|The clock of "forty million clicks". Once a minute for 55 years.|
The "forty million click" clock was scored at a county school auction in the late 1950's. It was painted green, and had been a classroom clock, the kind that jumps ahead one minute at a time in response to a signal from the master clock in the principal's office, each jerk of the minute hand intently observed by the class as it crept toward the top of the hour and the end of the period. Suspecting it might be solid copper I turned it over and verified that by making a small scratch on the inside with my car key. We took it home with a $2 bid.
|A solenoid, activated by a signal sent at one-minute intervals from the clock in the principal's office, once operated the escapement mechanism.|
In the workshop I found enough electomechanical odds and ends to produce a pulse with the correct voltage once a minute to operate the solenoid in the clock, which in turn moved it ahead one minute at a time. Basically a "principal's clock simulator". While it worked fine, we only tolerated the racket for a day or so before I had it back down in the workshop. The solution was a small 110 volt motor geared down to 1 rpm obtained from Edmund Scientific Company, and a hand-crafted linkage to operate the escapement. It had been keeping time for our family ever since.
|The bearing is activating the escapement lever ...|
But some time ago the clock became erratic, and I had to pull the plug. After some forty million clicks. Due to my "typewriter problem" it has taken me a while to finally take it down to find the problem. Which turned out to be a loose screw. Once the clock was operating once again, I was going to strip and re-polish it, then re-coat it with clear lacquer. But my wife wisely suggested that I leave it as is with its forty million click patina. So I cleaned it up a bit, polished the glass, and re-hung it above the wood stove and flat-screen TV. Good to go for another forty million or so.