Bowdoin College Tower Clock Restoration 1999

Description of Clock: E. Howard's smallest bell striking tower clock. One 48" dial. Installed in the Searles science building approximately 1894.
Condition prior to restoration: The original hand wound pendulum regulated mechanism had been electrified. Hammer head at bell broken off. Dial badly warped and cracked. Painted dial numerals and minute markers severely chipped and partly missing.

Missing E. Howard clock parts included:

1) All components of escapement: 30 tooth escape wheel, arbor, and 12 tooth pinion/anchor, pallets, arbor, right angle bushings/crutch, beat adjustment components.
2) All components of pendulum: cast iron bob, cherry wood shaft, upper and lower rating knobs, upper cast shaft section with opening for crank, pendulum spring suspension.
3) All components of time train winding barrel: arbor with squared shank to accept winding crank, cast iron barrel grooved for 1/8" cable, distinctively shaped brass bushings with special cheese head screws, circular cast iron ratchet with mating pawl, 115 tooth great wheel with retaining collet, maintaining power circular ratchet with inner spring and pawl.
4) 15 tooth pinion on second arbor.
5) Contrate gear with striking snail.
6) All cast iron weights for both time and striking trains.
7) Bell hammer head broken off.


50 parts were missing, not including weights.

Condition of remaining E. Howard clock parts: In general, all parts were covered with dried oil, grease, and grit. Some parts were rusted. Striking winding arbor was badly twisted.

bowdoinsm
Clock prior to restoration
(more pictures)
bowsm2
Completed restoration
(more pictures)
Summary of work completed:

Restored the E. Howard mechanism to its original hand wound, pendulum regulated operation. All missing parts (approximately 50, with 12 additional cast iron weights) were meticulously constructed to original E. Howard standards of materials, design, function, and finish. All remaining parts were thoroughly cleaned, polished to a high gloss, and lacquered. As appropriate, cast iron parts were painted gold and top coated with amber shellac. Cast iron base was gently cleaned to expose original pinstriping and floral decorations followed by clear shellac top coat. Bell hammer assembly duplicated, installed and linked to clock. Cables, weights, and hangers installed. Dial power sanded, filled, caulked, primed, and painted. Numerals and floral corner details painted. Hands repainted.

Currently: With the addition of automatic electric weight rewind systems for both the time and strike trains, this clock is installed in clear view on a loft in a classroom in the Searles science building. Students and teachers are intrigued by its operation and remark on its appearance. The college is pleased that one of its treasures has been restored and can once again be appreciated both as an accurate time keeper and a thing of beauty.