By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Jan 24th

30 hour clock electric winder

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
YouraT17/05/2021 20:41:40
64 forum posts
16 photos

John Wilding apparently had two publications with a design for an electric rewinder for 30hr long case clocks - one dedicated book, and a chapter in his "horological miscellanies" book.

Does anyone know if there is a difference between the two designs, or could recommend which one to track down?



Michael Gilligan17/05/2021 21:04:40
19324 forum posts
964 photos

With the greatest respect to the memory of John Wilding ... it doesn’t look like there can be much detail in this:




Edit: __ There is one introductory page in the Horological Journal of August 1971 

plus four descriptive parts in the following issues

... I think that’s all you will find in the book [but I stand to be corrected]

It is a ‘Monkey up a Rope’ device, and uses Mercury tilt switches.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 17/05/2021 21:30:14

Michael Gilligan18/05/2021 00:09:18
19324 forum posts
964 photos

PostScript :

This may [or may not] be the other book which you had in mind: **LINK**


duncan webster18/05/2021 00:36:34
3598 forum posts
66 photos

Try RiteTime publishing, they do all John Wilding books and are still trading, can be a bit slow answering emails

Edited By duncan webster on 18/05/2021 00:37:13

Bazyle18/05/2021 12:45:24
6087 forum posts
221 photos

This book. It would be cheaper to employ someone to wind it for you at this price.

When I started work in the '70s one of the workshop planners was an ex clockmaker. In his apprenticeship which was pre WW2 he had to go round large houses in the neighbourhood to wind their clocks because ordinary servants couldn't be trusted to do it regularly or correctly.

Michael Gilligan18/05/2021 12:58:30
19324 forum posts
964 photos
Posted by Bazyle on 18/05/2021 12:45:24:

This book. It would be cheaper to employ someone to wind it for you at this price.



At a mere twelve pages, that is presumably a ‘scarce’ reprint of the original articles.

With mercury tilt-switches, and geared synchronous motors, I suggest the whole project might be of curiosity value only. ... Oh yes, it also based on rope wind, not chain.


bernard towers18/05/2021 14:25:36
343 forum posts
89 photos

There’s a bit on electric winding in his turret clock book ,I used it as the basis for mine using more modern encased tilt switch

YouraT18/05/2021 16:19:24
64 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks all.

I have access to the HJ issues, and I'll look them up next weekend.

I've also asked for the price list from RiteTime, and might get the Horological Miscellanies book assuming there are updates worth worrying about in it.

It's a rope wind I want it for - I'm building a clock at the moment with a Hugens endless rope winding arrangement, and don't really want to re-invent the wheel!



RJW18/05/2021 16:37:58
343 forum posts
36 photos

I have that book on my shelves, a 1st edition hardback, and indeed just 12 pages, also along with Wilding's book on building the 30 hour clock the mechanism was designed for,

The articles in HJ are in the August to December issues according to the first paragraph in the book, so you can probably save yourself a goodly few quid if you have them, as MichaelG mentioned, the book is probably a collection of those articles.


Edited By RJW on 18/05/2021 16:38:32

duncan webster18/05/2021 17:54:09
3598 forum posts
66 photos

For a huygens set up I'd investigate magnet on the weight (s) and Reed switches or hall effect. Feed the outputs to a flip flop and use the output of that to drive the winch motor

Peter Bell18/05/2021 18:37:04
372 forum posts
164 photos

I bought original the book in 2002 from a Dutch books seller, cost 30Eur so always been pricey. I see one is available from Austraiia for around £30 delivered on Abe.

I made the winder around that time, see pics (sorry could not figure how to rotate) for my chain driven clock after working out a pully size to suit the chain pitch. Had some problems with the chain getting tangled jambing the motor so added a 20secs timer which unlatches a relay so it switches off after 20 secs, normally takes around 6 secs to wind. Altering the profile of the lead in guides solved that so the chain arrives flat at the drive pulley.

The book gives part no for the motors so used that to spec the motors. I had to to replace te strike motor with a faster one as the strike on a large no, ie 10 could beat the winding speed. I used mercury switches I had in stock from FLT battery chargers.

It's proved a real asset and althought it was a bit of a fiddle getting it right well worth the effort. Hope this helps

self wind -3.jpg


self wind -2.jpg

self wind -1.jpg

John Haine18/05/2021 20:08:13
4286 forum posts
252 photos

You know, once you are using an electric motor why stick with archaic mechanisms - just go for a stepper motor driving the clock through a remontoire spring and stepped by pulses derived from the pendulum?

YouraT18/05/2021 22:15:01
64 forum posts
16 photos

Peter - thank you for the pictures - nice build!

Duncan - that's a possibility - I'm not exactly sure how everything is going to look just yet, and how I'll feel about routing the wires...

John - I understand your point - the task is to build a traditional clock (in most ways anyway...) - I want something up my sleeve in case the daily winding gets on my nerves, or I forget often enough for it to be a pain!

Rite Time have the "Horological Miscellanies" book for £25, which they tell me includes the BHI articles (with later updates) and a number of other articles which appear of interest, so I think I may well get that. I've located the HJ articles, but I think the other book content will make it worth it.

John Billard 118/05/2021 22:34:12
101 forum posts

A friend has 17 clocks to wind every week and he uses a hand held electric drill. This has a key in the chuck with the "wings" cut off.

John B.

Peter Cook 619/05/2021 21:39:40
194 forum posts
54 photos

Winding gets to be a habit if you have clocks. I have 40+. 12 are 30 hour, most of the rest are 8 day with a few longer duration (one is year going).

Personally, unless the 30 hour clocks were VERY accurate, the irritation of them being wrong would far outweigh the hassle of winding. 30 hours get wound and put right every night on the way to bed. 8 day clocks get added to the winding and correcting schedule on Saturday nights.

It's just a routine!

Michael Gilligan02/06/2021 22:55:24
19324 forum posts
964 photos

NewsFlash for Youra:

The Horological Journal for June 2021 includes a very elegant design for a battery-powered ‘climbing weight’.

It uses five AAA cells, and the author states that they are replaced at each GMT/BST change

... which looks encouragingly efficient.


John Haine03/06/2021 06:56:48
4286 forum posts
252 photos

...and rejoices in the name of "Sloth"!

YouraT09/06/2021 11:49:03
64 forum posts
16 photos


Yes, thanks for that - I've just opened my copy and saw that too - alterations required for my rope drive, but some good ideas!

Good name too


All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
rapid Direct
walker midge
JD Metals
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest