Vienna Regulator Pendulum Adjustment Question

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Betzel, Jun 28, 2020.

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  1. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    Hello,

    While there is a traditional nut under the bob which works in the normal fashion to retard or advance (RA) by altering the pendulum's effective length, can anyone explain if a change in the position of the sliding brass bar with two "tension" wires (which go down into the bob to hold the bar in place) impacts regulation of the clock in any way? It seems there is a second (lower) bar which is attached with a screw to the pendulum rod, which is therefore (I suspect) also adjustable. It's like a travel stop-limiter of sorts.

    Maybe it's all just eye candy? Or, is this some fine tuning for seasonal variation on the steel rod?

    With my Clock-master iPhone software I get about 25 beats per hour less with the bar down than up at the top (about 15mm distance), but it's so slight I don't know. Is this real or just an error using a short testing window? If real, is this a/the reason why they were/are called regulators?

    Sorry if this has been asked before, but I could not find much searching around :)

    I can post pictures if it helps.

    TIA,

    -Chuck
     
  2. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    Dec 5, 2014
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    Hi, Chuck - Pictures would likely help. And...we always like to look at clock pictures! :)
     
  3. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    Fair enough.

    The three shots of the pendulum in the case show how the top brass bar (which has the two tension rods that drop down and into the bob holding with gentle outward pressure) could be adjusted by sliding it up and down about 15-20mm. The other photo shows the rod and mechanism from the back (? All things German are always in the back, like a lathe bar and its thumbscrews, etc.). The setscrew could be loosened to change the stop level, but I left it be.

    I thought all "Regulators" had pendulums like this? But, I did not know they could move. This is the first (corny) one I've owned. I'm not sure, but it must change the "center of mass" a wee tad. But, I'm not experienced or very good with horological theory.

    This one was less expensive (open springs, no 4th going wheel and no trade markings) and is perhaps early 20th century. Another user here suggested it might be a volume version from Junghans or Haas. Always a mystery!

    Mech.jpg Low.jpg Med.jpg High.jpg
     
  4. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Apr 25, 2005
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    From a purist definition, the clock is neither a regulator nor a Vienna regulator.

    The clock is a Vienna style wall clock.

    Regards.
     
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  5. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    OK. Thanks and good to know.

    Is the sliding brass bar near the bob intended to finely regulate the clock's rate, or is it decorative?
     
  6. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    It certainly appears to be functional, but I am very interested in what others think.

    Regards.
     
  7. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    Dec 5, 2014
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    Interesting question. Is there anything to hold it in place once you have moved it? If not, it seems it wouldn't be a very effective adjusting mechanism. Purely conjecture. I, too, would like to hear other thoughts.
     
  8. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Yes, there is a screw.

    I have never tried to use it for regulation, but I suppose it could be. I have always assumed it to be decorative more than practical and never really thought about any other use.

    It is an interesting thought, but I can't see what the point would be - the screw at the bottom of the bob would be much more accurate and more finely adjustable.

    Others may know more.

    JTD
     
  9. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Jan 1, 2005
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    Moved up and down, it would change the center of gravity (center of rotation) of the pendulum assembly, and would affect the rate. Whether that's its purpose is another matter. :rolleyes:
     
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  10. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #10 Ralph, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
    Chalk it up to decorative.

    Ralph
     
  11. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    I agree.

    JTD
     
  12. Shipsbell

    Shipsbell Registered User
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    My understanding of the purpose of the outside rods is that they are a different material that compensates for changes in temperature. Again my understanding is that they are not used to regulate the clock. Patrick
     
  13. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    You are correct if the pendulum is a compensating pendulum.

    I believe the OP's pendulum was made to look like a compensating pendulum, but I do not believe it is a compensating pendulum.

    Regards.
     
  14. Shipsbell

    Shipsbell Registered User
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    Thank you, point well taken
     
  15. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    OK, all good points guys. Thanks!

    It seems, for this turn of century, inexpensive, German, Vienna-style, Wall Clock with an A-R pendulum, the brass contraption on that pendulum is:

    Decorative? Yes
    Regulating? Inadvertently (maybe +/- 25 BPH)
    Compensating? Probably Not

    Q1: From a purely decorative perspective, should the lower fixed bar be where it is, and where should the upper bar be positioned? Top? Middle? What looks "good"?

    The brass wires on this contraption (to answer the question) are sprung outward into the receiving holes in the cast iron pendulum top to friction-hold it in any "slid to" position. The holes do not extend out of the bottom of the pendulum, so they are blind.

    I doubt brass wires could deform enough to compensate/move that top brass bar to change rate very much, but just do not know. I could hit it with a blow dryer on a cold day while measuring the rate change, perhaps :) The mounting screw holding the bottom bar fixed onto the pendulum rod, if decorative, is not for adjusting anything but its position on the rod.

    Since I have not yet had the pleasure of owning either a "real" or a "Vienna" Regulator, I've never seen a working "Regulator" temperature-compensating contraption to understand how it works. I know brass expands at a different rate than steel (like the old pocket-watch bi-metal slotted balances) and I understand mercury compensation, but Q2: how does the brass/steel combo actually function on a "real" working Regulator clock pendulum?

    I had an old Medji which had the word Regulator written on it's pentagonal pendulum cover, and an old Waterbury with the name of my Grandfathers Elgin Watch Repair and Jewelry store gilded on, and Regulator written on it, but think these were marketing tricks in both cases. Neither were made up like you would see in a chronometer, etc. While I think I understand the Vienna part of what a Regulator is from looking at all the images of fine weight-driven tall, thin hardwood models with all their manly hunting scenes and trimmings, etc. Q3: what is it that actually defines a Regulator as a genuine and true Regulator in horology? There seems two historical groups: weight and spring driven, with the weights being perhaps more noble in some ways. I like them better as well. How did they evolve?

