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Care & Maintenance of older Marine Chronometers "Click" to Login or Register 
posted
I recently saw a George Blackie chronometer offered for sale that appears to be original and in good working order.

1) Is it ok to run these older chronometer or should they just be shelf items.

2) Do you set the time by physically moving the hands or is there another method used?

3) The internet Bio on George Blackie is rather scarce. This chronometer is number marked on the dial, the tub, and box). Does anyone have any estimate on when various numbers might have been made & any ideas on finding out their history, which could be interesting?
 
Posts: 8 | Location: Central Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 17, 2008
IHC Member 1335
Picture of Tom Brunton
posted
Quoting from: Tony Mercer, Chronometer Makers of the World (Colchester, 1991), p. 109.

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As you can see from this #892 was apparently made in the early 1870s. The chronometer looks right as rain , and is lovely ,wish it were mine Roll Eyes LOL!!! I bought one last year,a Kullberg,one of the premiere makers, Big Grin but it got damaged in shipping ,and I'm looking for the spare $1050 to get it repaired Frown

Box Chronometer

Catalogue number:
ME*314261

Inscriptions:
"GEOE. BLACKIE, (/) 24 AMWELL STREET LONDON. (/) PRIZE MEDALS 1862 & 1857 (/) 892" and "U.S. ARMY"

Dimensions:
bezel 4.9 inches diameter; backplate 3.1 inches diameter

Discussion:
This is a 56 hour chronometer that was probably made in the early 1870s. It has a later pattern Earnshaw spring detent escapement, and indications for hours, minutes, seconds, and up and down. George Blackie was a reputable chronometer maker who won first prize in the Greewich Trials of 1858. The U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships transferred this instrument to the Smithsonian in 1953.

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Posts: 1756 | Location: Aylmer, Ontario in Canada | Registered: December 15, 2009
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator

Picture of Tom Brown
posted
Very Nice!

In Loomes 21st century ed. it lists George Blackie London born 1813 died 1885.

He & his wife Ellen Brown were married April 18, 1849 in Islington, Middlesex.
In the 1861 census he is listed as living at 44 Amwell St., born about 1814 in Scotland, he is listed as a Chronometer maker. He is married to Ellen (born about 1828), son George (born about 1850), daughter Ellen E. (born about 1853), son Francis J. (born about 1859), son Percy B. (born about 1861). His wife & children were all born in Middlesex.

In 1881 he is listed as living at 46 Highbury Hill, he is listed as a watchmaker finisher. Living with him are daughter Ellen, son Francis J., daughter Jessie F.(born 1865) son Arthur (born about 1869)

In the England Wales Death Index he is listed as born about 1813 & died July 1885 in Islington, Greater London, London, Middlesex.

This image is from the England & Wales National Probate Calendar

 
Posts: 5113 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator

Picture of Tom Brown
posted
1848 London Post Office Directory

 
Posts: 5113 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator

Picture of Tom Brown
posted
Mason

Hope you don't mind all this, I am trying to see if I can locate any mention of your chronometer but I thought I would post what I find along the way.

This is from "A catalogue chronologically arranged of the collection of clocks, watches ...
By Henry Leonard Nelthropp" 1902

03
 
Posts: 5113 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
IHC Life Member
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Picture of Tom Brown
posted
I thought this was interesting. From "A treatise on watch-work, past and present By Henry Leonard Nelthropp" 1873

04
 
Posts: 5113 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator

Picture of Tom Brown
posted
I don't know if this would help date your chronometer but number 789 on the dial mentions his award of 1862. I wonder if that would mean yours is earlier than 1862?

05
 
Posts: 5113 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
posted
Thanks for the information!

Interestingly, George Blackie is also mentioned in an April 1873 "All The Year Round" article by Charles Dickens where he references the Nelthrope treatise. And in an 1884 volume of "English Mechanic and World of Science" there is also a mention of a Blackie chronometer with a "new auxiliary compenstion (description unpublished)" winning a "compensation balance" competition in 1858.

Lastly, I have been in brief contact with the "Worshipful Clockmaker's Company" guild in London and verified that he was admitted as a membmer in 1884.

After having it examied by a professional and allowing it to acclimate to our South Georgia humid climate for a few days, I wound it and it started right up and has been keeping really good time (with daily windings) ever since.

Thanks again for the great info!
 
Posts: 88 | Location: Brunswick, Georgia in the USA | Registered: February 13, 2011
posted
I am a real armature beginner when it comes to examining the technology of the details of a chronometer. Is it possible to tell by looking at my chronometer whether or not it has the auxiliary compensation balance invented by Blackie in 1858? I am trying to narrow down the date of mfg. If my #721 has the auxiliary compensation device, then I can assume it is post 1858; if not, it is possibly older. Are there any other clues I might look for?

Thanks in advance,
Mason

 
Posts: 88 | Location: Brunswick, Georgia in the USA | Registered: February 13, 2011
IHC Life Member
Site Moderator

Picture of Tom Brown
posted
Mason

I think we would need a photo of the balance & hairspring at rest to determine what it might be.

Tom
 
Posts: 5113 | Location: New Mexico in the USA | Registered: January 27, 2007
posted
Attached are several photos of the internals of the Blackie chronometer. According to the only descripiton I have seen of the Auxilliary compensation invented by Blackie that won him the 1858 Greenwich prize is that:"The action being vettical to the plane of the baance, and in the form of a sharp curve, as a mater of course, approached the center more rapidly in heat and receded form it in a decreasing fashion for cold"

Do the attahced photos give any clues as to the this chronometer's approx mfg date as it may relate to the 1858 auxilliary compensation addtition or any other mechanism visible.

Any ideas or suggestions appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Mason

 
Posts: 88 | Location: Brunswick, Georgia in the USA | Registered: February 13, 2011
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