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The JUBILEE CLOCK.DD

[BY OTJR OWJNjKEPOBTER.] Any one passingfin the vicinity of the old Fire Brigade Station,a few days ago, might have observed what would no doubt have appeared to, be rather unusual business going on under the large fire>bell, among a group consisting of a well known musical gentleman, one of our local professors of horology, and his son. At first sight, one was inclined ,to think that an alarm of fire was contemplated, , but from the gentle manner in which the man of music drew a single soft vibration from the great bell, it was evident that it was not for purposes of alarm that«the conference had assembled. On making enquiry, I found that Mr Robert Murray, the contractor for the Jubilee Clock, having at last received intimation from the Borough Council that a plan for the clock • _room • had been definitely fixed upon;" was engaged in making investigations with regard to the musical pitch of our fire bells, with the idea' of getting the pitch of the clock bell as distinct as possible. Seeing then, that the Borough Council had really decided ;on putting .the work in hand at once, I conceived a desire to see how far the clockmaker had advanced in the manufacture of the clock proper. I suppose everybody acquainted with the history of the Jubilee Memorial will be aware, that the work of i procuring or manufacturing a clock suitable ,for . the town and district v?as awarded to Mr Robert Murray, his •tender ; being the lowest out »of several received from, Wellington, Christchurch, and elsewhere in the colony. Mr Murray received me in his usual

courteous manner, and on my intimating' the object of my visit, kindly invited me to the workshops in the rdar of his premises, where the clock is in t, ■ course of manufacture. Here I was shown the many and .various sections in th^ir several stages of completion, from the rough casting fresh, from the foundry to the stage where, bright and warm from the tool in the lathe, it was ready for adjustment, preparatory to receiving the requisite amount of finish. I was consider

ably surprised at the" completeness of the . plant required for all this, and felt not; a ', ' little ' pride fr that such work could be produced in Ashburton. Before entering upon a more detailed description of the v, clock, it might not be out of place here, perhaps, to mention one or two of the fine tools I saw' in use. Among the most interesting of these is what is called! a cutting engine, for cutting and shaping the teeth in wheels. Although a comparatively email tool, it gets through an astonishing amount of work, as may be gathered when -I say that, at the time of r my .visit, a wheel, six inches in diameter, and half an ,inch in thickness, of solid gnnmetal, was being operated upon. The cutter, or tool that cuts the teeth, is a Bingle blade of steel, made exactly to the size and shape of the space between two teeth of the wheel to be cut, revolving at a speed of about four thousand revolutions in a minute, or about seventy per second. This is.set through the wheel at great speed by a slide-jrest worked by hand, and it^ia 'surprising with what rapidity this operation is gone through, time after time, till all the teeth are cut. But I may v say that when in the presence of this fiery little machine, one is glad to Sut his fingers in his ears to escape le din of a tool cutting at the rate of seventy revolutions per second. A large lathe, built on the pattern of a large power lathe, next claimed my attention. Upon this all the drilling, turning, and screw cutting is being carried out, and although it can turn shafting up to four feet in length, or wheels up to sixteen inches in diameter,'and has all the labor saving etceteras, Jn the shape of self-acting slide-rests back-"gearing, etc, it can be easily manipulated by one person, thus demonstrating to what perfection tools have been brought in later years, I was - shown some large wheels for the clock that had received no finish of any kind, except from the tool in the lathe, but which nevertheless looked beautifully

smooth and clean, so that I was rather surprised to be told that they were to be finished as smooth as glass before Toeing ready to be put together finally. THE .CLOCK, Which is now in an advancedstate, was specially designed by Mr Murray and his Son, from specifications written out by him, for the Jubilee Committee. The general construction is on quite an original plan, and contains many improvements, suggested to the designer by a long experience amongst turret clocks in England and Scotland.

THE HOURS Will be shown upon a copper dial of 4f t 3in diameter, with gold figures and hands on a black ground. The striking of the hours will be effected upon a bell of three hundredweight, which it is estimated will be heard distinctly all over the township. THE BED-PLATE, Or foundation of the clock, is an iron casting of one piece, four feet 8 inches in length, and about sixteen inches in width, weighing upwards of one and a half hundredweight. The faces of this are Slaned and polished, and have longituinal slots, into which the poppet-heads, or iron standards which carry the bearings, are fitted and bolted. The arbours or spindles which carry the I wheels and pimions are all of the finest \ steel, hardened and tempered, and the pivots, or bearings, all work into gunmetal bushes, which are fitted and, screwed into the poppet-heads. THE ESCAPEMENT, 'Or time registering portion, is on, what is known as Graham's dead-beat system, and has a pendulum six feet in length and about sixty pounds in weight. The power to drive this and work the hands is obtained from a weight of fifty pounds, on a double ,wire line, and equal to only twenty-five on the single, so that some idea can be obtained of the fine work required to attain such a result. The largest wheel in this section is eleven inches in diameter and an inch thick. The weight for driving the striking is required to be much heavier than the other, as - the hammer for striking the bell will not weigh less than ten pounds, and will have to be lifted a height of over eight inches for every blow struck.

THE STRIKING WOEK Is effected by an ingenious arrangement of levers and cams, the power being first transmitted through a wheel eleven inches in diameter, and is regulated by a large revolwng fly, or fan, two feet jn length, with large vanea at eaoh end to catch the air, thus preventing the clock front striking too- quickly. The striking weight being of rather ponderous dimensions, a special provision has been made for winding it, by putting in an extra wheel for decreasing the speed, and thus increasing the power at the winding square. The GENERAL APPEARANCE Of the clock is exceedingly substantial and well proportioned, and, from what I saw of it in its half completed state, it will be both a handsome, and, what is more to the point, a very acourate and reliable machine, reflecting great credit on our enterprising townsman, both as a designer and manufacturer. In designing the clock, Mr Murray purposely made it much heavier than is really required for its present work, he, no doubt, rightly concluding that before long it might be found necessary to/ increase the number and size^ pjthe dialsi : He informed n\e, that the clock is quite powerful enough to carry four five fee.t dials, I would have liked t,o have given a more detailed description of the clock, and the many interesting tools and contrivances I saw during my visit, but space will not admit of this just now, and I would advise those who take an interest in such work to visit Mr Murray s

establishment for themselves, where they aresure to be greatly interested in what he is always willing to show Adsitors, who seldom come away without having learned a great many new ideas about watch and clock making.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900512.2.27

Bibliographic details

The JUBILEE CLOCK.DD, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2427, 12 May 1890

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1,383

The JUBILEE CLOCK.DD Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2427, 12 May 1890

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