A Gents' WT installation at Terry's Chocolate Factory.


The following images are all gratefully credited to Matt Allen. A skilled photographer who likes to record Britain's dying, industrial heritage. His images beautifully capture the melancholy atmosphere of the empty factories and workshops of our once-great, household names.

By sheer luck I found his series on the Terry's Chocolate Factory WT installation. He has very kindly allowed me to reproduce his images here.

The WT installation itself faced serious difficulties. The four 8' dials on the tower had an enormous water tank immediately behind them. Meaning that conventional lead off work direct from the movement was impossible.  

The solution was to drive each dial motionwork via chains. The WT movement was housed below the water tank. The lead off work drives the dial chains via sprockets. The motionwork behind the dials takes its power from the WT via the chains.

Judging by the black painted, slender main casting, this WT movement looks like a fairly early C40B. Providing ample power to drive the hands of the four 8' dials. I still have no certain way of identifying larger WT movements. Usually the worm wheel, bevel wheels and time setting dial are larger than the next model down in the series. Here is a link to a list of dials and WT movements: It seems a C40B would have been ample but this one looks rather larger to me. (Later note: Gents' literature claims a C40B at this installation)

Dial size against required WT movement size:

The movement is housed in a protective, galvanised steel shelter. The original, cast, main pendulum-drive, contact, steady bars have been replaced with the later pressed design. Just a routine update due to wear on the originals?

The horizontal (rusty) white painted tube on the right is part of the dial lead-off work.

The controlling, Pulsynetic master clock is dated 1930. A vandal has broken the case glass and stolen the pilot dial. The clips may still be seen on either side near the top inside the door. This Pulsynetic master clock was once a beautiful, early example of the Pulsynetic type. Having decorative mouldings at the top and bottom of the case.

The electromechanical movement of the Pulsynetic master clock evolved only in detail over time. Only an expert would be able to identify each model and suggest a date. (I do not remotely count myself as an expert)

The Pulsynetic master clock had an enviable reputation for reliability and long life. All thanks to its design, construction and advanced material choices.

Another view of the rear of one dial showing the Terry's name proudly displayed on the opal glass. An early form of illuminated advertising? Those reading the time would inevitable recognise the meaning of the "Terry" lettering.

Mr Allen's photography nicely captures the light and atmosphere of the tower.

The chain-driven motionwork is housed in the protective metal case behind each dial.

Part of the original Gents' timekeeping installation.

There are the unmistakeable signs of a Pulsynetic master clock having been removed.(The Pulsynetic master clock has a uniquely heavy, cast, triangular hanging bracket at the top) Plus two distinctive cross-brace boards clearly visible as highlights on the wall.

A variety of Gents' impulse timekeeping components remain. The trickle power supply for a battery bank is still present at top left. Top right looks like a low battery charge warning bell. There may also be components here to control the lighting of the opal glass dials at night. The larger case at the bottom may once have held an adjustable programmer. (Bell ringers and factory siren timers were once commonplace)

A link to a website containing illustrations of many original Gents' timekeeping components:

The WT support tower and access stairs.

Note the careful triangulation to ensure rigidity of the structure. This would help timekeeping when the heavy pendulum was impulsed by the drive electromagnets.
Not that timekeeping was critical with the WT thanks to the controlling master clock. A sturdy platform would help to reduce the energy losses to the pendulum. Thereby giving a far greater reserve of driving power for difficult weather conditions. (Ice, wind and snow. Or even flocks of birds settling on the hands)

The damaged master clock resides forlornly in the case behind the tower.

Another, closer, view of the Pulsynetic master clock.

The darkness of the wood and close grain  might suggest mahogany or rosewood. Which has been perhaps 'ebonised' by the factory. I doubt the age and situation would have affected the colour of the inside of the case. It is a most attractive finish which I have not seen in later examples. Could this finish have anything to do with representing dark chocolate? It is not impossible.

Note the original Gents' date label at top left inside the case. A valuable addition to any master clock to provide an accurate date of manufacture.

Do not be fooled  by the dangling electrical flex. These clocks should never be connected direct to the mains! Low voltage DC (depending on the number of series connected dials or equipment) is their requirement. The time circuit is always set to 0.22Amps. Not to some arbitrary DC voltage.

For those who would like to enjoy many more, original images of the Terry factory here is a direct link to Mr Allen's Flickr set:

 Terry of York clock tower

I am most grateful that Mr Allen has allowed me to share his images here. Copyright remains with Mr Allen.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


donald said...

What a shame, the building is derelict and will probably end up being demolished, I hope someone rescues the clocks before they do.

Chrisbee said...

Hi Donald


I wonder what happened to the big WTs in the Singer Factory? I heard somewhere that it had already been demolished.