POUVILLON RESTORATION PROJECT - August 2011
Initial observations, begin forensic recordings
We begin this project with a general description and
disassembly of the clock. I have asked Buchanan to provide what I call a
'forensic' report. That is to record his observations as he goes along. I
will provide the .mp3 audio file
for each segment but just in case your security settings will not allow you
to open this file I have also transcribed each session. My additional
comments will be inserted into the text from time to time and this will be in red
text. Buchanan refers to each photo by the number
of that photo which can be followed by each photo above the captioned text.
The .mp3 audio file will appear at the beginning of the photo sequence
in blue text. Click on this text
and you can then follow along with the audio file by scrolling downward
through the photos as they are narrated one by one in the voice of the
Pouvillon 7 001,
photograph A and I have a pointer labeled 1 pointing at the extended pin on
the rim of the strike great wheel. This pin revolves once in 24 hours and
operates the feed lever to the
Easter calculator. A little higher and to the left of the pillar you can
see the rim of the count wheel which is used at present as well as in the
actual rim of the great wheel a number of pins spaced according to the
strike count that don’t appear to have any other function. The next
photograph B, that is Pouvillon 7
002. I have a number of labels 1 to 4. Label 1 is pointing to the
latching mechanism of the strike train which projects right across the front
of the clock pivoted at the back of the picture. Label 2 is pointing at the
bevel drive to the strike fly, the governor, fly. Label three right at the
top of the picture behind the bezel of the dial is the actuating lever that
runs on a snail that gives you your half-hour trips. Label four is the upper
end of the feed to the Easter calculator. You can actually see the black
line of the wire that goes down to the feed pawl pillar on the bottom plate.
Flag five shows the connecting the rod between a twenty four hour trip pin
from the strike great wheel and the
Epact feed pawl on the Easter calculator. We now know
this to be not true. It appears a later repairer tried to make this
connection in the belief that a daily trip feed to the Epact was Pouvillon's
original intent. While there is a separate feed needed to the Epact
mechanism, it is not from this location, nor is it a 24 hour feed cycle.
Photo 8 001.
Flag 2 shows the pendulum spring safety feature.
These are rarely seen in domestic clocks, but quite common in tower clocks.
The massive bob used in this clock is similar in weight to that used in
tower clocks and thus is quite appropriate in what is otherwise a very
Photo 8 002.
Flag 4 pointing to the beat
adjustment screw for the pendulum; sorry it’s a dark photograph. Of note is
the certain degree of roughness around the pivot for the pallet arbor you
can see it in the foreground and you can see the two rockers and the balance
weight on the upper left-hand side showing the mechanism for the
Photo 8 003 is a rear view of the clock showing the steel
lining in the pendulum rod, flag
3. It has a nice bezel or frame around the front, chamfered frame which is
quite attractive. There’s not much else to comment on this photo apart from
what just struck me are the two screws in the octagonal base of the pillars.
I suppose they are holding the horizontal frames to the pillars.
Photo 8 004
is just to show the degree of rust pitting on the rating frame or the
pendulum support bracket in the upper pillar. Perhaps this photo is a bit
worse (it makes it look a bit worse) than it actually is.
Photo 8 005 shows the two types
of fixing screws, one holding the steel base to the brass base and the
hexagonal bolt holding the whole unit to the frame,
flag 1. The hexagonal brass heads
jar a little when you look at them. Whether that's something we need to do later or tend to.
Or whether we leave and polish nicely we’ll have to see.
Photo 8 006 shows us the bell
support on its angled bracket, very nice touch; gives us some idea of his
artistic capabilities; also the slot in the base obviously where the weight
cord passes through the base. Flag
1 at the top of the picture is pointing to a post on the lunar dial there’s
obviously a thread or wire that goes vertically across that dial that is
Photo 8 007.
We have again the lunar dial.
marked 1 and 2 are two short posts or pillars with a little hole right at
the end which appears to have held some sort of indicator.
Photo 8 008 is the two feed
pawls that rotate and feed on the star wheels.
Flag 1 just above the day dial in
the center you can just see three teeth projecting so this makes one
revolution per day, per 24 hours, and steps on the two left most dials, the
day dial and the zodiac for the day dial. The dial on the left, the strike
indicator dial with the unequal hours, that is driven directly and
continuously off the strike train. So that is revolving continuously each
time the clock strikes; makes one revolution in 24 hours. The pawl,
flag 2 engages with the star
wheel just below 1, unfortunately I covered most of that. And that steps on
the orrery on a daily basis. On the upper right hand side we can just see
Photo 8 009.
We have the drive train,
1 coming up from the hour arbor
and this feeds the drive that goes up the center of the orrery and actually
revolves the Earth at the correct constant rate; not the irregular feed of
the hours which effect a few of the other dials.
