[Illustration: Fig. 135]
In this day, fine cylinder watches are not made, and only the common kind are met with, and for this reason the student should familiarize himself with all the imaginary faults which could occur from bad construction. The best way to do this is to delineate what he (the student) knows to be a faulty escapement, as, for instance, a cylinder in which too much of the half shell is cut away; but in every instance let the tooth be of the correct form. Then delineate an escapement in which the cylinder is correct but the teeth faulty; also change the thickness of the cylinder shell, so as to make the teeth too short. This sort of practice makes the pupil think and study and he will acquire a knowledge which will never be forgotten, but always be present to aid him in the puzzles to which the practical watchmaker is every day subject.
The ability to solve these perplexing problems determines in a great degree the worth of a man to his employer, in addition to establishing his reputation as a skilled workman. The question is frequently asked, “How can I profitably employ myself in spare time?” It would seem that a watchmaker could do no better than to carefully study matters horological, striving constantly to attain a greater degree of perfection, for by so doing his earning capacity will undoubtedly be increased.
THE CHRONOMETER ESCAPEMENT.
Undoubtedly “the detent,” or, as it is usually termed, “the chronometer escapement,” is the most perfect of any of our portable time measurers. Although the marine chronometer is in a sense a portable timepiece, still it is not, like a pocket watch, capable of being adjusted to positions. As we are all aware, the detent escapement is used in fine pocket watches, still the general feeling of manufacturers is not favorable to it. Much of this feeling no doubt is owing to the mechanical difficulties presented in repairing the chronometer escapements when the detent is broken, and the fact that the spring detent could not be adjusted to position. We shall have occasion to speak of position adjustments as relate to the chronometer escapement later on.
We will proceed now to consider briefly the advantages the detent escapement has over all others. It was soon discovered in constructing portable timepieces, that to obtain the best results the vibrations of the balance should be as free as possible from any control or influence except at such times as it received the necessary impulse to maintain the vibrations at a constant arc. This want undoubtedly led to the invention of the detent escapement. The early escapements were all frictional escapements, i.e., the balance staff was never free from the influence of the train. The verge escapement, which was undoubtedly the first employed, was constantly in