when were the first pinwheel jewelers regulators made?

bruce linde

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i'm curious about jewelers regulators... specifically the fact that they seem to follow pretty specific design specs.

in particular, i'm talking about the french and swiss pinwheel regulator movements consisting of brass front and back plates held in an iron cage, with the crutch (with oval opening) hanging between hour and minute cannons, pendulum hanging from a similar piece in front of the hour cannon, 13 (or so) lb. brass pendulum hanging from fixed grid-iron pendulum rod assembly, heavy brass dial bezel with porcelain dial, winding arbors in the same place, sweep second hands, regulating feature between the crutch and pendulum, square hand washers, maintaining power, etc.

i now have several of these and love them... accurate, easy to work on, a few quick winds and they're good for another week, etc.

specific questions:

- has anyone ever seen plans for such a clock? maybe in a particular book?

- when did they first appear? do we know?

- is anyone credited with having designed 'the jewelers regulator'?

here are some photos of mine.... yes, one has a mercury pendulum but the movements are all very very similar and you can only occasionally find markings (i.e., 'france').


image_22-1.jpg image_5.jpg image_22.jpg image_7.jpg image_34.jpg image_12.jpg image_1.jpg
 

shutterbug

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I'm not real sure, but many of them date to after the civil war. The movements were imported and the cases made locally.
 

D.th.munroe

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Not sure about the "jewelers regulator" itself, but the pinwheel escapement was invented by Jean-André Lepaute in 1753, it was used in French longcase (régulateurs) (like his here Jean-André Lepaute (1720 - 1788, master 1759) (Getty Museum) ) probably not long after he published his editions of his Traité d'Horlogerie in paris the 1750-60s.
I'm guessing it wasn't long until they were hung on the walls and sold to jewelers or anyone who needed a good timekeeper.
Dan
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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These movements with their iron cages have a close resemblance to Morbier clocks with ordinary anchor or crown wheel and verge escapements. I suspect they were made in the same region, possibly by the same makers.
 
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jmclaugh

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The French type of pinwheel escapement was invented by Louis Amant about 1741 and was significantly improved upon by Lepaute around 1750. The escapement was also used in tower clocks. I can't say I know when the term jeweller's regulator came into use but I imagine it simply relates to a timepiece used to regulate other clocks in a jeweller's shop though obviously such regulators were also used elsewhere.

 
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Jmeechie

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I have to agree with Jeremy above, the same region as the Morbier clocks were produced in the Southern part on the French / Swiss border. I even found a time and strike Morbier with a pinwheel escapement! I also believe some were of Swiss production. This industry was of a somewhat cottage industry hence the lack of manufacturer/factory names.
Cheers,
James

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bruce linde

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sorry, but i'm asking about a specific configuration that become a standard for the french and swiss pinwheel regulator movements sourced by american (and other) manufacturers... and not morbiers.

they may indeed have come from that region, but someone somewhere standardized the basic format i describe in my original post: 13 lb gridiron large brass bob pendulum assembly, front and back brass plates held by an iron cage, same size porcelain dial, winding hole between center and 6, sweep second hand, etc.

if we don't know, we don't know... but given the number of these pictured in roy erhardt's books and other catalogs and seen at auctions, this was a non-trivial sized industry... hard for me to believe there's just no info on them... drat.
 

Jmeechie

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I’ve been doing some off and on research for several years now and these movements are like trying to pin down who made English 1 day or 8 day tall case movements! If you look closely at the move to I posted! Eliminate the 2 strike trains it’s a birdcage pinwheel! As I said, the only credible references are to the same area as Morbiers came from and owing to the strong similarity I really do believe this correct. Oh, and 2 world wars destroyed a major amount of records and history in these areas!
If you look at posted pictures of this style you will start to notice differences, position of gears, position of maintaining power arm, style of pendulum leader, bushing or no bushing for sweep second hand, etc..... This like the standard English (Scottish, Irish, Welsh) were all similar, even American, but all carried slight differences from the clockmakers design/engineering aspect.
These movements had a long run from roughly the 1880’s through to around the 30’s so yes, a generous amount are out there and thankfully due to there case beauty, and robustness (size) they commanded reverence maintaining a lot surviving!
It’s frustrating I know, but again, who perfected the 1 or 8 day English/American tall case movement.
 

Ralph

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Bruce, I think you can find many of the answers you seek, in, Comtoise Clocks, The Morbier, The Morez, by Francis Maitzner/ Jean Moreau. He describes your subject movement and generally, he puts them around mid 1870’s. He also says they were used as railroad station regulators. There were earlier versions, he called church clocks. He gives a lot of information, from makers, prices, locales, etc..

Ralph
 

bruce linde

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Bruce, I think you can find many of the answers you seek, in, Comtoise Clocks, The Morbier, The Morez, by Francis Maitzner/ Jean Moreau. He describes your subject movement and generally, he puts them around mid 1870’s. He also says they were used as railroad station regulators. There were earlier versions, he called church clocks. He gives a lot of information, from makers, prices, locales, etc..Ralph

ralph - thx, ordered. of course, the last book i bought for info had one page on the region i was interested in, with one sentence that offered new info! :)

seriously, looking forward to the book... thx for the recommendation.
 

Ralph

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Bruce, The book is mostly about the clocks we readily identify as Morbiers clocks, The pinwheel regulator movements are less then 5%. It is a serious work, and worthy of being in any clock collector's library. The makers , price, etc...information, is broad and not specific, to the pinwheel, though you can easily extrapolate it to include the pinwheel clocks.

You might get it on loan from the NAWCC library.?? It used to be an expensive book and not easy to find. It might still be.

Ralph
 

bruce linde

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i figured ... no worries. i'm not not interested in morbiers, just love what we call jewelers regulators.
 

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