Very Strange Weights

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by George Nelson, May 18, 2017.

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  1. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, All,

    Came across this strange pair of weights, advertised as clock weights. However, I'm not quite sure. They weigh 7.5 and 7.1 pounds respectively, which would approximate weights needed for some clocks, time and strike. Compounded like they are, that would put the actual weight as 3.25 and 3.05 pounds each, I believe.

    The pulleys are wood, appear similar to but are not exactly like the pulleys in clocks that we are familiar with, and both turn freely. Has anyone seen weights like this before? They are sized to fit in a standard OG or other thirty hour clock case that would normally accept a round type weight. Not sure of the metal used, but it is not attracted to a magnet. Clock or other use?

    Thanks for the help,

    George
     
  2. upstateny

    upstateny Registered User

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    Look to be sash weights to me.
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

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    They may be sash weights, I imagine whatever they are the shape is because they follow a guide, however I have never seen sash or clock weights with built in pulleys. In sash windows the pulley is usually in the frame, in clocks it is part of the weight support and fixed to the line. (or, I believe, on some American clocks to the case)
     
  4. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    They drove some kind of machine, my guess would be a clock. They are probably lead.
    Willie X
     
  5. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Thanks for all of the replies so far! As for being sash weights, I not sure, as the pulleys are made of wood, and have a small channel in them, that is far to small for the cord that is found in window sashes.

    A member PM'd me, giving her opinion that the weights might have gone to one of the very early pillar and scroll clocks, that had compounded weights and pulleys, but I'm not sure about that either, as I've never seen a setup like that.

    Any more comments and/or suggestions will be most welcome!

    Thanks to everyone,

    George
     
  6. Jim DuBois

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    Here is an early P&S / box clock with the more or less traditional compounding of the weights. The pulleys are of wood running on steel or iron arbors.

    I suspect the ones you have George are some sort of counterbalance weights that moved infrequently in their intended use, but are not clock weights. While we all know anything is possible, we can pretty safely assume these weights are not common, and they were not a production clock weight. And they are substantially better cast than those Uncle Fixit usually makes on the kitchen stove...
     
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  7. THTanner

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    Based on the cut out at the same place on all of the weights, I would guess that at some point along its intended travel the line goes in straight on one side and comes out at somewhat of an angle on the other side. This suggests that it moves up and down in a system where the line does not hang vertically on one side - similar to how the weights in Ogee clocks have to have a cut out to avoid abrading the line near the top of the wind. The only time I have seen pulleys inside weights like this was when the weight system rode the line as a steadying counter weight. This was on an old offset printing machine where the steadying counter weight maintained pressure on the shuttle platform but had to be able to move freely as the shuttle shifted side to side against a spring. However, those weights were not square, but I suppose they could have used square ones just as easily.
     
  8. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    George,

    Perhaps this organization might clarify if they are related to the offset printing systems:

    http://www.printmuseum.org/
     
  9. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Interesting comments, all! I was pretty sure when I bought them that they would not be for a clock, but took the chance just in case. The cost was very small, and I like to look at things in person anyway.

    Dick C., thanks for your research. I've fired off an e-mail with pictures to the Print Museum, and I'll report back if they can identify them.

    Jim D., thanks for the picture of the P/S box clock with the weight arrangement. While I'm now almost certain that the weights are not clock-related, I did think at first that they may have belonged to an early box or P/S clock.

    THTanner, your observations make perfect sense, and bring up things I didn't have a clue about. Thanks for your thoughts and knowledge!

    Thanks to everyone-this little venture has been quite interesting!

    George
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    here is a bit better photo of the early P&S weights with built-in pulleys
     
  11. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Very interesting, Jim! Any idea how much they weigh?

    George
     
  12. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    George, they are tin can weights, wooden top, contents can be small chunks of broken up cast iron, sometimes lead dross, usually include sand, and or small rocks. Weight is usually 2-3 pounds.
     
  13. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Thanks, Jim. I didn't realize that they were tin can weights. So, being compounded, is it safe to assume that movements with weights like the ones you show run on about 1 1/2 pounds or am I missing something obvious?

