A general overview of various mechanical developments as they
relate to tower clocks. Specific categories include, frame design, escapements,
remontoire, strike systems, winding and maintaining power systems. All accompanied by
photographic examples. Paper ends with a brief description of a small tower clock
restoration project. Table of contents below. The paper is a formalization of my notes and
slides that I have used over the years in live lectures.
This paper starts with a history of the clock's beginnings and
the fire that destroyed the old Westminster Palace. How the clock was put out for bid and
the intrigues between the competitors and the referees. The conflicts between the
clockmaker, Edward Dent and the chief architect for the new Palace, Charles Barry which
lead to a design compromise that was the source of the great accident which
would occur to the clock 114 years later. The heart of the paper is an analysis
of the accident itself as conducted by official British forensic scientists. The paper
finishes with a description of the recent major overhaul conducted in 2007 for the clock's
accompanied by photos and diagrams. The paper is a formalization of my notes and slides
that I have used in live lectures.
An introduction to the Astronomical Skeleton Clock project.
This paper explains the concepts and design of a very
complex skeleton clock I am having made to my commission through the presentation of the
full scale wooden mockup made in July of 2006 before beginning on the actual fabrication
in metal a year later. This device will have 21 complications, 3 remontoire, over 300
wheels, and 8000 parts. While it will not be the most complex horological artifact made in
the past 200 years, I hope it will be one of the more interesting. Where this device will
distinguish itself is in its visual presentation in the form of intricate design, the
frequent and fascinating dance of various components, and the attention to detail in the
form of superior fit and finish compared to anything that has been done before on this
scale. This paper was published in the August 2007 issue of the National Association of
Watch and Clock Collectors Bulletin,
In August of 2010 I had written this paper commemorating the third
year of fabrication and what was the half-way point in the creation of the Astronomical
Skeleton Clock. About 150 of the over 300 wheels had been completed. The time train was
finished and working on and off for about a year. A major redesign of the movement was
initiated in December of 2008 and completed with a new mockup in March of 2009. By this
time nearly all of the components that would reside between the main movement plates were
complete and had been transferred from the temporary plastic main plates to their metal
counterparts. In January of 2010 the project appeared on the front cover of the British
Horological Society's Horological Journal. The bulk
of the clock to the casual observer would look to be mostly complete at this point.
However, the same number of components are yet to be fabricated in the form of all
of the sixteen celestial complications, behind-the-dial-work, polishing, gold plating and
fabrication of the stand and case yet to be tackled. The adventure continues...
Below is a 23 minute video montage covering the clock from its
inception through August 2010.
A few publications where the astronomical clock
project has been featured.