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 POUVILLON RESTORATION PROJECT - August 2011

Some observations on the construction of the clock

Pouvillon-9-033.mp3. Photo 9 034. We have a close up view of the banking lever in the locked state after a normal strike has completed its cycle. Photo 9 035. We have the strike train in the banked condition where we have a second lever on the left hand side latching on a projection sideways 1800 around the latching arbor from the previous photograph. Photo 9 036. We have strike in operation as one can detect from the blurred motion of the pinion and we can see the lever ending in the square end waiting to be dropped in the way of the latching lever to stop the strike.

Photo 9 037. We have the upper frame of the clock with the top brass platform removed. It’s interesting to note that the semicircular front support for the orrery base plate is actually attached by a single screw to the top of the top main frame. Photo 9 038. We have a close up of the attachment point between the semicircular support and the front main frame. There is virtually no flat to give a proper engineering contact between these two frames. It seems that this semicircular frame has been added as required and not a pre-planned attachment. Photo 9 039. We have another photograph of the semicircular frame removed and the upper portion of the front main frame showing the screw hole and how these two parts only have virtual point contact.

 

 Photo 9 040, not shown, gives us the main movement and strike train complete with all complications removed. What is interesting to note is that how the clock is still a single entity although it appears very bare compared with when the complications are mounted. If one looks at it carefully and one never knew that it had previously had complications attached it would stand in its own right as a simple striking skeleton clock. Photo 9 041. We have another photograph of the plain movement with all complications removed. Photo 9 042. We have a rear view of the plain movement. As one studies it, it’s apparent there is nothing incomplete or missing or extra on the clock at this stage. It is a complete, whole clock without any complications. See the hypothesied time line for the clocks construction. We believe Pouvillon created this part of the clock prior to the addition and indeed before the thought of, adding any complications. We call this phase one and it would have been built prior to 1929 when he began to add complications for the next decade.

Photo 9 043. We have a side view of the clock with flags 4, 6, 2 and 7 showing various complication attachment points. These points all could have been added at a later date. I have a query or opinion that Mr. Pouvillon first made this clock as we see it here and then methodically added complications for the rest of his working life as we know from the translation. These translations are the ANCAHA as well as the two newspaper article we have written about Pouvillon. At a later point he was hoping to be able to complete the Easter calendar, or calculator. Photo 9 044. A close up of attachment point 4 and 6 where the orrery is attached. Photo 9 045 pointed out by flag 2 shows a flat machined on a pillar for the attachment, the only attachment point, for the lunar dial.

Pouvillon-9-045.mp3. Photo 9 046 flag 7 we have another flat machined on a pillar for the attachment of the lunar train. Photo 9 047 flags 8 and 9 are the two mounting holes for the sunrise/sunset complication. Again these holes could have been drilled in the frames at a later date. Photo 9 048 flag 11 we have another screw hole which is the attachment or one of the two attachment points for the Easter calculator again the same condition applies. Of interest is the brass bush fitted into a frame portion in the lower left-hand side of the picture. To the left of the brass bevel gear; giving the correct steel to brass bearing surface and also one can see drilled oil holes for various pivots. An interesting feature in this clock which is, perhaps, more turret clock related than skeleton clock related. In the upper right hand corner we can see the ‘S’ bend in the trip wire from the strike snail. In the rear of the picture just above the bell we have the drive from the strike train that goes up to the orrery as well as the lunar dial and the planisphere. This completes the commentary on the Pouvillon ‘9 series’ of photographs.

 

Pouvillon-11-000.mp3. Photo 11 001. We have the sunrise/sunset hand with what appears to be a blank center and a hand from another clock with a face center of approximately the same size. This equation of time hand is from a clock Deryck’s son had recently made. Something like this could be used as a possible infill. I have yet to decide on this. It would violate the principle of just doing a restoration if we cannot prove that something was in this blank area originally. Photo 11 002. Here we have the main frame of the clock, all complications removed and also the upper horizontal frame removed from the front of the clock.