    Any response (including pointers to a source of info) on Q1-3 above will be appreciated. It's all a total mystery for me!

    Thanks again for anyone sharing the collective wisdom!
     
  16. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    As far as the pendulum you have goes, just space the cross piece so that it looks good. Jammed up against the lower bar is not a good look, but the rest is up to you. As you have discovered, this is just piece of decoration, so it is really a question of what you think looks nicest.

    JTD
     
  17. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2002
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    Maybe this will help. Your pendulum is a stylized non-functioning interpretation of the John Harrison temperature compensated pendulum.

    Gridiron pendulum - Wikipedia

    Ralph
     
  18. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Apr 25, 2005
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    Q2 - The "compensating" part of the compensating pendulum compensates for temperatures.

    Back in the day with no air-conditioning and no central heating, the expansion and contraction rates of one metal could throw off the accuracy of a timepiece. A metal with a different expansion / contraction rate would help even out the accuracy. I can not provide the physics / engineering principles beyond what I have stated, but others may be able to do so. And others may be able to correct my statement and provide a more precise explanation.

    Compensating pendulums were gridiron (such as your design) and mercury pendulums. There may be other types.

    Compensating pendulums were used in the more upscale, expensive clocks.

    Q3 - The definition of a regulator depends on who is providing the definition:). If you ask 10 highly regarded horologists, you will probably get ten different answers.

    Most would probably say that a regulator needs to be weight driven, with a deadbeat escapement. Others would add time only, seconds beat, maintaining power and some would say a compensating pendulum:rolleyes:.

    Suffice it to say that 90% (?) of the regulators we see on these forums are not regulators.

    The term regulator evolved from a precision timepiece to just about any thing under the sun that shows the time;).

    Regards.
     
  19. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    I will add to your thread about what makes a clock a "Vienna Regulator". The following is my response to an earlier thread:

    The term Vienna regulator has evolved over time to mean a wall clock whose case has that late 1800's Austrian / German look.

    Within horology, there is a debate as to what a Vienna regulator is.

    (1) The purist definition is a weight driven wall clock made in Vienna, Austria.

    (2) Others will argue that a Vienna regulator is a weight driven wall clock made in Austria, but not specifically Vienna.


    (3) A more inclusive group will argue that a Vienna regulator is a weight driven wall clock with the case characteristics of late 1800's Austrian / German vintage.

    My definition of a Vienna regulator is either 1 or 2, above.

    Regards.
     
  20. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    OK.

    I learning more every day, even if there are some gray areas here and there in this field. Again, many thanks.

    Historically, I always suspected a [r]egulator evolved from the "one" source timekeeper that all old (and new) guys used to rate everything else in the shop. Harrison, the fleet, and the Royal Observatory, etc. I remember synchronizing my Caravelle to my grandfather's mercury compensated Seth Thomas, then it was a NOAH radio beep and then tick and tock for the computers, etc.

    Wikipedia (thanks, Ralph) says: "The gridiron became so associated with quality timekeeping that to this day many clocks have pendulums with decorative fake gridirons, which have no temperature compensating qualities." Maybe that's why I started this thread - curiosity and confusion. Now, I think if the pendulum rod is all one piece, then it's a nice fake, as many even older [R]egulators have a solid rod and clever fakery, but still keep pretty good time. It's just a rating nut.

    My pendulum is missing a "barbell" piece (shown in the photo with two thumbscrews on the outer balls, and maybe something also clamping in the center). And, there are many 5-bar versions like it which are all also really old, like 1800ish, some of which even have an additional thumbscrew just above the bob. But, these barbells and additional thumbscrews are just Rube Goldberg decorations. Right?

    I am unable to see how all these (fake!) gridiron pendulums since the 1800's could compensate. But if you think they do, and can explain, I'll hear you out :)

    All the best!

    -Chuck

    MissingPart.jpg
     
  21. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

    Jun 1, 2006
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    This clock has no pretensions to being anything other than what it is which is not a regulator of any description regardless what pendulum is used in it.
     
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  22. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    That's certainly true.

    But, with its A-R logo, curiosity led me to learn more about regulators in general and these often-seen brass and steel contraptions. I didn't have the right search terms!

    I've learned quite a bit from this flea-market find, then this posting. All the genuinely fine "alt" timekeepers with A-R pendulums going back to the 1800's (all I'll ever likely see, until I get to Upton Hall) use a rating nut on a single shaft. Cool, but confusing when cleverly done. I now know (with certainty) there is no intentional stabilization, regulation or compensation function. With an amazing history, they're interesting decorations whose only function is adding atmospheric drag.

    Living in Europe, until I get to the BHI, I will be looking out for a real gridiron in old royal/castle collections. You never know!

    Learning continues. Thanks again for the historical and horological illumination, especially to Ralph, who nailed it.

    -Chuck
     
  23. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    Dec 5, 2014
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    It's a fun hobby, and so much to learn. Until you can get out to visit some of the museums, there are many online resources available, starting here with this forum. Many museums now have virtual tours and/or the ability to view their collections online (including the NAWCC museum, British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, etc), and many auction houses have their catalogs with excellent pictures and descriptions available online. If you're an NAWCC member, you also have access to all of the past issues of the Watch & Clock Bulletin, which is enough to keep you busy for years. Whatever approach you take, have fun and enjoy the journey!
     
  24. Betzel

    Betzel Registered User

    Dec 1, 2010
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    Thanks, Pat.

    Yeah. It is fun. I'm a BHI member for correspondence courses, but the NAWCC is growing on me.

    Since travel is sketchy everywhere these days I will definitely look online to see what I can find.
     

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