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 POUVILLON RESTORATION PROJECT - August 2011

Reassemble main movement. Suspension spring and suspension pillar frame, escapement

Pouvillon-12-000.mp3. Photo 12 001. In this photograph we have the majority of the components comprising the suspension spring, the suspension spring safety device as well as the raising and lowering mechanism for rating. Photo 12 002. We have the rating plate. If one takes a careful look at the engraving we’ll notice that it is rather amateurish. The numbers are irregular and one would say not of commercial standard. Photo 12 003. One of the suspension springs alongside a steel rule. Interesting to notice is that the spring is recessed in the section between the two clamping holes. Also we can see fretting in the center of the spring where it touches regulating cheeks.

Photo 12 004 is a close up of one end of the suspension spring. We can see better the reduced thickness for the center section of the spring as well as on the upper edge just above the screw hole two small identification notches. Photo 12 005. The rating screw and the two upper suspension spring clamp plates. It shows a beautiful thread. We can see the suspension spring numbering center punch marks next to the inner sets of holes. Also note the tapered point on the rating screw, we’ll discuss this later. Photo 12 006. The support bush which fits in the circular hole in a slot and actually caries the weight of the pendulum you’ll see there is a conical hole in the top of the bush which matches the tip of the rating screw.

Photo 12 007 is the rating screw and its support bush in place on the main platform. Photo 12 008 are the two suspension spring cheeks. You’ll notice they are cutout or recessed below the upper surface so that we only have point contact on the suspension springs. Photo 12 009. The two suspension spring safety straps (rings).

Photo 12 010 shows the pallet pivot cock on the suspension plate. Of interest is that it appears to have been re-bushed. A slightly different color material to the main more bronze colored bush in the photograph. If you enlarge this photograph you will see the larger bush appears to be of a cast type material. You can also see some wear in the actual pivot hole. Photo 12 011 is the opposite side of the pallet pivot bush. Here again we can see the re-bushing that has taken place. Also apparent is imperfections in the actual steel which would lend one to think that we are working with wrought iron here. Photo 12 012 is the lower suspension spring assembly. You’ll note that we have a tapered pin that actually carries the pendulum and also mates the two plates together. We can see the centers at each end where the two suspension safety pins were machined. Note attention to detail in the taper pin having machined to a constant diameter at each end.

Pouvillon-12-012.mp3. Photo 12 013. We have the complete suspension spring assembly reassembled. Note the punch identification marks on the plates as well as all of the screw heads. This would be typical of any hand-made clock where one has a lot of fitting happening. When a component is assembled and parts are not made to an ultimate standard. Photo 12 014 shows the upper view of the suspension spring assembly. Here we have some interesting features. Obviously again a multitude of identification marks but also you will notice the safety straps have been fitted ; not only are they beautifully fitted, but the slot into which they fit is slightly tapered on both the left and right hand strap. It must have taken a considerable amount of skill to fit these components to the standard as well as leading us to believe that Mr. Pouvillon did not have access to a milling machine. While obviously having access to a lathe, he was building this clock using very traditional methods. Photo 12 015 is the suspension assembly slid into the slot. One has to fit it from the side then place the support bush in its hole and then afterwards follow it by the two cheek blocks. This makes the whole assembly captive.

Photo 12 016. We have the underside of the suspension assembly. Note how the safety straps closely fit into the slot in the platform. Also the polished, domed end of the support bush and also the nicely finished screws on the suspension cheeks. If we look at the cock which supports the pallet arbor at the base where the cock joins the main plate we’ll see a screw hole breaking through the edge of the plate. This screw hole is related to the mounting of the orrery support plate or base plate. It’s interesting to note that these screw holes not centered and rather unsightly. Photo 12 017 is an overall view of the suspension assembly with the two suspension spring cheeks in place. You’ll notice that now the support bush is very nicely embraced by the cheeks and giving a complete look to the whole assembly. Photo 12 018 is a side view of the suspension assembly. We can see the clearance below the upper surface of the suspension cheek blocks and also the way the two pins project through the suspension safety straps. The use of the suspension spring safety rings is fairly common in tower clocks, but unheard  of in a domestic sized clock. Here it would seem to be appropriate considering the heavy pendulum bob. One can't help but notice the great care that went into this complicated suspension assembly which shares more characteristics with a precision tower clock than a domestic clock.

