothing to regulate the speed of the wag.

    Well, I'm glad we got that figured out.:D
     
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  43. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2008
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    No problem. I enjoyed the discussion.

    Uhralt
     
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