    George
     
  14. Jim DuBois

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    #14 Jim DuBois, May 21, 2017
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
    Here are examples of pillar and scroll clocks, as well as a couple of box clocks. As you can see, some of them used the tin can weights and some of them used more traditional weights with traditional pulleys. It is interesting to note that Seth Thomas as well as Eli Terry made both style clocks, some were rack and snail strikers, some were count wheel strikers. All of them are from the very early period of the wood works shelf clock production, some have visable escapements, some do not....rare and interesting in my opinion. And yes, the glass dials reverse painted are featured on 10 or more know examples. Some are 1 piece, some are 2 piece and have a wood divider like more traditional P&S clocks.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Very interesting, Jim. Thanks for the additional photos! Always learning, and always loving it!

    George
     
  16. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, All,

    Well, heard back from The Print Museum that Dick C. so kindly sent me the link to. Sadly, they did not think the weights were from a printing press.

    However, as the weights were sitting on my desk this AM, a shaft of sunlight briefly illuminated the larger of the flat sides of both weights (the front or back?). Immediately obvious were the outlines of many printing blocks for individual letters, all different sizes and all in the Times New Roman font!

    Once the sunlight was gone, the letters disappeared as well. When lit, however, the letters could easily be seen and identified. It was as if a handful of letter blocks were softened and put into a square glass jar, something like a handful of soft M&M's. Quite curious.

    It rained the rest of the day, and I could not reproduce the phenomena under any of my ordinary lights or even my black lights. But the letters were decidedly there. I'll try again tomorrow if the sun shines, and will get a picture if possible.

    If I remember correctly, we once had a discussion about tall case clock weight fillers, and someone mentioned typeset in one of their weights.

    So, while not printing press weights, they do have a connection to printing! Hopefully, someone will come along with another hint or suggestion!

    Best to all,

    George
     
  17. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Well, under a combination of incandescent, fluorescent and UV lighting and with the help of my photo manipulation program, I have been able to illuminate and photograph just a few of the letters within the weights. Both weights seem to have been made of 100% softened/broken/melted letters and numerals. I hope you can see them in the pictures!

    Best to all,

    George

    PS: There is an "N" visible to the left of the "B" if you look closely.
     
  18. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Amazing find, George!:eek:
    That 'N' is straight. Shouldn't it be reversed in case it was a printing block?:confused:

    Aitor
     
  19. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Ah, Aitor- you are so wise! Somewhere in my photo manipulation, I inadvertently must have reversed the picture before adding the text. Good catch!

    Best always,

    George
     
  20. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I finally found a picture similar to the old press that I worked with in the late 1950s in Peru. Take a look at the fourth picture down in the attached article. You will see some large round weights hanging near the top of the press frame. The smaller ones are not visible since they were below the press platform and stabilized what I was told was called the shuttle.

    Your weights being made out of old lead press characters makes perfect sense. Once the character blocks became too warn they were often melted down and poured into molds to make new characters. Using them as scrap to make the counter weights is certainly possible.

    http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/educator/modules/gutenberg/books/printing/

     
  21. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, All

    THTanner, you have been quite helpful. I've sent another e-mail to museum of all things printing, in the hopes of getting a better response. TH, I'm more and more beginning to think you are 100% correct! Everything is fitting in perfectly the farther we go with this.

    Thankfully,

    George
     
  22. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    While it is quite possible that you mirror imaged the photo - that is not the only possible explanation. I learned the hard way early on with the press that the letters are on both ends - one end is for humans - the other end is for the press. If you put them in upside down the paper gets the mirror image. So you are probably seeing the "human" end of the N block and the printing end is inside the weight.

     
  23. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Of course- once again, makes perfect sense! Another fact of learning for my mental filing cabinet, such as it is... Nutjob

    Thanks,

    George
     
  24. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I am a bit dyslexic and the N was one of the worst - upside down, mirrored, mirrored upside down - you tell me. Also problematic were the E and 3, the p,g,q and a few others. With certain fonts a 3 mirrored or upside down looks almost identical to an E and even a 4 can pass as a marginally printed A. You will sometimes see these errors on old documents if you look carefully.

    So to speed up the setting process, and to help those of us with a bit of an issue, we would mark the upper half of the human side of the block with a deep chisel strike. It was then quite easy to tell that you messed up if you could see any blocks with a chisel cut in the tray when print ready. It also made it quicker to make sure the letter was correct and not upside down. And it for some reason it got missed during tray inspection the big white chisel mark was clearly visible on the printed proof sheet.

     
  25. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Wow! TH, I had no idea you had some trouble with dyslexia. No trace of it that I can see. What a great job in overcoming it. Ya gots lots of guts, TH! Way to go!!!!

    George
     
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