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Horological Terms and Definitions
Clocks and Clock Manufacturers

Horological Terms and Definitions

Adjust, adjusting The art or act of regulating and adjusting the positional timing of a movement.
Arbor The shaft or axle on which the wheels and pinions of watch and clockwork are carried.
Balance The controller or governor of a clock or watch escapement, such as the lever, chronometer, horizontal and duplex types of movement. Also referred to as "balance wheel."
Beat The sound made by the movement of the escape wheel when it locks against the face of the pallets. The escapes or beats take place when the balance of pendulum is moved through an equal arc on each side of the mid-point. "Beat" also refers to the time in seconds a pendulum takes to swing from side to side.
Beat, out of Pendulum Clocks go out of beat due to mishandling crutch and pendulum, sitting on a surface that is not level, or a slipping of the movement in the case when it is being wound. The beat can be restored by a qualified repair person.
Bushings Brass tubing used to refit worn holes in clock plates or watch plates. These holes must be round in order for the clock movement to function properly. Over time, a pivot may wear down a hole to an oval shape, causing failure in the clock's function. A clock repairman addresses this problem by restoring the roundness of a worn hole by inserting a bushing.
Crutch Part of a clock mechanism that transfers the power from the escapement to the pendulum and maintains the pendulum vibrations. The crutch is also the medium through which the pendulum controls the instant at which the escape wheel is allowed to move forward.
Escapement The part of the mechanism of a clock or watch that allows the power driving the mechanism to escape. The escapement is the controller or governor of the movement.
Escape Wheel The last wheel in a clock or watch train; it is the wheel that gives impulse to the controlling part of the mechanism.
Pallet The part of the escapement on which the escape wheel teeth engage and transmit impulse to the Balance or the Pendulum.
Pinion A small, toothed wheel or "cog." The pinion is usually the driven member of a pair of gears.
Pinion polishing The act of polishing the leaves (teeth) of a pinion to restore the pinion's smooth surfaces and thus its function.
Pivot The reduced or turned down end of an arbor. Three main forms are used: square shoulder, conical, and cone. Pivots must be polished periodically to ensure they can turn freely.
Plate The frame of a watch or clock, usually formed by two plates that are separated by pillars. The train and other parts are pivoted between these plates.
Suspension Refers to the means by which the pendulum is hung.
Suspension spring The spring by which the pendulum of a clock is suspended.
Train A succession of wheels and pinions gearing together in a clock movement.
Wheel A disc mounted to rotate around a given center. In the case of a toothed wheel, a wheel is any gear having 20 or more teeth, except for an escape wheel which may have only 13 or 15 teeth.
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Clocks and Clock Manufacturers

Ansonia Clock Company Ansonia Clock Co. - Early American Clock manufacturer, based in Ansonia, Connecticut. Both town and clock company were named after their founder Anson G. Phelps. Ansonia, along with Seth Thomas, Ingraham, and others, was one of the giants of the clock manufacturing industry. Eventually, Ansonia's clockmaking concern moved to New York, where its craftsmen built its well-known novelty and figurine clocks.
Atmos Clock A clock that is wound by changes in air pressure by means of a device called an "aneroid," which operates as a barometer.
Banjo Clock A classic clock of American origin, patented by Simon Willard in 1802 as an "Improved Timepiece." Its popular name "banjo" is derived from its resemblance to a banjo shape. Indeed, the case's shape was one of the nine improvements listed in Willard's patent. This clock and its patent brought fame to Simon Willard during and after his lifetime.
Bracket Clock Originally designed to stand on a table, this clock was referred to as a table or portable clock during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The bracket upon which the clock could stand was popular in the latter part of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The term Bracket still persists and is a broad term to define any of the larger wood mantel or table clocks.
Carriage clock A distinctive style of portable clock usually consisting of a brass base and four brass corner pillars with panels of glass on the top, front, and sides. On the top is a brass handle for carrying, and the glass sides and top permit an open view of the clock's movement. The back is usually a separately mounted glass panel set in a hinged compartment door that opens to permit winding and maintenance.
Seth Thomas Clock Company The longest-running clock company in America, the Seth Thomas Clock Company was founded by businessman-clockmaker Seth Thomas in the early 1800s. Typically, the Seth Thomas company stayed with tried-and-true methods and designs, preferring reliability over innovation. Mr. Thomas himself organized a corporation late in his life to ensure that his company would continue production after his death. Although the Seth Thomas Clock Company phased out the manufacture of movements after World War II, the company remains an ongoing concern.
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