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Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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Elgin Grade 13

This is an Elgin grade 13, 18 size, 11 jewels, made about 1883.
The movement has a broken balance staff so the hairspring is removed, then the roller table, from the balance assembly.

There are several tools for removing the roller table. This is the one I use - an accessory for the staking set.

Also, if you look closely you can see that the roller jewel is missing. That will be replaced after the new staff in riveted to the balance wheel.
Here's the balance wheel with the hairspring and the roller table removed. The upper pivot, point down here in this image, is broken. The other one is OK.
Here is the replacement part. Along with the watch itself, the owner of this watch sent several staffs, for 18 size Elgin watches as far as I can tell, but none were the correct part. However, one of the pivots need to be polished down some to fit the watches balance jewels. It is very common to have to do this.
Here was see cutting away the back hub of the old staff so it can be popped off the balance wheel.
Here it is almost, but not quite, all cut off, then the remaining bit can be broken free using the staking set.
The broken off bit of the old staff hub it a little washer.
 The new staff is riveted in place.
This is the new staff assembled to the balance wheel and ready to go.

Replacing the roller jewel is next.

The roller jewel is a pin is attached in a vertical orientation to the roller table. It is sometimes called an impulse pin. It engages the pallet fork as the balance turns from one side to other. It both pushes, and is in turn pushed by, the escapement in each cycle, or beat, thus keeping the balance wheel going as the watch runs.


The roller jewel is cemented in place with by melting a tiny bit of shellac. The assembly is held in a warmer to do this. The back end of the warmer is heated in an alcohol lamp. The roller table is heated by induction.

This closeup shows the replacement jewel.

The warmer is heated in an alcohol flame from the back. The shellac that holds the jewel is slowly melted and the roller jewel can be set. It has to be perfectly positioned, and the shellac is only soft for a few seconds at a time. It generally takes a few passes and adjustments.
This little tin of shellac belonged to my Grandfather. The amounts that get used are so small that it was a lifetime supply for him. It may well be for me as well.
Assembled and ready to go...




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