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Elgin AFV Clock - ?

Article about: It allways amazes me that people do not use google as their first line of enquiry, have just googled Elgin 8 day clock and found lots of info. I am not having a go at you personally but ever

  1. #1

    Default Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Hello, I’m hoping to identify where the clock that forms part of this item may have originally been used.

    This is a desk clock that was presented by a group of soldiers to the commanding officer of their Polish mechanized unit stationed in the Middle East during WW2. It is inscribed with their names and dated “2-II-44 Palestyna”. It uses the traditional black and orange triangular pennon motif associated with Polish armoured units and is constructed cleverly using pistons from what would possibly have been an armoured fighting vehicle.

    The clock used is manufactured by Elgin and measure 2 ¼ inches in diameter. It is adjusted and wound using the knurled metal knob at the front. Does anyone here know where such a piece would have been used?

    Many thanks,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  2. #2

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    These are typically used in aircraft...............
    Regards,


    Steve.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Hi Walkwolf,

    Thank you for that. Yes, it does look like a cockpit instrument. Could these clocks have been used in a land vehicle as well? Either way, can anyone offer any more information on this Elgin clock unit such as age, etc?

    Thanks in advance,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  4. #4

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    They could be mounted in vehicles or tanks, etc. but more usually in military aircraft.
    A spare was probably used to make the piece, or it may have been removed from
    an armoured vehicle or a downed plane. It is in excellent condition.

    Judging by the painted numbers on the dial, this type of clock could range
    date-wise from the mid 1930's to the 1950's.

    Does it keep time and do the digits glow ?
    Regards,


    Steve.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Thanks again Walkwolf,

    Ideally I’d like to confirm if such a clock was found in a tank or other vehicle. I would fully expect the piece to be pre-1944 based one the date inscribed on the piece, which has every indication of being genuine.

    Unfortunately the clock does not work. The knob on the front does adjust the clock hands, but the winding function doesn’t seem to work. I am assuming this knob also winds the clock as I see no other means of winding.

    As far as the digits glowing, I never though to check that. I’ll do that tonight.

    Cheers,
    T.
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  6. #6

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Thanks again Walkwolf,

    Ideally I’d like to confirm if such a clock was found in a tank or other vehicle. I would fully expect the piece to be pre-1944 based one the date inscribed on the piece, which has every indication of being genuine.

    Unfortunately the clock does not work. The knob on the front does adjust the clock hands, but the winding function doesn’t seem to work. I am assuming this knob also winds the clock as I see no other means of winding.

    As far as the digits glowing, I never though to check that. I’ll do that tonight.

    Cheers,
    T.
    I'm also sure it is pre-1944 as you suggest.

    Try and push or pull the front knob in or out carefully, and see if it 'clicks'.
    This may be the wind mechanism as well as the time setting function.
    Regards,


    Steve.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Hi Steve, Yes, I did try that. Pulling the front knob out and turning adjusts the clock hands. Otherwise the knob turns only to the left with a 'click click click' ratcheting action. It seems jammed when trying to turn to the right. I may need to take it to a clock repair shop.

    Oh, and the glow in the dark test failed as well. I guess after 60+ years the phosphorescent compound loses its effectiveness.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  8. #8

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Quote by A.J. Zawadzki View Post
    Hi Steve, Yes, I did try that. Pulling the front knob out and turning adjusts the clock hands. Otherwise the knob turns only to the left with a 'click click click' ratcheting action. It seems jammed when trying to turn to the right. I may need to take it to a clock repair shop.

    Oh, and the glow in the dark test failed as well. I guess after 60+ years the phosphorescent compound loses its effectiveness.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Regards,
    Tony
    You are welcome, Tony !
    ( I have an interest in antique watches... )

    The 'ratcheting' you hear may possibly be the winding of the clock - that knob
    on the front looks to be the only way to do it. Try winding several times, and
    then rotate the clock with your hands, face up, and see if it runs at all.

    It's possible that it never had compound painted on the dial. I recieved a slightly
    beat up 'Kollsman' WWII era altimeter in the mail last week, and to my
    astonishment, it glows ! I was sure that a radium dial would be
    confiscated at the border.................!
    Regards,


    Steve.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    Hi again Steve, and sorry for my slow reply.

    I am quite certain that the clock is not being wound. The knob on the front will only turn to the left in the winding mode (i.e. not the “pulled out mode” which adjusts the clock hands). And it has a lazy clicking which definitely does not have a sensation of winding a spring loaded clock mechanism. It feels decidedly broken. The knob is jammed when I try to turn it to the right. There’s definitely some sort of internal problem.

    As far as the phosphorescent compound, perhaps this is an indication that the clock may be from a tank, as I had suspected. Did British WW2 tanks have a clock on the inside? And would they have applied this compound on something that would normally be used within a dark environment such as that inside a tank? A clock with glow in the dark luminescent display would need to be periodically exposed to light to ‘charge up’ the compound. Just a thought.

    Thanks again for your input Steve.

    Cheers,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: Elgin AFV Clock - ?

    It looks similar to the Elgin A-7 aircraft clock, the only US-made AFV clocks I've handled have the setting button coming through the dial.

    It certainly sounds like it's fully wound, but something is locked up inside.
    First thing I'd do is remove the adjustment cover screw and look inside to see if the balance is free to swing.
    It should be visible if you give the clock a quick twist to get it moving.

    Ultimately though, it will need dismantling to correct whatever the problem is.
    On these clocks the movement comes out through the front of the case. There should be a split ring between the bezel and the glass that holds everything in place.

    That leads to the other issue, that of the luminous compound.
    That visible on the dial and hands is pretty likely to be radium-based, it's gone the classic dull off-white that radium lume goes after a few decades.
    It's not too much of a problem sealed up inside the clock, but when disturbed may release dust particles that you really don't want to be breathing in.

    It's a shame you're the other side of the Atlantic, or I could have this thing in the workshop and stripped down by the end of Monday.

    All the best,
    PB

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