Photo 11 003. This is a view of the escape wheel as you can see it is a brass pinned pinwheel escapement. The pallet is obviously removed. Photo 11 004. Here we have the upward pinion to the sunrise/sunset twenty four hour dial. Of interest is to note that the teeth are far finer than in the main construction of the clock also there’s no particular position on the arbor to indicate a preplanned positioning point. If we go to the substantial steel pinion on the left hand side we will see where the arbor protrudes from the center boss or hub of the steel pinion we have the start of the tapering on the arbor. So here we have an arbor with a clear indication that here is a mounting point for a pinion and where we have the brass bevel there is no indication. This is one of the factors that support our theory that the complications weren’t preplanned. If you look at the boss of the steel pinion you can see the taper pin projecting diagonally through the hub fixing it to its arbor. We’ll discuss these taper pins on the first stage construction later on. Also interesting is to notice the pins of the pinwheel escapement each having a boss against the rim. They appear to be riveted in. Also a pleasant feature to notice is that while there are wear marks they are almost negligible. In the upper right hand corner we can see an oil hole; which are present on most of the main frame pivots. Also interesting, although we cannot see it here is that all the pivots in the steel frames have had brass bushes fitted. Photo 11 005. Here we have the upward pinion that drives the orrery as well as the lunar and planisphere functions; again just placed at the required point in the arbor with no special parallel portion. Also interesting is that we have a very straight forward taper pin fixing without the main first stage construction square heads. Bottom left hand corner we have the bell hammer in the foreground. We can also see the superfluous pins in the rim of the (strike) great wheel that perform no function at present. It appears they were originally intended for use as the strike count wheel, but a count wheel normally has notches instead of pins and we have the addition of a count wheel ring or rim attached to the great wheel. We’ll discuss this in due course.

Pouvillon-11-005.mp3. Photo 11 006. Here we have a more general view of lower section of the main frame. The features that we can see, of course, are the bevel drive to the fly governor in the background. Again we can see the pins on the rim of the (strike) great wheel. Photo 11 007. Here we have the upper section of the front frame. Interesting is to note we have a pillar screwed into the frame. If you look carefully you will see the threaded portion of the pillar touching the frame and in it you can see a matching oil hole leading to a pivot that is fitted inside this screw. So when the screw is screwed home the pivot of the arbor just behind it runs in the screw that is part of the pillar. This is also brass bushed but it has an oil hole communicating to it through the frame and through the side of the screw thread. Photo 11 008. Here we have the minute hand arbor projecting out the front of the clock. We’ll see up against the main frame we have a lever attached to the arbor; screwed rigidly to it. On the end of the lever is attached a pawl with an integral spring riveted to the tail of the pawl. This is the ratchet drive that allows hand synching as opposed to the normal cannon pinion type drive. It makes for a very positive drive. One can manually depress the pawl, if you can get your finger to it and set the hands with comparative ease. Otherwise it is a one-way hand adjustment. This is a common method used in tower clocks; another nod by Mr. Pouvillon to that sort of construction in his phase one fabrication of the clock.

Photo 11 009. Here we have the gear/snail cam assembly that is in essence the cannon pinion. You’ll notice there’s a missing screw holding this assembly together. This was only discovered when I removed the cannon pinion assembly and in a few photos time we’ll show you where I discovered the screw lodged. It must have fallen out at some stage and been hidden ever since. Photo 11 010. This is again the minute output arbor or the center wheel showing three thin washers used as spacers to control end play in the cannon pinion assembly. Photo 11 011. Here we have the lower horizontal cross bar of the main frame removed; exposing the gear train for the strike. We have the strike pin wheel in the foreground. Mounted on the horizontal frame we have the bell hammer and its actuating lever. This is mounted on a ‘dead arbor’ we can see the domed screw head in the lower projection of the frame. And it’s held in place by the hex nut type fitting that we’ve mentioned before. A feature I like in this clock is that we have long, fine pinions which make for ample bearing area but low friction. Also we can see the connecting lever from the latching of the strike is now laid down sideways. Just at the edge of the picture we can see the hook attachment bent like a Sheppard's crook.  

   

Photo 11 012. Here we have a spacer that has been partially removed from a main frame spacer. So once one has removed a section of frame we have then a spacer and then the next frame. Just below where the main frame spacer or pillar projects through the next horizontal frame just above the screw holding the bell we can see a ‘1’ punched into the boss. This form of identification appears to be present all through the frame which helps identify each particular part in its position. Photo 11 013. Here we have a poor photograph of a pillar spacer. If one looks carefully you can see a pin projecting from the boss in the darker section and a matching hole in the main frame. This provides orientation where we have a clearance issue on the pillar and we don’t want it to revolve. Photo 11 014. Here we have a front view of the main movement. The lower horizontal frame removed plus the gears that come with it. The two arbors that are still in place are actually trapped and require components to be removed before we can extract them from the frames. They run through clearance holes in the actual main front frame.

 

Pouvillon-11-013.mp3. Photo 11 014. Here we have a front view of the main movement. The lower horizontal frame removed plus the gears that come with it. The two arbors that are still in place are actually trapped and require components to be removed before we can extract them from the frames. They run through clearance holes in the actual main front frame. Photo 11 015. Here we have a picture of frame construction just above the strike barrel. The extra polished frame in the foreground is an extra frame added at an apparently later date to support the Easter mechanism. We can see a few interesting factors here. First of all the cock supporting the bevel gear in the bottom right hand corner has been cut away to clear the Easter mechanism.  As well as the boss supporting the cross frame has been cut away to clear the cock supporting the bevel gear. This being a later modification is substantiated by the fact that the steel around the vertical fly arbor pivot has been cut away right back to the brass bush. You can see this just in front of the bevel gear.

