Regular Motion in Clockwork


IN order to ensure perfectly regular motion in the clockwork which drives the revolving dioptric apparatus made by Messes. Chance, Bros, and Co., I have recently introduced a centrifugal governor, which might perhaps also be useful for the clocks of equatorials. Though it involves nothing new in principle, the form differs from anything I have seen, in that the governor balls have to lift a heavy weight, and that the leather rubbers or brushes are not carried by the revolving balls, but are fixed to the frame of the clock and rub against the disc which forms the extra weight lifted by the balls. The sketch shows the governor in use on the clock of the apparatus of Cape Bon, Tunis, an apparatus exactly similar to that now standing in the International Exhibition. It consists of a shaft making 170 revolutions per minute, to which the balls a a are hung, and on which the disc b b can slide, guided by a feather key. When the clock is below speed the disc rests upon a collar fixed on the shaft, the pull exerted by the balls through the links d d being insufficient to raise it; but as soon as the proper speed is attained, the disc rises and comes in contact with the screws e e, which are tipped with leather and fixed to the frame of the clock. Spaces are cut out of the disc to admit the balls, avoiding unnecessary height. The screw f serves as a brake to stop the clock at pleasure. I calculate that work to the extent of five foot-pounds per minute must be done on the governor to accelerate the clock one second per hour. This form possesses two advantages over that in which the rubbers are carried by the balls—1. It checks any acceleration of the clock more powerfully; 2. It is easier to adjust. In the older form it is necessary to ascertain by careful experiment that each ball shall bring its rubber into contact exactly when the speed is correct, whereas in this it is immaterial that the arms of the balls should be exactly equal; it is only needful that they should together raise the disc to contact when the speed is right.

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HOPKTNSON, J. Regular Motion in Clockwork. Nature 10, 459–460 (1874) doi:10.1038/010459c0

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