Weight driven banjo question

Rockin Ronnie

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It all the photos I have at the moment. It is a weight-driven banjo clock in pretty rough shape but for $60, why not. Any clues as to the maker based on the photos? Appears to be missing the side arms and bottom base(?). Glass is broken, veneer issues, and so on.
Banjo clock1.jpg Banjo clock3.jpg
 

bruce linde

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need to see photos of the movement to get a better idea of what you have… but, yes, nice for $60!
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Ron,

These clocks did not all have bottoms. Some did not have side pieces either. Keep your fingers crossed as there may be nothing missing. Search Google Images for "weight driven banjo clock" to see bottomless and sideless clocks. The two lesses seem to go together.

Jim
 
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Rockin Ronnie

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Took some photos today of the movement case details, weight, etc. The dial is 6 5/8 inches and appears to be enamel on a 4.8 oz metal dial. The weight is 7 lbs 2.5 ounces. There is a number 57 stamped on the bottom. It does not look like it ever had any side rails or a bottom piece, you are correct Jim Hartog.

Right now all I see are broken glass and some veneer issues. It is complete otherwise. The case appears to be mahogany.

No idea of the maker; no label, and no trademark on the dial or the movement.

RS Banjo clock_3.jpg RS Banjo clock_3_1.jpg RS Banjo clock_4.jpg RS Banjo clock_7.jpg RS Banjo clock_8_1.jpg RS Banjo clock_9_1.jpg RS Banjo clock_12.jpg
 

bruce linde

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looks kind of tifft-ian... but not so much the hands or weight... and the ears on the back of the movement to secure it.

what do the dial and bottom door latches and mechanisms look like? and can we see the back of the dial and the click spring on the great wheel?

i'm a sucker for banjo clocks... if that were mine, i might darken up those lighter wood patches on the bottom box door and just clean it up (and new old dial glass, of course).

nice score!
 

Andy Dervan

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The clock was made in Boston ca 1840 probably by John Sawin or one of his associates. The movement is mounted by external ears attached to the movement that has been attributed to John Sawin - see Paul Foley's book on Willard Patent Time Pieces.

The case exhibits typical Boston features particularly push button latches. It is not unusual to have have no brass sidearms (cost savings) and very timepieces had lower brackets.

It is a some veneer damage that can be repaired.

I have two timepieces from Sawin - one in wooden panel with cutout in lower panel with wood sidearms and another has original plain reverse painted glass. John Sawin was a prolific clockmaker.

Andy
 
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Andy Dervan

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Timepiece movements were generally well made and just need cleaning, polish the pivots, and new cable and it should work well.

Andy
 
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Andy Dervan

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I use the braided brass cables on all my weight driven timepieces. I am not sure about nylon as it stretches and typically timepiece weights are abou 7 lbs. and not sure about strength of nylon unless well documented.

Andy
 

bruce linde

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Jim Hartog

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Hello Ron,

I'll be servicing a Kilbourne and Proctor reproduction banjo movement soon and the uncooperative steel cable will be replaced by 300 lb test, 8 ply braided fishing line that is 1.2 mm in diameter which is slightly smaller than the steel presently in the movement. The fishing line is easy to knot and unknot and does not go nuts when the tension is released. There is no indication as to what the plastic is in this line but I cannot stretch it. 300 lb test show be able to handle 6-7 pounds of lead for a long time.

I do use the modern brass cable (plastic center) on clocks that need the brass look since the cables are sometimes visible.

Jim
 
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bruce linde

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300 lb and 1.2mm seems a bit excessive to me for a banjo clock with a 7-9 lb weight, but if you still have the required run time with the thicker stuff, why not? otoh, i might get some of that for, and restring, my colonial/winterhalder 5-tube... currently has 1.5mm braided nylon cord... and i only get 6.5 days of run time... doh!
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Bruce,

I just did a test wind (fingers, the movement is out of the case) and at a full wind (pulley to the top) I just get a single layer on a smooth winding drum.

How is thicker line going to reduce the run time if the pulley gets to where it needs to be? Won't the line just double back and create a second layer if it has to? Will the cord climb up the ratchet wheel when it gets to the end instead of doubling back?

P1030022.JPG

Jim
 

bruce linde

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the goal is a single layer across the barrel when fully wound. while there is no guarantee the cord will climb up the ratchet wheel, it certainly can.

i think 1.2mm is unnecessarily thick, but if it works, great. i typically use .8-ish on banjo clocks.
 

Jim Hartog

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Hello Bruce,

It fits fine in a single layer and it is presently 10-15 cm too long because I haven't cut the line to its final length yet. That last coil won't be there once I get it sized right and I include a coil on the drum when the weight is all the way down. I may buy some 1.0 mm 250 pound test. $15 gets you more than a (my) lifetime supply. A 100 m goes a long way, about 100 m, I hear.

I did wind this up with no weight attached. With the weight attached, the line may flatten a little and take up more lateral space. Not a big job to replace the line on this thing if there is a problem with the weight attached. Sure beats that steel stuff.

DSCN0010.JPG DSCN0011.JPG

Jim
 

claussclocks

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I have had good success using the Kevlar line. I usually use it on clocks that had black thread on the weights. I still like brass myself but the Kevlar line does work well and look good.

DPC
 

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