Return Magazine List

Station Master's Office Clock


By a stroke of fortune I have been given a very nice, drop dial fusee clock. It had fallen from an insecure nail and was smashed to pieces by the fall. The case was severely damaged, the movement torn from the dial, which was bent in the process, and the glass was smashed, damaging the brass bezel.


I began by carefully dismantling the broken case and glued the broken wooden bezel with hidden dowels for strength. Holes, where screws had been torn out, were fitted with glued pegs to make good before reassembly. Some new pieces of mahogany (from an old table top) were shaped up to replace some of the split pieces, and the whole case put back together. The original polish was spoilt due to new pieces of case being fitted, so the whole thing was sanded down to bare wood and French polished.


At this stage I was given the movement to "do what I could with". The pillars for attaching it to the back of the dial had been torn out. Firstly the dial was straightened and then the pillars riveted back in place. The dial had to be restored, so I began by filling the riveted area, then repainting the dial with undercoat and finishing gloss enamel. I had worried about rewriting the dial. I had planned to do this with a draughtsman's bow pen and thinned black paint. This did not give satisfactory results. My wife had the answer for me. She suggested using acrylic ink which when dry, has a waterproof and hard-wearing finish. I marked out the dial lightly in pencil then painted in the minute graduations, Roman numerals and (I couldn't resist it) a GWR monogram. I used a 'Rotring' draughtsman's pen for this and got first class results.


In view of what I said in the last issue about fakes. I made a small engraved plate fitted to the back of the bezel stating that the clock is a replica!! Also on the back of the dial itself I have painted that the clock is made by W. Wray and son of New Street Birmingham (and not of GWR origin). The clock had been made by the firm in about 1860–70 but had been altered at some later date by fitting poorly made wings to the drop case and a little window (lenticle) so that the swinging pendulum was visible. I decided to dispense with the wings, but have kept the lenticle. In this form the clock is very similar to clock serial No.3439 on page 90 of Ian Lyman's book "Railway Clocks" and as such is a nice addition to the Station Master's Office. It keeps time to within a minute a week.


Mick Yarker. January 2006

Return Magazine List