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.
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.
Following 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.
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.
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
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.
The time ball talk will cover the invention of the ‘instantaneous signal’ by Captain Wauchope leading to its construction in 1833, followed over the years, by many modifications. Douglas will bring us up to date describing his installation of electronic control in 1991 and now with a radio controlled clock that gives automatic changes to summer time and back.
Douglas has been involved with precision timekeeping since building a regulator with photoelectric ‘escapement’ and circular error control. The led to the use of the time signals from Rugby and publication of articles about the clock and the importance of a term called Quality Factor, Q, which related accuracy to the property of the oscillator.
His current project is to write a comprehensive history of the Greenwich Time ball involving examining the Greenwich archives in Cambridge and The National Archives at Kew and elsewhere, and with assistance, examine more or less every detail of the current machinery.
The Beresford Hutchinson Commemorative Lecture 2012
‘The heart of the world’: Charlton, Greenwich and the global time network
David Rooney ‘What we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things … the connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose.’ Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
David Rooney’s academic interests revolve around technological networks and their relationship with people. The interaction between humans and technology over long periods and wide geographical areas offers intriguing glimpses into the modern world.
In this commemorative lecture, David will examine aspects of horology in the local histories of two London districts, Charlton and Dollis Hill. He will then explore the impact these time-related industries had on global trade, politics and science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
In doing so, he hopes to demonstrate the value of the Douglas Adams school of historical research for the particular case of horology.
The Chronometer Section Royal Navy RGO Herstmonceux Castle Sussex 1948 to 1985
In his talk Robin shows us a short cine film (23 minutes) made of the chronometer section in 1968. Also showing work carried out to H3 and H4. He has slides by Bert West, 1952 to 1985 and slides of his own of a full strip down and cleaning of H3 H4 and K2 the bounty watch in 1976. This was work carried out prior to the exhibition for the Bi-Centenary of Harrison’s death.
Robin entered a five year apprenticeship at the age of 15 in Bexhill on Sea to Cyril Emary, the Omega and Rolex agents, who did a lot of work for the trade. He joined the RGO 1963 at the age of 22 and took the BHI correspondence course in 1964,1965 and 1966 gaining his FBHI in 1978. In his career he trained two apprentices and was charge hand in 1977 remaining at the RGO until it closed in 1985
Ex-RGO Buildings, Herstmonceux. Photographed by Paul B. Adams on 16/01/2004 From en:wiki
Join the distinguished turret clock specialist, Peter Watkinson FBHI, to hear about the making of two extraordinary exhibition tower clocks and the challenging restoration, automatic winding and re-siting of a third.
Peter studied horology at Hackney technical college in the early seventies and for a number of years was foreman at Gillett and Johnston. Today he works as an independent maker and conservator of turret clocks.
Peter will be discussing the challenges that he faced making these two clocks, the methods that he used in to overcome the difficulties of clock making on a larger scale and the perils of letting one’s enthusiasm get the upper hand! Peter will also be discussing work on a third clock and will be revealing whether or not the ‘Rode’ led to ruin.
Thursday 7th June Oliver Cooke The Life and Times of Edward East.
Oliver Cooke studied the conservation and restoration of antique clocks at West Dean College, West Sussex, between 2005 and 2007. He became an assistant curator in the Horological Section of the British Museum in 2007 and has been a curator of horology since 2008. Edward East was one of the most successful clock and watchmakers of the seventeenth centaury he was watchmaker to Charles the first. He was twice master of the Clockmakers Company 1645 & 1652. That he lived to the age of at least 90 and through some of the most significant events to our history, Cromwell and the Civil War, Plague, and the Great Fire of London must have had effects to his horological business. Oliver has studied many of the clocks and watches that have been found to date and shared with us the knowledge he has gained of this little researched master clockmaker.