Bracket Clock

Bracket clocks were among the most popular of early clocks and were often considered to be status symbols for their owners. They were usually high quality fusee driven movements that had highly engraved rear plates which could be seen through the glass rear door.

This clock is designed as a three-train, nested-bell musical clock, fusee driven, with a deadbeat escapement and maintaining power. It will strike the hours on a cathedral gong, repeat the first three quarters on a bell, and display the date. Music will play on nested bells on the hour, if chosen. Once the movement is finished I will be able to engrave the full rear plate. Although this clock will incorporate the style and many functions of early bracket clocks, I do not intend for it to be a significant replica. I will incorporate operating and design functions that I like or feel are superior to others of the period, as well as designs that were never incorporated in production clocks -- simply because I think they're neat !!

Please note that I don't necessarily follow a logical construction sequence. I make parts when I already have the tooling set up for other jobs, and sometimes I just feel like making that part!

After determining the power requirements I started by making the fusees. These are conical devices that even out the power of the mainsprings throughout the entire wind.

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The front and rear plates are cut to size and the edges are milled for a sharp and smooth surface. These plates are mated and pinned together at register points so that they can be rejoined at any time for machining and drilling operations.


The pillar washers, pillars, and screws are made. I prefer a more "square" look to my pillars, unlike the majority that are rounded off.


Once these items are completed the plates can be assembled. The dimensions of the pillars is critical because the plates must remain equidistant throughout their entire surface. I make a plate depth gauge to exact size that can be run between the plates to check for uniformity. The pillars may be of exact dimensions, but you also have to worry about the plates themselves being warped. For this clock I have added two smaller pillars in the fusee/barrel area for additional strength and support.


The great wheel blanks are turned to size and the vertical mill is set-up to cut the teeth.

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Once the wheels are finished on the mill they are mounted in a "pot" collet on the lathe and a true center is again restored. This is necessary since multiple operations on different machines will allow true center to drift.


Time to start the mainspring barrels. The tube stock is turned to size and the end caps are cut out and prepared for the lathe.


One cap is soldered in place and the other will be removable. Standard practice has the removable cap designed to "snap" into a groove turned in the barrel, but since I have nothing but time on my hands I prefer to have them held in place with screws.


A jig is made to hold the barrel and caps in the lathe so that they can be turned to a uniform diameter.


The finished barrels with their arbors installed. I decided later on to recess the cap screws flush with the barrels.

Now we move on to making the fusee winding click, wheel, and spring assemblies, as well as the time train maintaining power mechanism. The click components are mounted and operate internal to the fusees and cannot be seen during operation. The same holds true for the maintaining power parts which are mounted in the time train fusee. Maintaining power ensures that when you wind the clock power is kept on the train so that the delicate escape wheel doesn't get damaged and to ensure accurate timekeeping continues. Almost every clock that is designed with an accurate deadbeat escapement also has maintaining power.


The time great wheel is turned to receive the maintaining power spring. This spring is compressed by the maintaining power wheel during winding.


The maintaining power wheel is mounted on the time great wheel on one side and the fusee itself on the other. All operate as one seamless unit. The other two trains, strike and chime, only have the winding click mechanism integral to their operation.


A click and the three click wheels.


The nearly finished fusee assemblies and a rear view of the type of keyhole washer that holds the fusee assemblies together.


The components are fit to their fusees. These pix show the nearly completed time train fusee which incorporates the maintaining power.



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