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Meccano Nuremberg Clock header


(a dust cover snake skin

The instructions and description of this Nuremberg clock* were originally published in the April 1972 Meccano Magazine. I have built it using parts in the 1978 dark blue and yellow colour scheme. The model was designed by master Meccano clock builder Pat Briggs. The Meccano version uses the post war Number 1 clockwork motor.

This type of clock originated in Nuremberg in the 16th century, clocks of this type would have been weight driven. A huge advance in clock design was the invention of spring-powered clocks between 1500 and 1510 by Peter Henlein, a locksmith from Nuremberg.

Modifications to the drive have been made to make use of a minute hand, Pat Briggs original design has just the hour hand. The monks of the 16th century who built and used this type of clock were content with just an hour hand, their time not being regulated by minutes as ours is today. Lindsay Carroll of Melbourne Meccano Club provided the details of the added minute hand going train. This has been the second clock I have built the mechanism of this being a lot more reliable than the Art Deco clock I built the year before this. The clock is built entirely from standard Meccano parts with the exception of the chapter ring (clock face) this I drew in Xara and mounted on a large beer mat. The only other non Meccano part was a small ball bearing taken from the head set of an old Rudge cycle. This was dropped into rod connector and supports the Foliot verge. The Foliot verge swings back and forth against the crown escape wheel and makes a lovely thud as it does so. My clock will run for nearly ten hours on one winding of the motor and keeps reasonable time. The type of escapement used in this clock is not considered to be very accurate although with some adjustments I think I can improve a little on the slightly fast running I get. The crown escape wheel is not quite a perfect circle, this accounts for a slightly uneven tick.

I learnt a lot and got a great deal of pleasure during the construction of this clock. Although simple in appearance a lot of patience was required in getting a perfect alignment of the parts especially those relating to the escape ring and the ring its self. Also required was the careful selection of perfect parts and polished up rods. Its amazing how many parts are not true a slightly wobbly 57 tooth gear might be fine on a crane but on a clock it makes a huge difference to running or not. I fortunately had several Number 1 motors to choose from and choose the smoothest and longest running one I had.

*Strictly speaking in clock terminology it should be called a Lantern clock as unlike a Nuremberg this has both hour and minute hands.

Views of the clock below show side, rear and close up of going train (drive).

If you are building the clock I will be happy to supply a file of my Chapter Ring (clock face).

You can see the clock working on You Tube by clicking on the logo.

September 24 2007 revised March 14 2012


(a dust cover snake skin

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