Wright of Cambridge wall clock

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by two sheds, Sep 12, 2019.

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  1. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

    Mar 3, 2019
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    Hello people. Another clock, another question.

    I acquired an old pendulum wall clock along with other things in an auction box. It’s a Wright of Cambridge which I can’t see any references to on line. Bits keep falling off what with Cornwall being so damp that the glue holding the frame together has been getting weaker and weaker.

    The rest of the frame unfortunately fell off when I attached the pendulum so I’m propping the clock up on a piece of wood at the moment. The pendulum swings and advances the ratchet, but when I wind the clock the cord that attaches to the drum (which has a spring inside?) is broken. The drum itself is a bit wobbly, but I’m not sure whether that’s because the cord has broken.

    There’s only one winding hole so I presume there are no chimes.

    I don’t fancy trying to disassemble it any more than it's already disassembled. So should I try to superglue the two ends of the cord together as a starter, wind it up and see what happens?

    Thanks in advance

    Arthur
    P1010549.JPG P1010552.JPG
     
  2. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2008
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    What you've got is a nice "English Dial" clock. Time only. It has a fusee movement that makes it quite desirable. It is in need of a thorough cleaning and oiling. The gut that connects the fusee (the snail like cone) with the barrel for the mainspring needs to be replaced. Super glue won't do it. You'd risk that the glued together pieces snap and damage the clock. The wobble of the mainspring barrel can be corrected during a general service to the movement but it is usually not critical.

    Uhralt
     
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  3. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

    Jun 1, 2006
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    A drop dial fusee clock, it appears the trunk had some decoration at one time, striking examples are unusual. It is in need of quite a bit of tlc and as Uhralt says the movement needs a complete overhaul by a competent repairer and the spiders rehomed, it is worth doing. The only Wright I can find listed in Cambridge is Willaim, 1830-46.
     
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  4. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    I don't think that date is a million miles away, I think the hands have been changed. Mid 19th seems about right.
     
  5. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

    Mar 3, 2019
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    Interesting, thank you all. I couldn't see a definition of "English Dial Clock" although it’s English, has a dial and is certainly a clock. The English stands for English movement?

    I love the fusee, simple and clever solution to the problem. Interesting too that it’s a drop dial thank you – all terms I’ve not heard before). I nearly looked up how you'd rehome a spider on a clock (like reboring a trivet perhaps) until I realized :)


    So, phase II would seem to be a couple of quotes from clock repairers to oil and clean the clock and repair the fusee? It's really smooth to wind up so you'd hope there's not a lot to go wrong except the gears. (Affordable FUSEE DROP DIAL CLOCK repair service at HOROLOGICA 01277 658800 seems to offer proper overhaul at £175 which I could perhaps stretch to).


    Even if the clock does work though, there's no way I'll be able to repair the casing. I don't even know if I have all the bits because it fell apart before I got it (yes the trunk did indeed have decoration some of which bits at least I have). I'd be tempted to try to find a perspex box the right size and stick the metal frame on an oak block inside (I hear sharp intakes of breath here but I'd keep the bits somewhere, I do like to see clock mechanisms, and it would fit really nicely with the wooden circular surround sticking out slightly larger than the box).
     
  6. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Now I'm confused. How can the clock wind up really smooth when the gut is broken?

    Uhralt
     
  7. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

    Mar 3, 2019
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    It turns happily and feels as if it would wind up the gut really smoothly if the gut weren't broken :)
     
  8. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    The reason he said that is that on a fusee you don't wind the spring directly, you wind the spring by rotating the fusee so that the line, be it gut or chain, is moved from the spring barrel to the fusee.

    If the line is broken you are not winding anything by turning the fusee, but you are turning it against the spring click which is what you feel.
     
  9. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

    Mar 3, 2019
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    Yes indeed, sorry I'm easily pleased :(

    But at the other end the pendulum does also advance the ratchet nicely.
     
  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    The escape wheel?

    I shouldn't do that too much you might bend a tooth.

    At least the fusee turns anyway...
     
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  11. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

    Mar 3, 2019
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    Yes I think so, if I let the pendulum swing from side to side it advances the escapement so the wheel advances by one notch as you'd expect it to. That could bend a tooth?
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    No, what I meant was that as it has no driving force you could crash the pallets into the end of a tooth.
     
  13. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Yes, when the clock is running it's the escape wheel that drives the pendulum, not the other way round.
     
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  14. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

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    Ahhh thank you. Sorry for being obtuse yesterday, I'd been at the rum.
     
  15. NigelW

    NigelW Registered User

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    I am currently restoring a very similar clock for a neighbour. The mechanisms are generally very robust (this one fell off their wall) and are now quite sought after. The things to look out for are:

    - is the mainspring sound and free from cracks and dirt (this requires removing it from the barrel - not something one should attempt unless you really know what you are doing as they are evil things, even when unwound, and can give you a nasty injury)
    - is the fusee line/chain sound (yours clearly isn't)
    - do any of the pivot holes in the plates need rebushing? After many years of running these tend to open up but are easily closed up again by inserting bushes. The pivots are usually polished at the same time.
    - do the pallet faces need polishing (they usually do)? The pallets are made of hardened steel and are the part that rocks to and fro as they engage with the brass escape wheel. They should be polished to a mirror finish. Often a little groove will have been worn in them by the action of the escape wheel.
    - is the pallet depth correct? Over time and with repeated polishing of the pallets and wear of the pivot holes the depth of engagement of the pallets with the escape wheel will tend to reduce. As it does so the teeth of the escape wheel have to "drop" further before they hit the pallet face, resulting in less power being delivered to the pendulum. Eventually the point will come when there is insufficient power to keep the clock going. Lazy clock repairers often try to correct this by removing the location pins from the backcock (the rear bracket from which the pendulum hangs and into which the escape wheel is pivoted) and opening up the screw holes so that they can move the escape wheel closer to the pallets. This is not good practice. It is far better to "reshoe" the pallets by soft soldering a thin piece of spring steel onto them.

    This is by no means a complete list of what might need doing (e.g. there might be bent or broken gear teeth), but would be a good place to start.
     
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  16. two sheds

    two sheds Registered User

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    That's really useful, thank you. I'll collect your points into a document and take a print out for the clock repairer I give the clock to. I'm not sure I can afford a complete overhaul but I'll ask for a quote on cleaning and repairing the fusee and checking what else needs doing.

    Thanks again all. And interesting that the escape wheel drives the pendulum, as opposed to an electro-mechanical clock where the pendulum drives the escape wheel.
     

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