The simplest form of the detached lever escapement in use is the one known as the “ratchet-tooth lever escapement,” and generally found in English lever watches. This form of escapement gives excellent results when well made; and we can only account for it not being in more general use from the fact that the escape-wheel teeth are not so strong and capable of resisting careless usage as the club-tooth escape wheel.
It will be our aim to convey broad ideas and inculcate general principles, rather than to give specific instructions for doing “one thing one way.” The ratchet-tooth lever escapements of later dates have almost invariably been constructed on the ten-degree lever-and-pallet-action plan; that is, the fork and pallets were intended to act through this arc. Some of the other specimens of this escapement have larger arcs—some as high as twelve degrees.
[Illustration: Fig. 5]
We illustrate at Fig. 5 what we mean by ten degrees of pallet-and-fork action. If we draw a line through the center of the pallet staff, and also through the center of the fork slot, as shown at a b, Fig. 5, and allow the fork to vibrate five degrees each side of said lines a b, to the lines a c and a c’, the fork has what we term ten-degree pallet action. If the fork and pallets vibrate six degrees on each side of the line a b—that is, to the lines a d and a d’—we have twelve degrees pallet action. If we cut the arc down so the oscillation is only four and one-quarter degrees on each side of a b, as indicated by the lines a s and a s’, we have a pallet-and-fork action of eight and one-half degrees; which, by the way, is a very desirable arc for a carefully-constructed escapement.
The controlling idea which would seem to rule in constructing a detached lever escapement, would be to make it so the balance is free of the fork; that is, detached, during as much of the arc of the vibration of the balance as possible, and yet have the action thoroughly sound and secure. Where a ratchet-tooth escapement is thoroughly well-made of eight and one-half degrees of pallet-and-fork action, ten and one-half degrees of escape-wheel action can be utilized, as will be explained later on.
We will now resume the drawing of our escape wheel, as illustrated at Fig. 4. In the drawing at Fig. 6 we show the circle n n, which represents the periphery of our escape wheel; and in the drawing we are supposed to be drawing it ten inches in diameter.