English Astral Coventry Fusee Wall Clock. Ca 1890.

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.

Fusee cone

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.

Repaired movement


Cable v. Chain

One can fit a cable to a chain fusee without incurring problems, but one cannot fit a chain to a Fusee cone that was machined for cable because the chain will not sit correctly on the curved bass of the Fusee cone grooves.

This one cleaned up nicely and the case just needed some TLC. I used a Brass cable because it looks better with the brass movement.


Used in older spring-powered mechanical watches and clocks, a fusee is a cone-shaped pulley with a spiral groove around it, wound with a cord or chain which is attached to the mainspring barrel. Fusees were used from the 1400s to the early 1900s to improve timekeeping by equalizing the uneven pull of the mainspring as it ran down.

Perhaps no problem in mechanics has ever been solved so simply and so perfectly — G. Baillie (1929)


7 responses to “English Astral Coventry Fusee Wall Clock. Ca 1890.

  1. I also have an Astral movment with a Fusee in my mantle clock. It appears to be an inlaid Mahogany, of the beehive model. About 14″ high x 9″ wide and 6″ deep. I have not seen any others like this clock to date. Thank you so much for the information you posted.

  2. I am totally new to clock repairs (of any kind) and then, only because a family member gave me a very basic looking wall clock with a fusee movement. Your piece gave me valuable info and diagrams to explain how to deal with the fusee chain and mainspring (which is broken in two) on my clock and has warned me of possible damages to cogs etc Thanks to your informative piece I am now less likely to make expensive mistakes.

    • Richard,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit our site. So glad it was helpful! Good luck with your repair. We are not experts, but if you have any questions going forward, feel free to post them and we or the community might be able to help you out!

  3. Hi Duetime,
    Having worked on my fusee over Christmas ( fitted a new spring with the winder I made etc) I would like to ask for help, from you guys, with getting the movement working again. If you are willing to look at some of my photos of the reassembled movement ( I am no engineer and as a woodworker I would be more in my element with clogs rather than clocks) then perhaps you may be able to tell me what I have done wrong with the cogs and where that one last piece goes. Assuming that someone is willing – what is the best way of tackling this (i.e. how do I present the info and photos)?

    • Sure thing, Richard.

      You can email your photos to Stephen at sjrichardson@nhplc.com and he’d be happy to take a look!

      Thank you for writing.

    • Editor’s Note: Below is an exchange via email re: a fusee movement. Therefore, we could not share the photos with you. However, I felt that some of the descriptions may be useful to other folks and decided to include them without the pictures:

      Richard: I was given this battered fusee clock (14” dial and drop case) which I thought would be a good first project – it’s a big non-descript case and relatively simple movement (ha – or so I thought) with no makers’ marks and is probably worth very little (except to me). The clock had a broken 38 x 50mm mainspring which I have replaced – after building a homemade spring winder. However, I reassembled the clock mechanism to see if it worked (it is still extremely dirty compared to that gleaming English Coventry Fusee on the Duetime site) and the spring winds up ok but there is no transfer of drive to the hands. I do not know if I have the cogs in the right order and there is a small piece which emerged in the dismantling process that I have failed to relocate with any certainty as to its purpose or position. The lesson I have learnt thus far is to photograph everything before dismantling.

      If you are willing, I would be most grateful if you would look at the attached jpegs to see if you can spot any of my glaring errors. I am certainly no engineer, just a woodworker who likes rough and ready utility objects so I was lured by the mahogany and rustic charm rather than the mechanism.

      This is a friction spring. It slides over the hour arbor on the inside of the plates. Its purpose is to produce small amount of resistance to the minute hand as it turns. These movements are very simple. I doubt that you have any gears out of order as they most likely only fit in one way.

      You mentioned that you have no power transfer to the escape wheel (the last wheel in sequence). I would start over by disassembling the movement and clean all the pivot holes. This is best done with a mild solvent or alcohol and a tooth pick. Once this is done, place all the gears in order between the plates without the fusee cone and spring barrel or anchor and see that they all spin freely if there is any resistance you should be able to identify the source of resistance.

      If all is good at that point, proceed to install the fusee cone and spring barrel. Remember once the spring is completely wound down you have to put about ½ turn on the barrel. This keeps tension on the fusee chain when the clock winds down. Other than that, with power to the escapement, the clock needs to be set in beat. This is done be adjusting the crutch (rod that attaches to the anchor) so that when the pendulum is attached, the ‘tick & tock’ are even.

  4. can you advise me where i can get spare parts for my fusee wall clock

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