The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles
December 17, 2017, 03:23:22 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Support BrassGoggles! Donate once or $3/mo.
 See details here.
 
   Home   Blog Help Rules Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Tobar toy clock kit  (Read 6242 times)
Esme Moore
Snr. Officer
****
United Kingdom United Kingdom


Poet and amateur retrophrenologist


« on: April 25, 2010, 06:22:35 pm »

I've long been curious about the workings of mechanical clocks, but until yesterday, hadn't actually done anything about trying to find out.  In the morning, I came across reference to a child's toy, a 'make a clock' kit by Tobar.   Hmmnn... appear to be unknown to the main toy shops in Birmingham.  Shortly thereafter, I braved the perils of a temporarily un-electrified and thus somewhat dysfunctional train service to Lichfield, for a bit of a day out.  To my surprise, I spotted one of the Tobar clock kits in a toyshop there and so I purchased one.

I've now found their website, which has a decent pic of the assembled toy : http://www.hawkin.com/find/category-is-Toys/category-is-Learning+toys/product-is-12459  - the sites I'd seen earlier in the day simply showed the front of the packaging.

Some hours later found me in the garden back home assembling the thing under the watchful eye of my cat, who likes to supervise in such situations.  The instructions, like the toy itself, were simple, but fairly clear (I did manage to put one gear in upside-down on first attempt due to carelessness). In a very short time indeed, I had a functioning clock!

The mainspring part of things is in a sealed unit with gearing around the outside, so no danger of fingers, little or otherwise, cutting themselves on the spring.  As a novice to the subject of the workings of clocks, what astonished me was the simplicity of the thing - one gear-train up to the rocker device to which the pendulum is attached, another over to the hands and bell.  The pendulum is adjustable - it is in two parts, locking together snuggly by a sawtooth  arrangement which allows tiny adjustments to the length of the pendulum to be made, although at extreme length the bottom of the pendulum is below the base of the clock.  The gear train to the pendulum is just 4 gears, including the one that the rocker acts upon.  That to the hands is three gears, two on the same axis, with the gear that rings the bell every fifteen minutes operating off of the third gear.

I wasn't really expecting this to run all that well, but with the pendulum suitably adjusted found that it kept time to within a minute or so over the couple of hours that the thing will run.  My one criticism of the kit is that the hour hand is held in place purely by friction, and can come loose (as in swing freely, not as in off the spindle) when adjusting the time - this then necessitates removing the minute hand to get at it.  A fairly minor failing for me, as an adult - not having children, I'm afraid I can't comment on how they (the toy is marketed as suitable for ages 6+) would fare with it.  Oh, there was also a little excess flashing on two pieces.  

If the clock ran for a decent amount of time, I'd have considered seeing if I could create a face housing and hands of suitably Steampunk style, but as is, I'll probably gift it to a friends child, eventually.   Now I've put this together and seen it working, it makes the working seem so simple and obvious that I wonder why I ever found clock mechanisms mysterious.  I'm curious as to what's going on inside the mainspring unit (but not sufficiently so to try disassembling it!), and obviously there's more going on in most actual clocks and watches (I presume the reciprocating wheel I can see in my pocket-watch is instead of a dangly-type pendulum), else they wouldnt have so many more bits, presumably to ensure more accurate running - but I do feel somewhat educated by the thing, and have had the satisfaction of at least assembling something that actually works!

« Last Edit: April 27, 2010, 09:00:10 pm by Esme Moore » Logged
Zwack
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States

And introducing the wonderful Irish (Mrs Z).


« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 01:28:52 am »

Yes, the "reciprocating wheel thingy" is a "balance wheel" and is there instead of a pendulum.

Z.
Logged

"At least those oddballs are interesting" - My Wife.
I'm British but living in America.  This might explain my spelling.
Abslomrob
Deck Hand
*
Canada Canada



WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 08:26:25 pm »

Oddly enough, there really isn't a great deal of difference between your toy and a real clock/watch.  The early Keywind pocket watches didn't have a lot more parts then what's in your toy either.  More modern watches are more "complex" mostly because of the winding/setting mechanism.  Adding a central sweep second hand adds complexity as well (early watches just drove a sub-second hand off the fourth wheel in the main gear train). 

The big difference, of course, has to do with making the thing resistant to changes in temperature, humidity and position. 
Logged

All my vintages are at http://www.abslomrob.com
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.383 seconds with 17 queries.