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 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 restorer. 

 

Pouvillon-7-000.mp3. 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.

Pouvillon-8-000.mp3.  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 diminutive movement. 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 sunrise/sunset dial. 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 missing.

Photo 8 007. We have again the lunar dial. Flags 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 rating dial. Photo 8 009. We have the drive train, flag 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. Flag 2 shows the operating lever for the equation of time just arched over the front steel frame.

 

Pouvillon-8-009.mpg. 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.

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