Restoring a Delander

Daniel Delander was born in 1678 and apprenticed in 1692 to Charles Holdstead. He later transferred to Thomas Tompion and went on to become Tompion’s journeyman, working with George Graham. Delander produced clocks that matched the quality of his master Thomas Tompion and also invented his version of the duplex escapement. 

I have had the great pleasure over the years of working on some rare and interesting, not to mention, valuable clocks.  Some of my previous repairs and restorations include:

  • Thomas Cattell
  • Dent
  • Daniel Quare
  • Horseman
  • Thomas Cole
  • Justin Vulliamy
  • Australian convict clockmaker James Oatley’s earliest recorded clock No. 5
  • Skeleton clock by Robillard, London, with a coup perdu escapement featured in H. Alan Lloyd’s book The Collector’s Dictionary of Clocks (p.61) which was serviced before me by the late great George Daniels.
  • Also, an extremely rare year-going bracket clock

This article is about the restoration of a Daniel Delander Longcase No. 12 duplex escapement.  The longcase movement was shipped to me for a full service.  On arrival, I unpacked it from its crate, movement only, no weights or pendulum. The first job was to set it up and watch it run for a day or so. My initial inspection of the movement found surface rust on a lot of the steel work and very dry build-up of old oil. The bolt and shutter maintaining power was loose and quite rough in its action. 

After taking a few photos, it was time to dismantle the movement.  When the plates were separated, a few of the pivots were left stuck in their holes, held in by the old dry oil.  On inspection of all the pivots, only the centre pivot showed signs of wear.  After refinishing and polishing pivots and one bush, all was back as it should be.  All the steel work was then polished, the bolt and shutter maintaining power was also fixed so that it worked as it should.

The duplex escapement is a thing of beauty and this was the first time I had ever worked on a longcase with a duplex escapement.  It comprised of one large external escape wheel on the back plate and one smaller escape wheel between the plates.  Everything on this clock was superbly made - the quality outstanding.  When working on this clock, I knew I was dealing with one of the true great makers and it inspired me to go the extra mile with the small details when building my own clocks.



After the clock was dismantled, every piece was meticulously cleaned, every screw repolished and then set aside awaiting re-assembly.  Everything was very straight forward and no major dramas when re-assembling, and after not too long, Mr Delander was up and running again.  Watching the second hand on a duplex escapement is interesting.  It appears to be a half recoil and half dead beat. That is, on the tick, it recoils and on the tock it’s a dead beat.

After the clock had been running for most of the day, I walked past it and checked the time.  All good after a few hours had passed.  Walking past it again I checked the time and it showed the same time as before.  The hands hadn’t moved.  First thought, hand tension washer a bit flat.  I moved the minute hand back 10 minutes then checked it 15 minutes later.  The minute hand had stopped at the same point and the clock was still ticking away. After a few minutes of watching and pondering, I realised the problem. When putting the calendar wheel back on, I didn’t time it properly. The impulse pin on the calendar wheel was running into the face of the strike snail between 12 and 1 o’clock.  After that was fixed the clock ran flawlessly for the next week.

At the end of the week, the clock was reluctantly packed back into its crate for the long journey home.  OK, now that’s out of the way, what’s next?  Let me see, a six-tune musical longcase by Jonathan Marsh or the Four tune, tortoise shell silver mounted, Bracket clock by William Jourdain, the Thomas Cole or maybe the Joseph Knibbs Longcase…

Graham Mulligan