Pouvillon-15-000.mp3. Photo 15 011. We have the pallet assembly. Of interest to note is the square drive to the pallet arbor and also the unusual mounting of the two hardened steel pallet faces. The body of the pallet is split and we have two jacking screws or a jack and a clamp screw to widen or narrow the distance between the pallets. These are not visible in this picture. Of interest to note is the actual pallets themselves don’t have a constant radius as in a standard deadbeat escapement. Photo 15 002. We have a close up of the pallets showing again the non-parallel curved section before the impulse face. Also of interest is the recesses as well as the mounting pads on the pallets; that being obviously hand filed. Photo 15 003 is the strike fly the little overrun ratchet is obviously a pressed on addition. Otherwise it appears that this component is a casting.

Photo 15 004. We have a close up of the steel octagonal main pillar that supports the pendulum. And what we are trying to show in this picture is that Mr. Pouvillon has used what I suspect is wrought iron. We can see actual racks or flaws in the material in the longitudinal direction which would be, I believe, a clear indication this is wrought iron. These same flaws are seen throughout the steel frame members. It may seem strange to use what now may seem a primitive material. Why not use modern steel? We can only speculate that perhaps Pouvillon wanted to keep the feel of a tower clock by using the same materials that he was familiar with on the tower clocks he had worked on in his career. It may have also been the material most available at the time. We speculate that the basic clock was made sometime before he began to create the complications in 1929. It could have been earlier in his working life perhaps as early around 1918. Steel may have also been in short supply after WWI. Photo 15 005. We have a dismantled view of the lower plinth on which the main pendulum support pillar stands. It’s made in three sections. We have the octagonal main pillar, then a little flat pillow section just with a flat semicircular edge, and then the molded bottom frame. Photo 15 006 is again a semi-exploded view of one of the main pillars showing the three subassemblies. Also interesting to note on the base of the actual pillar is again the blemishes or flaws in the steel; these going crossways Very interesting and I do wonder whether this component wasn’t possibly forged as well as machined out of a solid. Anything that saved machining was generally easier than chewing a large lump of material a way to produce something.

Photo 15 007. Again another view of the pillar and its exploded base also the two fixing screws. On this clock many screws are numbered with center punch marks to show the mating hole. And this is very necessary as I’ve found on a number of occasions the screws are not interchangeable, each one has been made to fit its own mating thread. If one swaps them around one will be decidedly loose and the other sometimes impossible to screw home properly. Photo 15 012, 013 is the rear support frame and suspension assembly.

Pouvillon-15-013.mp3. Photo 15 014. We have the main suspension assembly including the rating mechanism. Photo 15 015. Another photograph of the pendulum suspension as well as, of course, the cock supporting the escape, or the pallet arbor. Interesting to note is that the pivot point of the pallet arbor is considerably below the actual flex point of the suspension spring. This leads to rubbing of the impulse pin in the slot of the pendulum; an unnecessary increase in friction. Photo 15 016 is just another view of the suspension assembly from the rear. We can see, obviously, the safety straps as well as the indicator hand that I would like to reinsert and get the point closer to the brass surface. Not, of course, touching the brass but just to reduce the gap. It looks, of course, twice the size due to the reflection in the beat plate.

Photo 15 017. A front view or front on view, of the suspension assembly. Photo 15 018. In the center of the rim in the foreground we have, I believe, a casting blemish or shrinkage that caused a cavity. Not of structural import as it’s very narrow but nonetheless an interesting blemish. It would appear that all the brass work, particularly the gears are not of a plain brass but more a bronze type material; possibly, what looks like what I would call a turret clock gear bronze, a very attractive color. Photo 15 019 is the strike barrel components ready for reassembly, (not shown). Photo 15 020. Another photo of the strike barrel components.

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