Bells; preparatory work for Horological Journal cover - November
B now begins work on the bell mounts and how
the bells will be positioned. The mockup bells were a bit smaller than the actual ones
that were made for us from the Whitechapel Foundry, London back in October of 2006. This
presented some problems in positioning and esthetics. The second photo shows especially
the large over-hang of the bells. In the current form they overwhelm the symmetry and make
the right side too heavy; unbalanced.
The next step was to insert the bells into the mockup to see how we could
improve the design. The first two photos show the bells as first designed. The last, end
on shot shows the bells reconfigured to put the smallest bell in the front as opposed to
the largest. This allowed the set to look more tucked in behind the tellurium dial giving
more balance with the remontoire on the opposite side.
This went quite a way toward making the bells look less prominent from the
front. We also reworked the mounts to tuck the bells about 1/2" closer to the frame
to more fully balance the bells with the remontoire mechanism on the left side.
We now turned our attention to the mounts which will be needed to attach
the bells to the frame. This also was relevant to certain areas where we needed an
'outboard' cock to handle a wheel that would not fall within the range of the pillars of
the main movement frame. Given the number of wheels and complexity of the movement, there
is no way we could keep all of the wheels within the main movement pillars. It's
interesting to note that our vertical frame pillars hearken back to the very earliest
frame designs of the 12th century where the wheels were confined to the vertical frame
bars in what are known as birdcage designs. This was carried over from the age of wrought
iron to that of the cast iron frames in the Victorian period of the mid the later 1800's
until fully formed cast plates separated by spacers were made for all but the largest
movements. For further discussion see a paper I've written on history of tower clock design.
The first photo below shows what a cast outboard piece would look like for
a wheel. The last photo a similar piece to support the bells. While the look of these
models was very nice, I liked the complexity and texture that a set of cast pieces would
bring, I was concerned that there were no other areas of the movement where a casting was
used. We decided to keep with the curvilinear form, but to fabricate the parts in the same
manner as the rest of the material, that is to be sawn from flat brass stock. The third
photo shows a mockup of what a flat stock versus cast would look like opposite each other.
Next we turned to the preparations for the photo shoot needed to produce
material for the January 2010 front and rear covers of the Horological Journal. The
editor had approached B about this possibility early in October. Up to this point the
movement's dual Wagner remontoire had been using a set of hex nuts as the remontoire drive
weights, so an appropriate decorative weight had to be fabricated.
Below is a close-up showing the concentricity and complexity of the time
train. Next the photo shoot setup.
Shown below in the background is the actual movement as completed to date
with the wooden mockup in the foreground.