April meeting – Music boxes

Music Boxes and Automata – Ted Brown

Have you ever been fascinated by mechanical music automata or novelties?

It is most likely if you love clocks watches you will have come across such items either included in a musical clock or watch. Mechanical music has been celebrated and used long before the pendulum was introduced to horology.P6140753 (1)

Our speaker this month has taken his fascination for Mechanical Music boxes to a higher level. The highly respected Ted Brown has been collecting all of his life assembling a small museum of these Victorian artefacts. He will bring along a selection from his collection and talk to us on Music Boxes, Small Automata, and Novelties. Ted does not normally talk on his subject outside of his museum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFollowing one of our visits last year, to a private collection of clocks music boxes and cars, Ted has offered to give us a guided tour of his collection at “The Victorian Music Room” later this year. Ted will discuss methods of restoration and repair and is happy to answer any technical questions we may have.

Savage two-pin lever escapement

01South London Branch member, Antonio Silva, sent these pictures of a carriage clock with savage two-pin lever escapement that had been on his bench recently. When he started to dismantle the platform escapement, he was surprised to find a red powdery deposit that had built up around the balance staff and lever. At first he thought it might be polishing compound such as rouge.

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On closer inspection it turned out that one of the two pins on the roller had been replaced with a polished steel pin and through constant contact with the steel lever had worn and the subsequent dust had oxidized into powdery rust.04

The pins on the Savage escapement were usually gold and do wear and so it is normal to see replacements but, from this example, it is clear that steel replacements are not a good idea.

March meeting – practical demonstrations

Our March meeting was somewhat of a break from the norm, with a series of practical demonstrations from a number of branch members. Thanks to the wonders of technology, the demonstrations were (almost entirely) projected onto a large screen for the audience’s convenience.

An artist's impression of the March meeting

 

Demonstrations:

Maurice Fagg – a video demonstration of re-pivoting a watch pinion

Duncan Grieg – turning on the clockmakers’ throw

James Marten – using a clock mainspring winder

Ron Rose – using the piercing saw

Alan White – the construction and use of an electronic dividing tool

Three watchmaking videos

A morning’s trawl of youtube very quickly turned up some fascinating short films about watchmaking. Here are just three:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APbYl5zjR24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-y2Kavc6IQ

And just in case you need an antidote to the smooth voice-over actors – here is a video from the swatch group featuring the late Nicolas Hayek about recreating the Marie Antoinette watch, which at the time had been stolen and apparently lost forever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqlclo8uiVI

 

February meeting – Thwaites & Reed

 

Our last meeting was given by Mr John Warner from Burgess Hill a member of the Sussex branch of the BHI and the AHS.

 

John comes from a chemical engineering background and lived in Rhodesia working for subsidiaries of Fisons and ICI.  He served in both the Rhodesian Air Force and the Rhodesian Army against Robert Mugabe.  Relocating to England in the 1980’s he has been a Company Director and a Management Consultant. He turned his horological interests from a hobby to a vocation and he is now a full-time watch and clock restorer.  In association with Thwaites and Reed, has worked professionally on some very famous clocks.

 

 

Clockmaking in East Grinstead – exhibition

In amongst the pile of flyers advertising fast food, double glazing etc. at SLBBHI towers this month was this horological gem and we thought it best to share.

East Grinstead Museum are holding an exhibition of local clockmaking, running from February 6th through to June 2nd, and you can download the PDF advertisement using the following link:

East Grinstead Museum exhibition flyer

Clockmaking in East Grinstead