I particularly like it when we come across clocks that still contain on their dials the names of the establishments in which they hung. This fusee gallery clock is labeled Thomas Armstrong & Brother, a respected maker of scientific instruments based in Manchester, UK, founded in the nineteenth century.
Eventually, the firm began making optical equipment and in 1877 the company was officially appointed as the opticians to the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital based on Oxford Road. (source)
An English firm making premier instruments utilizing an English clock to tell time. A lovely memory of a time no longer with us.
We are fusee maniacs; we have fusee mania. Say it with me, “I’m a fusee maniac.”
Next to Gledhill Brook time recorders (which use a fusee movement!!!), English fusee clocks are our favorite. We have close to ten really nice specimens. Here are three dials which required attention. So, we had them redone and labelled with some Tunbridge Wells / Kent landmarks that are part of our personal history and close to our hearts.
Avon stores was a shop at the bottom of Avon Road near the Rec in Tunbridge Wells in the early 1970s.
This is a Vienna regulator-style, unmarked German 8-day clock.
It has a spring-driven movement, with fine quality gear work and machined pinions. Upon disassembly, I noticed that both main springs had hairline cracks at the hole or barrel end. I annealed the spring ends and cut off the defective tips and reformed new hole ends.
I always check mainsprings for fractures such as this whenever I remove the springs. Mainspring failure is always a recipe for disaster. If a spring breaks under load it can potentially render a movement unrepairable if gears and pinions are damaged…well worth the time to perform some preventative maintenance.
This is an Eight-day, Time & Strike, Gustav Becker box clock. It has a very unusual rounded top. The obvious difference is the rounded top to the case; I have not seen another like this in recent years. Also the movement has an unusual setup regarding the gathering pallet arbor. As you can see in the photo, the arbor can slide up and down within a slot, enabling the gathering pallet to disengage from the rack. At first I thought there was something missing! To me, this is obviously a strange setup because in order for the arbor to lift at one end it requires the pivot at the other end to tilt at an angle within its bushing. I must only assume that the bushing is designed specifically to compensate for this action…I have never seen this before!
This is an older 8-day time and strike Ansonia long drop regulator. The movement in this one was rebuilt as there was severe rust on most of the steel components in the movement. The photos show the before and after results.
The case needed only cosmetic work such as replacing screws and minor repairs. One common problem I see in clocks such as this is the use of new ‘Philips Head’ screws to hold hinges and movements in place.
Obviously, these need to be replaced with old slot head, wood screws. I save all my old wood screws for such projects. It’s always a good idea to save old parts such as taper pins, hand washers, screws, nuts & bolts. These items are often replaced new and look obviously out of place.
This Ansonia Long Drop clock project is lined up for restoration.
I’ll get to this one after I finish the Gledhill Brooks….maybe!
America/Ansonia, the Beautiful?
Ansonia is an American company which makes this clock a rarity in my collection. However, unlike the ornate kitchen clocks with wood carvings only a mother could love, this long drop case is of a more traditional and, if you ask me, elegant style.
Despite age, the face is in fairly good condition. These are the type of clocks, along with mantel clocks, that one could pick up fairly cheaply at auctions, even just ten years ago. Now, even the availability of these in those types of settings is becoming more and more rare.
I like Sessions Long-Drop School House clock because the case is a little different from the Ansonia or Seth Thomas versions in that the lower section is much wider.
Overall, this clock came to me in great condition with a heavy cast iron pendulum. It is an 8-day, time only clock. Mass produced in the late 1800s, the movements are typical of the cheaper clocks. Ansonia or Seth Thomas both have much better quality movements. This particular clock works well considering all I did was refit the verge and adjust the retaining arbor that secures it to the escape wheel.
Novelty clock. This Horolovar Dickory Dickory Dock Clock is basically a smaller reproduction of the original 1910 Dungan & Klump Model 4 ‘mouse clock’. Not sure when the American version of the nursery rhyme evolved into Hickory Dickory Dock. Any insights are welcome in the comments.
Even these later versions are becoming very desirable among collectors due, in large part, to there scarcity.
This particular clock is fitted with a German platform escapement movement. The mouse is pulled up the face of the clock by a cord that winds around a spool. At one o’clock the mouse drops to the bottom and a bell rings the mouse then begins its travels back to the top.
A high quality English Fusee clock.
Time Only Fusee movement during cleaning. Relatively few parts. Easy to work on.
The Fusee chain was missing when I purchased this English astral Coventry fusee wall clock, I wasn’t sure if it would have originally had a chain or a cable drive to the fusee cone. After examination, I determined that it would have been a cable drive. Some points that led me to this were:
- Three holes in the mainspring barrel to accommodate a cable. A Chain would fit in a slot.
- A recess hole in the back of the fusee cone to accommodate a knot and, again, no slot.
On occasion it is possible to determine whether the movement was originally fitted out with a chain or a cable by examining the Fusee cone grooves. If the bottom of the groove is rounded, it was machined to accommodate a cable. If the groove has a flat bottom, it was made for a chain.
One of my best spring-wound wall clocks. Gustav Becker clocks are a real treasure.
This one is in excellent condition. As far as I can see, it’s all original. Porcelain face, 8 day Time & Strike.
During the process of dismantling the movement for cleaning, I noticed something that I missed when the movement was assembled. The fly fan that governs the strike speed had been replaced and repaired with a makeshift effort fabricated from a small piece of sheet brass (see photo A).
PHOTO A: The fly fan the clock came with is on the right; the fan I modified to work is on the left.
This fundamental mistake was made during a previous attempt to repair the clock. It was poorly aligned and it anchored the fan to the wheel.