Sunday, November 19, 2017

New Purchase - Early 18th Century Finned Pillar, Rope Drive, Longcase Clock Movement

This was purchased as a mostly complete loose movement. As you can see from the photos, it is a finely made finned pillar English longcase movement. This particular one is a 4 wheel 30 hour, with the original rope drive using an endless loop system. Sometimes called a "pull-up" movement. In general, 4 wheel 30 hour movements are somewhat rare. From what I was able to read about them, they were made with 4 wheels (rather than 3) for one of two reasons: 1: to indicate seconds, or 2: to eliminate "minute shake" which occurs in normal 3 wheel 30 hour movements.

All the wheels have decorative turned rings on both sides (even the motion works wheel), and there is matching ring decorations on the front bridge, and the large collets on the main wheel shafts.

The wheel collets/collars are a shape I have not seen before. They are a sort of squashed-down keyhole shape.

Another interesting feature is that the hammer stop is in the form of a more rigid (and shorter) hammer spring, with a spade base. This arrangement forms a continuous strip of metal along the back plate (with the hammer spring along the bottom).

The movement is in remarkably un-butchered condition for its age (roughly 1710-1750). There are light punch marks (of the flat-faced kind) around a few holes, and 2 or 3 small bushings installed. There is a poor repair to the fan, which should be easy to fix, and a drop of solder on the crutch wire. The back bridge pins have been removed, but the screw holes haven't been enlarged, and the bridge doesn't appear to have been moved.

The anchor is also of an unusually delicate shape, with the interior portion formed in a smooth curve.

As-is, the clock is missing the reverse-minute wheel, the hour canon wheel, and the once-a-day calendar gear, as well as the bell stand.

Tooth counts (for those who may be interested) on the time train are as follows:

Main Wheel: 70
Centre Wheel: 10/60
Third Wheel: 8/56
Escape Wheel: 7/30

I did not count the teeth in the strike train, but all the strike pinions have 6 leaves.

Original spiked sockets for rope drive. Also note decorative ring decorations on collar:

Clickspring on strike main wheel. There is some wear to the crossings, but it's not too terribly bad.

Hammer, hammer spring, and hammer stop arrangement:

Wheel work with all the decorative ring turnings on the wheels:

Detail views of the plates (for the real clock nerds I suppose):

I love how the upper stop was filed to fit around the pillar.


Very light punch marks to 2 pivot holes, and one bushing. The small brass bump is the shaft for the count wheel.

Reverse side:

Nicely filed slot to let the crutch pivot pass through the hole.

Front plate. The witness mark from the bell stand is clearly visible at the top. It had a very wide spade base, ending in a pin (one piece) turning into the reference hole.

Interior of front plate. There is a faint inscription here. It appears to read "Camill (or Camile) Royston Jan 441 or 447". More detail photos farther down.

This is the worst of the punch damage, on the strike side mainwheel hole.

Here is the beautifully shaped anchor:

This pivot will likely need replacing. It has already been filed down to almost half its original diameter, and it now has a deep groove in it.


  1. The workmanship is impressive JC. Do you plan to fashion the parts that are missing. Will you find a case for it at some point?

    1. Seems I missed a handful of your comments Ron. I do plan to restore this movement, but finding a case will be hard. I'm more likely to build a replica case for it.