Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Wallingford clock at St Albans Cathedral (England)

Wallingford clock at St Albans Cathedral in England
At St. Albans Cathedral they have made a replica of the 14th Century clock and astronomical indicator designed and built by Richard of Wallingford. It takes 18 years to complete full cycle! When it was created, Richard's clock was probably the most complex clock in the British isles -- and among the most sophisticated anywhere.

Here is a web site dedicated to the Wallingford clock at St. Albans Cathedral.


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Monday, March 15, 2010

Book: Practical Clock Repairing

Practical Clock Repairing
For those of you interested, here is a top-rated book on clock repair, ...

From the book description:
In this book, the author has dealt with the usual faults likely to develop in each type of movement in a clock's general use, from the lordly grandfather to the humble alarm. All the tools and equipment are described and illustrated, together with the ways of using them. The craftsman's most important and valuable tools of all — his skillful fingers — are shown in use in the clearest manner. Over 400 line drawings have been specially made from parts under working conditions.

Here's where to get Practical Clock Repairing (3rd Edition)


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Four solid wooden clock designs and plans

This clock with wooden works was the maker's FIRST attempt at designing and building a wooden clock. The gears were cut with a home-made CNC machine and finished by hand. The maker's extensive experience with 3D modeling software surely helped, but it is an amazing feat to have a working clock from the first design. He has gone on to design four other clocks. You can order finished clocks from his site. He also sells plans for 40 Euro.

Here is a link to four solid wood clocks by this talented craftsman in Italy.


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Friday, January 08, 2010

Video explanation - how a singing bird clock works

Justin Miller over at blackforestclocks.org has made a nice video in which he describes how a singing bird clock works. It's a really cool mechanism to see and a clear, concise description of how it works. Thanks Justin!

Here is a link where you can learn more about this singing bird clock.


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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Verge and Foliot clock escapment in wood

My appreciation and interest in clock mechanisms is growing all the time. Here's a wood version of one of the earliest of all escapements: the verge and foliot.

Wikipedia on the verge escapement:
The verge (or crown wheel) escapement is the earliest known type of mechanical escapement, the mechanism in a mechanical clock that controls its rate by advancing the gear train at regular intervals or 'ticks'. Its origin is unknown. Verge escapements were used from the 14th century until about 1800 in clocks and pocketwatches. The name verge comes from the Latin virga, meaning stick or rod.

Its invention is important in the history of technology, because it made possible the development of all-mechanical clocks. This caused a shift from measuring time by continuous processes, such as the flow of liquid in water clocks, to repetitive, oscillatory processes, such as the swing of pendulums, which had the potential to be more accurate. Oscillating timekeepers are at the heart of every clock today.

Here is a link to Wikipedia's article on the verge escapement.

[ Thanks Steve! ]


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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Large-scale all wood "pocket" watch

Back in March of 2007, I posted about a real wooden pocket watch. The one shown here is also made of wood and also a pocket watch. The big difference is that this one isn't at pocket watch scale. It's actually 10-1/2" in diameter and 3" thick. Even so, this is a stunning demonstration of artistry and craftsmanship.

Some details on the watch:

The escape is a double-roller Swiss Lever with a half-second balance wheel. ...The escape has banking pins and a safety roller, so - like a watch - it runs in any position. You can even shake it or bang it around, and she keeps on ticking!

The balance wheel is in Teflon bushings and the escape wheel is on ball bearings. The pins on the balance wheel have small screws inside to adjust the poise. The cherry pallets are adjustable. The anchor for the "hairspring" (actually a very small clock spring) moves with an adjustment lever to regulate the watch. It keeps perfect time.

Here is a link to see more images of the wooden watch.


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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another nice wooden clock, this one frameless

Here is interesting clock with a (mostly) wooden mechanism designed and built by Adrian Iredale. He says this design was inspired by Clayton Boyer.

I am going to have to step up and make one of these one day.

You can buy wooden clock plans from Clayton Boyer's web site.


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Medieval astronomical wooden clock design

Take a look at the beautiful wooden clock video. The wooden mechanism clock was designed by Clayton Boyer and built by Adrian Iredale. Beautiful work. One day, I'm going work up the courage (or set aside a substantial amount of time) to make one of Boyer's amazing clock designs.


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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Antique alarm clock with automatic candle snuffer

Carriage clock with automatic candle snuffer
Here's a really nifty gadget clock dating between 1840 and 1875.

From the eBay listing item description
The rear left corner of the clock has a candle tube, and the front has a cantilevered arm that is activated by a time setting on the clock. Upon reaching the desired time setting, the arm lowers and the cup on it’s end snuffs out the candle.There is also a wake-up alarm setting. So we here have a clock that tells the owner when to go to sleep, and when to wake up!

Here's the link for more info on this Carriage clock with alarm and automatic candle snuffer


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Friday, May 29, 2009

The inner workings of a German singing bird box

Here is a great video giving us the rare opportunity to see the inner workings of a miniature singing mechanical bird. This piece was restored in the clock and automata shop of Ray Bates who specializes in the professional restoration of antique clocks, marine chronometers, and automata.

