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Overview: European Factory Clock Movements

European Factory Clock Movements

This is but a mere attempt to explain some differences of European types of factory made spring driven movements, ca. post 1850.
A rule of thumb, and a very coarse overview, nothing more.
Due to evolution in production facilities, there are often “intermediate” types of movements to be found, with details of one or more of the other categories.

French type of massive movement

Movements of this type are more or less all of high quality with some minor differences seen in craftsmanship and finishing.
Common to most of these movements are the massive, mostly polished brass plates, often
pinned together.
Most often, deadbeat escapements with massive Breguet or Graham anchors (pallets) were used, although some had solid steel, English types, also.
At first glance, the large, French type of spoked countwheel can be seen, but some later types also used a rack and snail strike.
Solid pinions and nicely turned spring barrels were state of the art.
These movements were produced in round and square plate shapes.

French makers produced these movements relatively early and they were copied and refined
by German makers some ten, twenty years later.
It does not really matter, where the movement was made; the term is “French style”.

Typical French style square movements:

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American style movement (“Amerikaner Werke”)

These movements and the way of producing them was introduced by American clock companies of New England.
American style movements - and production of these were introduced in Europe about 1870, Junghans being the pioneers in Germany.
There was quite a fuss raised, because the movements with recoil escapements, strip pallets, stamped wheels and materials-saving cut-out plates were long considered inferior by the trade.
American style movements mostly had open mainsprings, lantern pinions and a simple countwheel strike.
These movements were copied by the German makers in the early days, but were still
produced well into the 1920s and even later for mantel and alarm clocks.

Typical American style movement:

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Modern type of movement

These eventually evolved from the American style movements.
They were, so to say, refined and may be the “typical” German movements, as known
around the world.
In detail, changes were made to the countwheels (often referred to as Black Forest countwheel) rack and snail strikes became the standard.
Barreled springs were used, eventually with “quick-out” barrels.
Various kinds of escapements from strip pallets to Graham deadbeat, lantern pinions or
massive pinions were used on these movements, leading all the way to the so called
floating balance, appearing in the mid 1950s.
Solid or cut-out plates were used, or even a combination of both.
Some French and English makers had their go at this kind of movement too.
Nevertheless, the movements were then and even today considered “Amerikaner Werke”.

Some typical Modern movements:

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