Clocks

 

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I have collected a number of clocks over the years and also repaired a few for family and friends. I have not generally kept a record of the various clocks that I own or have passed through my hands but this might change as I hope (2016) to be able to devote more time to this hobby in the coming years now that most of the major works on the house had been completed.

However I have made notes of a few clocks that where they have been of interest and here is a list - click on the listing for more info. Also I felt it was appropriate to acknowledge the input of Allan to my interest in clocks and have written a short note.

Barry's Vienna Wall clock Ian Hall's Vienna wall clock
Fred's mantle clock Denise's 30 hour Grandfather
Jude's clock  

 

Allan Brockbank

(my (step) father-in-law and clock mentor.)

Allan was Jean's uncle and also her step-father as Betty (Jean's mum) married Alan who was her first husband Stephen's brother. Stephen died before we were married and Alan did not come onto the scene for some years but he was always Grandpa Allan. I had a lot of time for Allan as his outlook on life and his interests were similar to mine; also he introduced me to serious clock work.

I had always had something of a casual fascination to clockwork; my earliest recollection was when I was less than ten years old I took the family mantle clock to pieces and presented my father with a pile of pieces; to his everlasting credit I was not scolded and he managed to reassemble the parts!

My first serious attempt at clock repair was the Parys Mountain mine clock (to be described) and then a poor attempt at repairing Jean’s Mother’s grandfather clock that Alan subsequently repaired properly!

I had expressed an interest in clocks, in the early days of knowing Allan, and wrote to him for advice. His reply can be seen HERE. We then fostered quite close clock relationship, with him as the teacher and me his apprentice. I got reasonable proficient at disassembling clocks, cleaning the parts, re-bushing and even cutting gears. When Allan died he bequeathed me his tools and a couple of his clocks on the understanding that I completed and unfinished project that he had been working on.

Since then I have picked up and dropped clock work and apart from the occasional repair, for a friend or family, the hobby has languished.

That leads conveniently into a summary of Allan’s achievements that is quite well expressed in an article in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury transcribed as follows from a rather tatty copy of the press cutting can be found by clicking on the image below.    

 

MR ALLAN Brockbank found he had time on his hands after retiring five years ago, so he decided to pursue his lifelong interest in clocks and cabinet making. He began by buying old clock movements and building new cases for them, but a year ago he set up his own workshop and has just completed his first grandfather clock.
"This one I have made completely from raw materials. The others are old clock movements I have put into new cases, but I got more interested and decided to make the parts myself” said Mr Brockbank, of 9 Church Street, Easton-on-the-Hill.

Workshop

But before he could start making a clock he had to learn more about the subject which he has done from books. He also had to make his own workshop.
“An awful lot of time was spent making the tools and equipment” he sad.
Mr Brockbank’s first attempt at clock making was an ambitious one. The movement is made of brass and steel and cabinet is oak. But the most outstanding feature is the perpetual calendar built into the mechanism. It is designed to count the correct number of days for each month and also to take account of leap years. Having made the tools for his workshop and spending nine months making his first clock he now had bigger ideas.

“I am now starting a second one and it will be quicker and better. The new one will be a striking and chiming clock and will again have a perpetual calendar. Mr Brockbank worked as and engineer for Peter Perkins in Peterborough until he was 69 and he also a past president of the Welland Valley Art Society, But recently all his time has been taken up by clocks and cabinet making.
“Most of the methods I am using are those used by the old craftsmen, not those used by modern mass production.
“I think that it is important that the old crafts are maintained and kept going and I think they will be. The value of mechanical clocks is going up and up all the time.”

Capital

Anyone thinking of taking up the craft of cabinet making or clock making even as a hobby like Mr Brockbank need quite a lot of capital behind them. “It would cost not less that 600 to set up a workshop but it would depend on how much you make yourself and how ambitious you are,” he said