Learn more about Ray Bates at The British Clockmaker site.


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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Big Book of Wooden Clocks: Projects & Patterns

Big Book of Wooden Clocks: 25 Projects & Patterns
Here is a new book on wooden clocks scheduled to be released in July of 2009.

The book compiles a number of projects from Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts magazine.It looks pretty good -- especially the wooden gear clock depicted on the cover and detailed in pages 120 to to 134. Those 14 pages alone were enough to convince me to pre-order it.

Product Description from Amazon
Featuring some of the most popular projects from sold-out issues of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Craftsmagazine, the projects in this collection include a wide range of clock styles, such as grandfather clocks with intricate fretwork, classic pendulum clocks, and whimsical desk clocks. Detailed plans for more than 25 projects cover the entire process with step-by-step instructions, complete materials lists, instructions on buying and inserting clock parts, cutting the clock using a scroll saw, assembling the pieces, and applying finishes.

Here's more information on Big Book of Wooden Clocks: 29 Favorite Projects & Patterns .


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Friday, April 24, 2009

Skeleton Clock with chronometer escapement

I'm no authority on clocks or clockworks, but you just have to love a large skeleton clock with all the exposed metallic mechanical finery. Here is a good example of what I mean. This clock happens to use what is known as a 'chronometer escapement'.

Here is a book on various clock and watch escapements with detailed instructions for making all types of escapements and for locating and correcting problems with them.


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Monday, March 09, 2009

John Harrison, his clocks & longitude problem

Here is a 10 minute video segment about one of my heroes -- John Harrison. Harrison was the creator of the marine chronometer which gave sailors the first reliable way to determine their longitude while at sea. People didn't trust watches and clocks as we do now and many scientists of the day sought an astronomical solution to the problem. While possible, this was extremely impractical approach to use on board a tossing ship at sea in all kinds of weather.

Harrison made a total of four marine chronometers (H1, H2, H3 and H4), each more sophisticated that the one before. Prejudice and politics kept him from receiving a large prize for solving this problem. It wasn't until he was an old man and had gotten the attention of the British king that he was officially recognized for his contributions to science, horology, and navigation.

The full story can be found in Dava Sobel's book Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time.


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Friday, January 09, 2009

Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery

While I have admired Clayton Boyer's wooden clock designs for a long time, this project places him firmly in my pantheon of heroes. This wooden machine of his design keeps track of everything -- including the retrograde motion of planets and how many days are in a given month! Ingenius -- there is no other word for it.

From his web site:
The Celestial Mechanical Calendar shows the day of the week, day of the month and the month. In addition, she indicates the Zodiac Sun Sign and New Moon Ascension sign, has a MoonPhase Ball that indicates a nearly exact reflection of what the actual moon is doing in the night sky. She also has a Full Moon Ascension Window, and an Orrery showing the synodic rotations of the three closest planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars and indicates when they go into retrograde. The Celestial Mechanical Calendar also knows if the month has 28, 30 or 31 days and advances herself automatically.

Check out all the details or -- if your are feeling ambitious -- order the plans to make the Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery.


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beautiful wooden tower clock with wood gears

Here's a nice video of a beautiful wooden tower clock. The clock was designed and built by Adrian Iredale, who was inspired in part by Clayton Boyer's wooden clock designs.


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Incredible Grasshopper Clock - The Corpus Clock

Incredible Grasshopper Clock - The Corpus ClockThis mechanical clock was unveiled at the University of Cambridge last Friday. Cosmologist Stephen Hawking was there to introduce what is know as "The Corpus Clock".

The clock was created by horologist John Taylor. He designed the timepiece as a tribute to English clock maker John Harrison, inventor of the first viable marine chronometer. If you want to learn more about Harrison, I recommend Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time.

The Corpus Clock has slits cut into its face behind which blue lights indicate the hour, minute, and second. On top of the clock is a mechanical grasshopper-like creature named "chronophage," meaning "time eater". The creature eats away the minutes with its moving jaws as the minutes advance toward it.

Here is an article on the clock. Here is another article on The Corpus Clock at Wikipedia.

Here is a video of the Corpus Clock.

[ Thanks Art! Thanks Aaron! ]


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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reuge Musical Alarm Pocket Watch with Automata

Reuge Musical Alarm Pocket Watch with Automata
Take a look at this beautiful pocket watch by famed music box maker, Reuge.

This entirely mechanical pocket watch features the an alarm that uses an internal music box to play "Oh what a beautiful morning". The face of the watch also features three moving automata.

The man on the horse moves his arm up and down, the horse lowers its head to drink the water and the lady operates the pump. In a very nice bit of detail, the water itself can be seen flowing from the pump into the basin.

The watch comes with its original box and key -- a Breguet ratchet style and is used to wind up the music box. There is also a button on the back that will start and stop the music and automata.

Here is the complete eBay listing with many more nice photographs of the musical alarm pocket watch with automata by Reuge


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