Great Meteoron Monastery Tower Clock
Meteora is a rock formation located in central Greece, near the town of Kalambaka. It’s unique landscape of towering sandstone cliffs, rise abruptly many hundreds of feet from the surrounding plains. It is on top of these pinnacles that monks built their monasteries. Fig. 1.
The Monastery of Great Meteoron is also known as the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ. The Monastery was founded around 1340 by Saint Athanasios, a scholar monk of Mount Athos.
It was at this monastery that a relatively small tower clock was discovered within the monastery’s hidden library. Fig. 2. This early tower clock originally had a verge and foliot escapement and winding barrels that were arranged end to end. There was little remaining of the original clock apart from the two great wheels and a strike wheel with pinion. Fig. 3.
The monastery welcomes visitors and has a small museum that displays it’s past history. The clock was going to be part of that collection but in an animated format, in other words the clock had to be working. This was a big ask and it was decided that initially I would focus on reconstructing the going train so that at the very least the clock would measure time.
My first task was to rid the clock of all its rust by my preferred method of electrolysis. A wheely-bin was found in which the clock was shoehorned into after the inner walls were lined with a thin sheet of steel. An arc welding set was adapted to power the system. Fig. 4. The clean frame was then treated with “Athonite Black Wax for iron”, a synthetic crystalline patination wax that protects the iron from corrosion whilst restoring it’s old iron patination.
A 3D model of the original clock as found was constructed, although some vertical posts were added in order to support the barrels. Fig. 6. and then the missing components of the clock were designed to integrate with the going great wheel and fit within the available space Fig. 7. From the 3D assembly drawing, 2D detailed drawings were used to make the clock parts shown in Fig. 8.
At the end of my first visit the work on the clock was incomplete but rather than putting it into storage until my next visit it was decided to put it on display in the museum as a still exhibit. A wooden stand was designed and built within a few days and the partly finished clock was mounted and placed in prominent place at the centre of the of the exhibition room. Fig. 9.
The strike barrel and Great wheel was included in the assembly but was left as found in an un-restored condition. An information plaque was added to the display to guide visitors.