English gallery clock by the Empire Clock Co. is not a fusee

When I placed my online bid on this time-only gallery-style clock (local auction house) in June 1922 I had hoped it had a fusee movement since a clock with a fusee movement has always been on my wish list.

A fusee (from the French fusée, wire wound around a spindle) is a cone-shaped pulley with a helical groove around it, wound with a cord or chain which is attached to the mainspring barrel. A fusee movement improves timekeeping by equalizing the power of the mainspring over its rated running cycle. In short, it keeps better time than a conventional spring driven clock throughout its 8-day cycle.

This clock does not have a fusee movement!

Auction photo

It’s still a nice clock, however!

Most would agree that this a gallery clock, but it is also known in some circles as a pub, office, domestic or canteen clock. The dial face is 10 inches across and the case measures 14 inches in diameter. It has Roman Numerals with spade hour hand and a rod minute hand. The wood surround, which is in very good condition, appears to be mahogany. It has a high quality conventional spring driven time-only movement.

Am I disappointed that it is not a fusee? Well, a little! But the price I paid was far less than a fusee would have cost.

The movement is rather large for a time-only movement and is well built. It is attached to a heavy steel plate that is screwed onto the front of the movement. The whole assembly mounts just under the dial. It has a very German look to it, though it is definitely English-made.

Steel plate

To access the movement the dial must be removed which is a relatively simple process of removing the hands and three small screws.

Time-only movement made by Empire

Four slotted screws secure the movement to the steel plate.

An curious feature is a cylindrical pendulum with a large rotating adjustment screw on the bottom. The pendulum clips into a two piece caddy system for easy transport.

Cylinder pendulum and transport caddy

The movement is stamped “Empire” with #6617 and “made in England” at the bottom of the rear plate. The movement plates have an interesting checker-board design not unlike some German clocks of the time.

The Empire brand was introduced by The English Clock & Watch Company (a merger of H Williamson & Grimshaw & Baxter) in 1924. The company was short-lived and purchased by Smiths in 1932. Although Smiths acquired the Empire trade names there is no indication the Empire name continued after 1932.

This catalogue image below describes the clock in various configurations. “GB” refers to Grimshaw & Baxter, J.J.E Ltd, is a mystery to me, a distributor perhaps.

It needs a good cleaning but I’ll run it a week or two first and service the movement.

An English gallery clock that is made to look like a fusee that isn’t!


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