2 shows the operating lever for the equation of time just arched over the
front steel frame.
Photo 8 010
gives us the center arbor of the time dial showing a clamp screw which is
used to fix the minute hand that gives the time of day at the chosen
latitude. The colors on my screen are not truly representative barring the
hand pointing approximately at 9 o’clock which has actually quite a purple
color which is more typical. It’s really a case of a combination of the
color of the hand and the background that is reflected.
Photo 8 011. The flag 1 is
pointing to the lifting arbor for the strike hammer and we have the pinwheel
that operates it, of course, central to the clock also we have the winding
square for the strike barrel projecting forward. It’s interesting to note we
still have a center left on the tip of the arbor. This is perhaps one of the
features that I would say gives one an impression this clock was an
amateur-built clock. When one builds a clock for sale something like this
would be unacceptable. When one builds a clock for one’s own pleasure these
things apparently do not matter so much. This is a
feature often seen in tower clock arbors, especially the winding arbors.
This one of many features that this clock has in common with the tower
clocks Pouvillon was familiar with.
Photo 8 012.
We have the rating assembly. An interesting and very nice feature
particularly with such a heavy pendulum is the pendulum safety feature, flag
1, pointing to it. This raises and lowers with the suspension spring, quite
a nice feature. The two plates, flag 2, appear to be adjustable to control
the amount of play between these two plates and the suspension spring. The
rating hand on the top dial, on the brass dial, we see Tommy bar holes for
rotating it. This is another feature in common with
tower clocks. It’s a question as whether we try and get the tip of the hand
closer to the scale or whether it should be as it is. There appears to be
some physical damage and I’m not quite sure why the tapered base is not up
against the actual map itself.
Photo 8 013 is a better
photograph of the pendulum rod and its steel window for the impulse pin from
the pallet. One could point to the uneven filing typical of the ‘warmth’
that we refer to in a hand-made article.
Photo 8 014.
Flag 1 shows the beat adjustment assembly. This consists of a clamp secured
to the escapement arbor and secured by two knurled nuts. This is a most
unusual, and somewhat awkward, way of accomplishing a beat adjustment
compared to the many other more straightforward methods available.
Photo 8 015.
We have the lunar dial. In the background we obviously have the time winding
drum which is out of focus. We have a vertical arbor coming from the strike
train which feeds a series of three small gears driving again a vertical
arbor to a worm wheel which drives the moon arbor. This whole assembly is
very dainty. Although it appears sparse, it is quite elegant. Interesting to
note the decorative pillars supporting the lunar dial and the little short
pillar right at the center bottom of the photo.
Photo 8 016 shows a bevel gear
drive to the rotating moon. This is very small and very nicely constructed.
It must have taken I would say, some skill to manufacture it so nicely.
Photo 8 017, flag 1 gives us the
universal drive from the escape wheel or the pin wheel right through to the
center seconds hand. There is a screw missing on this universal it is a
cross type with an outer ring approximately 1/8 of an inch in diameter, also
very delicate. It’s an interesting feature in this clock where one has
superlative work along sometimes quite robust construction.
It seems odd to add a universal joint on an
arbor that is directly connected to the escape wheel. It certainly is not
good practice to add such a complex unit with moving parts, friction, etc.
to the escapement. However, it appears that it would have been difficult to
have a solid, thin arbor running the length needed from the escape wheel
through the center of the main dial for the seconds indication.
Photo 8 018
is the drive to the missing year wheel that drives the equation of time cam.
So we’re looking virtually out from the center of the clock towards the
sunrise/sunset dial. On the right hand side, of course, we have the pallet
arbor with the beat adjustment nuts (1). Right at the top just below the orrery
platform we have a feed wheel with a pawl pointing backwards toward the
pillar which drives the five armed star wheel which passes through (has an
arbor passing through) the steel pillar (2). And projecting out the back is yet
another single-leaf pawl that would feed the star wheel. Hanging down on the
left hand side of the pillar we have the pawl that would prevent the
rotation of the star wheel until a feed arises (3). Note again dainty turned
pillars supporting the bridge holding the feed arbor. And of course at the
lower end of the tapered steel pillar at the center of the picture we have
the empty pivot that would carry the star wheel, the one year wheel arbor.
Photo 8 019 is another picture
of the same assembly. The circular graining on the equation of time lever is
visible here and is also used on the sun rise/sun set dial assembly.
Note in the last photo the two drop down
pillars in the lower left hand corner of the photo. These each have two
pivot holes that span a large area of the clock, yellow circled area
. It was not obvious upon
initial observations, but these will later be crucial in containing the one
missing essential assembly that controls the nearly the entire left-hand surface area
of the clock; the length of day/night dials, the daylight horizon shutters;
in addition a critical feed to the Easter calculator. This assembly also controlled
the equation of time dial as displayed by the mystery dial.