Photo 11 016. Flag 11 is pointing to the way the pillar supporting the cross frame has been filed to clear the cock supporting the bevel drive to the strike fly fan. Photo 11 017. Here we have a main cross frame attached to the pendulum support pillars. What I’m trying to show here is that this frame has a thread cut into the boss which would show that this frame was attached to the octagonal pendulum support pillar by a screw from the back of the pillar. It has since been modified to take a much longer screw and an extra spacer pillar to hold the Easter calculator support frame. On the left hand side we have, of course, the count wheel for the strike. We can see the points where the bail has tested the count wheel at each hour before it drops into the slot to stop the strike. Also at the top left hand corner we can see clearly an inserted brass bush to carry a pivot. Photo 11 018.  Here we have slightly better view further away from the same threaded hole. We can see also the added cross frame to support the Easter calculator loose in the foreground; this spacer has been removed.

 

Photo 11 019 is the cock supporting the bevel drive to the fly. Here we can see it has been cut away to clear the Easter calculator to the extent that we have the side of the brass bush for the pivot exposed. Photo 11 020 is the underneath of the main plate supporting all the pillars. Interesting to note are the substantially domed nuts. We can also see they have been center punched to show their position matching center punches on the steel plate. Also of interest is the single cheese head screw supporting the Easter calculator feed pillar. That has the differing shape to the rest of the pillars in the clock. This pillar is of a similar material and finish to the frame member that supports the Easter calculator shown in photo 11 015. By this time Pouvillon uses a smaller screw to secure this pillar rather than the larger nut directly above used to secure a similar pillar in connection with the bell support and matching the rest of the nuts to hold the clock to the base plate. Another indication of later date from the rest of the construction.

Pouvillon-11-020.mp3. Photo 11 021. A close up of the domed nuts and the two matching center punches; this being marked number 1. Photo 11 022. Here we have nut number 3 with its three center punches and the three matching center punches on the frame. Photo 11 023. A comment is of course that the underneath of the plate is roughly hand filed and finished. Also showing here is the bell support pillar and its substantial nut matching all the original frame construction nuts.

Photo 11 024 is the pillar supporting the Easter calculator feed lever and showing on the opposite side of the base plate the cheese head screw; very different from the previous pillar and its mounting. Photo 11 025. Here in the upper left hand half of the photo we have the cannon pinion and the missing screw. Interesting to note is the little countersunk screw also has a single center punch and a matching center punch on the gear itself. The point of the pencil is showing where the last screw has been discovered in the notch in the center of the main frame. Photo 11 026. Here we have the overrun ratchet and spring assembly on the strike fly. A beautiful, dainty, little construction.

Photo 11 027 showing the top of the pillar of the strike fly. Here we have a conical bearing supporting the vertical bevel we can just see the conical bearing which is a brass insert, and the clamp screw which holds it. Photo 11 028 is the base of the main pendulum support pillar. The small decorative plinth is attached by two screws and again we have the center punch identification to get each screw in its correct position. This makes a restorer’s life a lot more pleasant. Interesting is also the steady pin next to the number 2 screw. That is filled and obviously in the base of the pillar, and a second steady pin hole which relates to the base plate. Photo 11 029. Here we have the conical pivot and its bearing. Notice the interesting design of the fly fan blade. It is not like any conventional clock fly and looks very much like an airplane propeller. At the time Pouvillon was making this clock the aviation industry was still very much a novelty and perhaps Pouvillon used a propeller design to illustrate his interest in this area. It certainly took more effort to create this type of fly blade compared to a conventional flat blade made of sheet brass.

 

Photo 11 030 is the bevel drive to the fly support cock with the, I believe, later cutout. Right at the end of the cock if one looks carefully you can see the brass has been exposed for the vertical pivot just before the right-angle end. Photo 11 031. Here we have a close up of the exposed bearing due to, I believe, a later modification. This later modification was to accommodate the installation of the Easter calculator.

Photo 11 032 is the movement removed from the base plate; ready for final disassembly. Photo 11 033 is the fixing of a wheel to an arbor. This wheel requires removal to dismantle the clock. We have a clamp screw. The clamp screw impinges on a substantial conical seating in the arbor. Just to the right hand of the boss we see a little marker or identification indentation which assists one in aligning this gear correctly on the arbor. Photo 11 034 is the disassembled pinion which we mentioned previously showing the diagonal taper pin which has a square head. This form of construction is found in a few other places on the main movement, or the stage one movement. We also have the later attached bevel And just a plain taper pin which fixed it.

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