August meeting

MARION SMITH –  Researching 18th and 19th Century Lewes Clockmakers.

Pre-talk blurb:

Marion was born, and still lives in Lewes Sussex. She was first introduced to Lewes clockmakers when she visited the longcase clock exhibition convened by the late Michael Sautter, at the premises of Bill Bruce. The longterm storage of a longcase clock by John Holman of Lewes, belonging to her nephew, served as a perpetual reminder that there was some research to be done!

A Richard Comber clock dial showing his unusually refined style - from

A Richard Comber clock dial showing his refined style – from


Marion is a retired psychologist, with a post graduate qualification in social science research methods. Local history research is somewhat different. But there was enough common ground to give her the impetus to launch into the local archives, assisted by access to the books and extensive knowledge provided by Bill Bruce.

The talk will follow the course of her research into 5 significant Lewes clockmakers; considering starting points, sources, recording information, overcoming confusion and maintaining the accuracy of research findings.

The Tale of an Aluminium Tube Or don’t throw it away you might need it

When I was sixteen my father and I bought a Drummond “B” lathe from the swap shop in Croydon. I am now sixty seven and still using the lathe after it came to me upon my father’s death some years ago. Over the years the lathe has had a bed regrind and various modifications including, electronic three phase speed control, a new lead screw and an extended cross slide.

In amongst all the bits and pieces was an aluminium tube about an inch long with markings around it. (See fig 1) Over the years I have considered throwing it in the scrap box as I could never find what it was for.


Recently I attended a course at the BHI to learn how to make fly cutters for wheel and pinion cutting. At the course we learnt to make a form cutter and then how to use this to make the fly cutter. This involved using the form tool on the secondary slide set at an angle to cut the blank.

The secondary slide for the Drummond is normally in the cupboard as I do not use it very often. As it was stiff in operation I stripped it and cleaned the thread adjusted out the back lash and considered what set up was required for cutting the blank. During the strip down a plate fell off with a notch on it, I examined it and reconsidered the o ring on the winding shaft. (See fig2)


Suddenly the light came on and I realised what the tube was for, found it in the draw, sliding it over the shaft and the o ring. My father had made and fitted an imperial vernier for the lead screw.

Having decided that the pitch of the lead screw was ten to the inch how was I going to measure the feed in millimetres?

I turned up a length of brass to fit the shaft. A tenth of an inch is 2.54mm so using my electronic dividing machine I scribed lines at 7.0866141730 this being 0.05 of a mm. The odd 0.4mm was painted black, so one turn bar the black bit is 2.5mm. (See Fig 3)


Rotate the curser round to lose the black bit and I can use the imperial; lead screw to measure mm.  With this device I can measure the feed down to 0.05 of a millimetre. (See Fig 4)



July meeting

The talk was a fascinating and enjoyable journey through an often overlooked area of horological history with great clocks and amazing instruments.
Pre-talk blurb:


Our Speaker will be David Hornsey from Frome in Somerset. David was trained in the scientific field of Biophysics and has a fine arts degree which he gained from studies at Southampton University. He then studied at the British Horological Institute’s course in Birmingham before taking his training further gaining a Diploma in antique clock restoration and conservation from West Dean College. He has an intense interest in Art and technological history.


The title of his talk will be “Clockmaking in Soho, Birmingham” and will focus on the horological history of the mid-18th century to the early 20th. Paying particular attention to the clockmaking of Mathew Boulton of Soho House and the Lunar Men who spearheaded the Industrial Revolution. David will illustrate the progression of 19th century clockmaking with workmen like John Haughton and W F Evans who made many of the elaborate architectural skeleton clocks of the second half of this period. He will also address some of his other research into this fascinating period of the horological history.

June meeting

SID LINES                                  WORKSHOP PRACTICE – HINTS AND TIPS

Lots of useful tips, presented with great clarity!!


Pre-talk blurb read:

This month’s talk is “Hints and Tips” it will have an Engineering slant to it, but will be useful to people that make clocks or clock parts on a regular basis.
The talk starts with a couple of Sid’s favourite gripes, followed by a section on some useful tips on the uses of a
lathe and cutters.
The second section is practical tips on how to get the best from a small milling machine like setting the machine and vice correctly plus some useful tips on cutter alignment.
The last part of the talk covers compression and tension spring making , drills and their uses plus some other odd
things to help in the workshop like pin making and flattening of metals etc.
Regulars at the South London Branch will remember Sid as chairman of the Kent branch. His engineering knowledge combined with his straight talking style will make an interesting and informative talk. I am sure we all will learn

R & A ?

Norvin wrote:
I am sure one of you will Know why on a number of German clocks is there a large R ↓ A on the pendulum?5245551_3_l

Hi Norvin
This appears on many clocks Retard or Advance R – A
Just like Slow or Fast S – F

May meeting – clockmaking


Clockmaking – Cornelia & George de Fossard


Cornelia and George de Fossard’s recently constructed miniature longcase clock appeared on the front cover of the February horological journal. Please join us as Cornelia and George take us on what promises to be a fascinating journey into modern-day clockmaking.




Cornelia served an apprenticeship to a carpenter and cabinet maker in Germany before heading to the UK to further her skills at West Dean college near Chichester. Now self-employed as a furniture restorer, she has an extensive range of of skills including carving, gilding and turning to mention just three.


George served a four year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering then went on to read Mechanical Design, Materials and Manufacture at the University of Nottingham. After a spell working in design engineering, he re-trained as a clockmaker at West Dean College.


George and Cornelia now run a business together based in Frome, Somerset specialising in the design and manufacture of fine quality handmade clocks. Cornelia also undertakes the conservation and restoration of early English furniture and clock cases.




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.