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Question Box

From Horology magazine, April, 1939

Question Box

Bent Centers, Demagnetizing and Poising

Editor Horology, 
Dear Sir:
How can I straighten the shaft the cannon pinion fits on, in 12 size very thin Elgin and Illinois watches? Most everyone that comes in has the center post bent. Watchmakers apparently bend these posts while crowding the hands on.

A Parker wrist watch that is very strongly magnetized has been brought in.  I have taken this watch in to Cleveland to four watchmakers. No demagnetizer will take out the electricity. I suppose I will have to take the watch apart and demagnetize each piece separately.

What oil shall I use in winding and setting of pocket and wrist watches? I have been using clock oil, but I have been told that I should use grease as thick as vasoline.

Please tell me how to poise a balance.

I have my balance wheel before me on my agate poising tool, balance, staff and rim with screws. Where do I go from here? Should I have balance, staff and rim with screws, roller collet and roller jewel with hairspring and stud? All watchmakers do differently. I would like to know the right way.
D. F. J.

Answer: We suggest that you check your method of removing cannon pinions. Make sure that the pull is straight upward without side pressure. It would appear to us that some of the bent center posts you encounter are probably due to your own method of removing the pinions.

There is no easy method for straightening a bent center. The usual procedure is to hold the post in the lathe chuck and forcing the wheel in the desired direction with the fingers. In some instances it is possible to force the post direct in the watch.

Every horologist should own a demagnetizer and thus save the trouble of sending out a job which can be done in a few seconds. Modern demagnetizers work efficiently and one should not need to take a watch to pieces for mere demagnetization.

We suggest that you follow the oil manufacturers' advice as 'to which oil to use on the winding parts. Practically all makers of oil specify this on the instruction circulars which are supplied with each bottle of oil. They make recommendations as to which one of their grades to use on the train, winding and escapements.

When poising a balance, the unit placed on the jaws of the poising tool should consist only of the balance, staff, rollers and roller jewel. No poising can be done without removing the hairspring.

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