Turret and Marine Tower Clock
Made by Aaron Dodd Crane under the name Turret and Marine Clock Company, Boston Massachusetts. Circa 1860.
Additional photos below.
Tamra bought this for me at an auction after I whispered "very tempting". What did she do! Now I have a seriously difficult project to keep me busy.
The name tower clock is very appropriate as they are for large clock towers. The movement is installed somewhere in the tower where a person can regularly wind it. Rods go up to the clock dials at the top and move the hands and strike a bell. Heavy weights hang from the top and provide power. Somewhere in the tower is a big heavy pendulum to maintain the beat.
According to NAWCC sources only four Crane tower clocks are known to exist, and this is the nicest and most complete. Sister clock #33 is described in detail in the NAWC Bulletin "Aaron Dodd Crane, An American Original", Supplement 16, summer 1987. Key features include three working escapements, a remontoire, and a daisy-cam motion work.
Everything appears to be hand made including bolts and brackets. Things that look interchangeable are not, there are "correct" places for everything. Took a couple of days to figure out the puzzle.
Heavy cast iron frame is painted black with gold, green and turquoise accents. The mechanism consists of three parts, time, strike and pendulum. Each has its own escapement. Nearly all the parts are stamped with the manufacture number "31". Two heavy removable winding handles are painted gold.
According to the documentation the strike weight is 950# and drops 32'. The 250# time weight drops 14'. Weights are hung by large bicycle linked chains that feed through the movement into wood boxes below.
The cast pendulum bob is 48# and huge. Missing the pendulum rod but the assembled length should be about 6'. The cast hanging bracket shows that there were two suspension springs at the top. Maybe one of the most interesting learnings was that the pendulum is connected to the movement by a tiny wire no bigger or stronger than dental floss.
The patented pendulum escapement is of some importance as it is rare and collectible. The big tower pendulum lifts and lowers a tiny impulse weight on the escapement, which moves recoil and locking pawls. Power is fed from the time escapement by a small bar. When running it looks like the pawls are crawling the gear wheel.
It is also worth noting that the daisy cam motion work, original to Turret and Marine, is intact and working. We heard that one of the tower clock experts was excited about this as it is rare to find one that is not broken.
So other than space what keeps this from running in our house? Not much. Missing the tiny impulse rod between the time and pendulum escapements. Missing a small piece that would be attached to a flexible finger on the time escapement, that keeps the pendulum and time escapements in beat.
A lot of documentation came with the clock. Correspondence with the North Methodist church in Pheonix, built in 1851, where it was originally installed. Several letters saying the clock was removed in 1938 after high winds from a hurricane tilted the steeple and put the pendulum out of beat. An original Turret and Marine advertisement. Copy of the Crane patents. Detailed instructions on how to make the missing escapement piece. Photos of the church, clock movement and bell.