Spot A Clock: Building 1, National Soldiers Home Historic District

This month’s ‘Spot a Clock’ is Building 1, also known as the Headquarters Building, located in the National Soldiers Home Historic District in Milwaukee. Caring for veterans returning from war was one of several issues the country faced in the aftermath of the Civil War. In 1865, Congress and President Lincoln authorized the creation of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Solders. The Milwaukee facility represents the Northwestern Branch, one of the three original branches. Construction began in 1867, with the majority of the buildings in the historic district being constructed by 1895. Among these is Building 2, the “Main Building”, often referred to as Old Main.

A 1941 Building Schedule lists 100 buildings on the 150-acre property, which is also the home of Wood National Cemetery. Among the first buildings constructed was Building 1, completed in 1896. This two-story Renaissance Revival building served as the headquarters for the complex until 1942, and was constructed at a cost of just under $10,000. Early photos show that the cupola atop the building had louvers on each side, but later photos depict a clock on the west side of the cupola.

The Seth Thomas factory records available on the NAWCC website indicate that the clock movement was a No. 6 time tower clock movement, purchased in June 1901 by the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Discussions with facility staff indicate that the movement was replaced with an electric movement at an unknown date. Portions of the original movement are still present. In addition to its ongoing mission of caring for veterans, the complex is on the National Register of Historic Places. A walking tour is available through a downloadable podcast available for smartphones (search ‘Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home’ on your app store).

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Our Next Mart is January 7th at 9:00am

The Mart is January 7th at 9:00am.
At the The Knights of Columbus, 1800 South 92nd Street, West Allis, WI 53214

Educational Lecture by Brad Smith -“Repairing Jefferson Mystery Clocks”

“Show & Tell” – Bring an Electric Clock

Thanks to Brad Smith for his presentation on making a Rolling Ball Clock.  First he went into the history of rolling ball clocks and the different types which have been made.  Brad then discussed how he purchased plans from Clayton Boyer for making a complete clock from wood.  But Brad being a machinist decided to replace most parts with aluminum.  The wheels and pinions were made from Baltic birch plywood.  The drawings were glued to the plywood and cut out on a scroll saw and finished with a table top mounted belt sander.  The aluminum components were made on his mill and drill press.  Adjustments had to be made in the design due to the different rolling characteristics of wood and aluminum.

Brad showed the tabletop, spring-driven, rolling ball clock with a compound balance pendulum and parallelogram grasshopper escapement which he made. This is nearly silent clockworks that releases a steel ball every five minutes, but on the hour, the balls are returned and recycled. As the minutes race tilts and spills its eleven extra balls into the serpentine race, it then falls back to hit the large bell with a “CLANG!” One ball from the minutes race enters the hour race, and then the remainder of the eleven minutes balls are let down into the collection area by a drop wheel that also dings a little bell for each ball dropped. Unlike the Congrave clock where the balls are used to keep time, this clock uses the balls to display time and provide much entertainment along the way.

 

The board met after the November meeting and came up with the following new ideas to be tried in 2018.

  • We will have available a silent auction table between 9:00 and 9:45 during meetings where members can place items on table for bid. Seller can place a minimum bid on the item and buyers can write their bid on the bid sheet.  At 9:45 the highest bid wins, and the sellers and buyers complete the sell between themselves.  There will be no cost for either seller or buyer in using this silent auction table.
  • We would like to reintroduce a repair clinic at marts but would like feedback from our members. This table would have members available to answer repair questions or give advice.  We could have this topic specific such as: Clocks, watches, barometers?  Let me know if this service would be valued by you and we can set something like this up.
  • Tentative educational programs for 2018:

January: Brad Smith is will discuss repair processes for restoring Jefferson electric golden hour mystery clocks.

March: Craig White will discuss making lead weights

May: Mike Dempsey will give talk on making a die filing attachment for Shirline lathes.

September: Mike Dempsey will give talk on electric clock repair

November: Craig White will discuss his Astronomical Clock.

Thank you,

Craig White

 

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  6. Our Next Mart will be on March 12th, 2017 Comments Off on Our Next Mart will be on March 12th, 2017
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  8. Our Next Meeting will be on Sunday, November 13th. Comments Off on Our Next Meeting will be on Sunday, November 13th.
  9. Our next meeting will be on September 18th. Comments Off on Our next meeting will be on September 18th.