In the dog-eat-dog world of tubular bell grandfather clocks, there were numerous brands. Many high-grade clocks of comparable quality and of various nationalities, mainly England, Germany, and the United States, were produced. Among them, Elliott, with the original patent for the tubular bells, was unquestionably top dog. Most manufacturers were trying to develop quality products that were affordable to more people, in order to increase sales, but Elliott went in the opposite direction, making their products deliberately expensive and exclusive for the privileged few. The original owner of this clock could well have paid as much for this clock to decorate his château in about 1910 as he did for his weekend cottage in Surrey. The parts in this clock are large, heavy, well finished, and made of the finest materials. Once the patent for the tubular bells ended, other manufacturers were able to produce their own tubes and compete in the top end of this luxury market. In the United States, Herschede was the main competitor. The Herschede #1 movement is comparable to the Elliott on this page. The Elliott was photographed during disassembly.

This clock was remarkably clean when it came in for repairs, which is often a red flag. It had chime problems only two years after its last overhaul. Upon disassembly, it was obvious that the person who overhauled this clock two years ago had experienced difficulties. The next photo shows the strike rack, loaded with plenty of oil, but it was supposed to be dry. To the left of the rack, you can see a gear behind it, similarly loaded with oil, but also supposed to be dry. Most of the gears were heavily oiled. Only the friction bearings, (the bushings and pivots), should be lubricated. There are other points of friction, such as the escapement, certain cams and levers, that should also be lubricated, but the racks and the gear teeth should be dry. Furthermore, an improper lubricant was used, as evidenced by the presence of rust on the third wheel pivot, shown in the following photo. This clock would not have run for much longer with that rust problem. A proper lubricant will lubricate and protect.

It was surprising to find a recoil escapement in this clock. Considering how much this clock once cost, you would expect it to have a Graham escapement. The angle of the entry pallet is too steep: can you see why? This is common in recoil escapements.

Below are photos of another Elliott clock. The chime hammers are higher in this example because the case was not designed to be compact. Quite the opposite: this clock is huge.

Below are photos of another huge Elliott clock.

This Elliott has a Graham escapement, as it should. However, the parts to adjust the beat of the pendulum are above the escapment, and these parts are relatively heavy, taking power away from the pendulum. Additional weight will be required to overcome this design shortcoming. A comparable Herschede clock, by contrast, has the beat adjustment device mounted onto the pendulum itself, which is much better than having those parts adding weight to the pallet assembly. The pallet assembly should be as lightweight as possible. Furthermore, the pallets are shallow.

Winterhalder & Hofmeier

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