Our autumn meeting was held at the picturesque village of Grosmont on 7th October - the venue of a number of years. The meeting started promptly at 10:30 and ended at 16:45 and was well attended with around 26 in the audience; we are pleased that a number AHS members attended as guests of our society.


The first speaker of the day was Douglas Bateman FBHI with a talk entitled

“The Greenwich time ball”.

The talk covered the early history of this significant time ball and progressed through the different methods that have been used to operate and control it. Douglas included rare film clips of the mechanism that cannot be seen by the general public and described the evolution of the electronic control systems. The talk stimulated many questions about this and other time balls. We are very grateful to Douglas for sharing his interest and expertise with us.

Our second speaker was Dr Edward Cloutman with a talk entitled

“The use of CAD in horology and some interesting clocks”.

Ed has been restoring antique

clocks for over 20 years, after

completing a year course in

antiquarian clock restoration

at West Dean College in Sussex.

In the course of his job he made

extensive use of CAD

(Computer Aided Design)

and was quick to see the

advantage of this in horology.

Complicated clock mechanisms

could be drawn, tried and tested

before any metal was cut.

This was particularly useful with pull-quarter mechanisms and in the case of a complicated dial by Martin of Crosby (HJ Vol.147, No.10), near Liverpool. The latter could well have been made for a ship's captain, or possibly for Crosby Hall. The dial has a sliding horizon in the arch to depict the rising and setting of the sun throughout the year. It also shows the date, high and low tide at Liverpool, moon phases, equation of time and the time at various new and old world capitals and trading places in the 1750s. He showed us examples of many different types of clocks that he has worked on, including long case, English spring clocks, Regulators and turret clocks. Names included Nathaniel Hodges, Joseph Knibb (HJ Vol.142, Nos.2-4), Luke Wise (HJ Vol.149, No.5), Brounker Watts, James Drury, father of the famous musical clockmaker John Drury (Clocks Vol.22, No.3) and John Constantine (HJ . Two makers of turret clocks, Dent of 61 The Strand, and Handley and Moore of Clerkenwell were also shown. The comparison of the older 1820 two-train mechanism by Handley and Moore (HJ Vol.144, No.2) with the 1856 three-train mechanism by Moore and Sons in Bermuda (HJ Vol.149 Nos.6,7) was discussed. These turret clocks were overhauled and a comprehensive greasing and oiling schedule provided. For those of you who would like to read about some of these clocks in more detail, the magazine references have been included.

Complicated dial by Martin of Crosby 

Constantine pull-quarter mechanism showing on the left, hand-drawn existing components, and on the right, CAD representation of the mechanism in which each lever and rotating part can be operated to check that the mechanism performs correctly before making the parts.

Constantine before and after restoration.

Comparison of Handley and Moore left with Moore and Sons right

After lunch Owen Gilchrist gave a talk entitled “Development of Smiths calibre 1215 watch movement”.

Using macro-video photography,

Owen showed detail of a Smiths watch

similar to the type used by

Sir Edmund Hillary on his ascent of

Everest in 1953. He discussed the

history and development of the calibre,

and put forward several ideas he and

other researchers are working on

about the evolution of these Smiths watches. Owen brought along a number of examples of the calibre and we were able to examine these more closely. The talk was well received by members.

Finally Dr Mike Flannery FBHI ACR FTC PGCCons gave a talk entitled “Clocks with wooden wheels”.

Mike was fortunate to be awarded a Winston Churchill

Memorial Fund Travelling

Scholarship in 2015 to research the conservation

of clocks with wooden wheels. He

travelled to USA, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany;

this talk and the examples that

showed are as a result of that scholarship. Mike has a

longstanding interested in these fascinating clocks, not

just as unique horological mechanisms, but as a part of

the sociology of horology. More details of Mike’s talk can

be found on the W&MHS website.

The talk again was well received and a large number of questions were asked by our members.

A number of tools and clock parts have been donated to our society we asked our members to make a bid for the donated items with all proceeds going to our society.