Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Conservation underway

It has been some time since my last post on this blog, but we have not be idle! A great deal of background research has now been undertaken, and we have diagnosed in considerable detail the patterns of wear in the movement of the clock. Our findings include:
  • none of the pinions are original; this empirical observation was confirmed by analysis of the composition of each metal part by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy;
  • the pinions are, for the most part, of very poor quality;
  • their design is entirely consistent with that common to many other 15th and 16th century turret clocks, suggesting earlier replacement on a like-for-like basis;
  • many of the components can be associated by metallic composition with a group we are currently assuming to be original;
  • the clock very probably dates from the second half of the 16th century: we are awaiting the results of radio carbon dating which we hope will confirm this;
  • the clock incorporates some eccentric and unique design features (c.f. English Church Clocks 1280-1850, C.F.C. Beeson, 1971);
    The clock from behind for the first time
  • scars now found on the frame are consistent with mountings for a verge escapement underneath.

The release wheel pinion: note poor design and advanced wear.

There's plenty more of course but it will wait for another post. Meanwhile we have obtained the necessary license for the replacement of the worn and faulty modern pinions, and the work is progressing well. The best news is that we believe we can restore the clock to working order without replacing, or otherwise altering, any of the early components.

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