POUVILLON RESTORATION PROJECT - August 2011
Some observations on the construction of the clock
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 11 014. 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
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
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.
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,
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
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
Photo 11 031.
Here we have a close up of the exposed bearing due to, I believe, a later
This later modification was to accommodate the installation of the Easter
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