Synchronome Master Clocks

Keith Yearby asked:
Does anyone know what happened to Halley's Synchronome master clocks? During my first winter (1983) the Synchronome was still working at Halley 3, I think mainly as an ornament, or possibly as a backup for the observatory clock. It was initially abandoned when Halley 3 closed, but I recovered it to Halley 4 at some point during 1984. Unfortunately, a jewel in the mechanism was lost and I was not able to get it working again. During the 84/85 summer, or possibly the next one, a second Synchronome arrived at Halley which I think was salvaged from the BAS base at South Georgia by some incoming FIDs. I didn't see them again, so wonder if anyone did ship them out, or if they ended up on the gash dump. That would be sad as they are much sought after by collectors now.
[30 May 2005]

This was published in Z-fids Newsletter No. 5 and the following feedback was received.

Julian Rouse :

I have to say I cannot remember this in 80-82, the main clock on base was an electronic one which we used to set using the Rugby time signal. Clock was a BAS special partly produced by Tweaky Fitzgerald and an Electronics person whose name escapes me.

Jim Jamieson:

. . . Regards the synchronomes, I can confirm that there was one on South G because I set it up in 1971 when a geophysics programme was established on that base. I can well understand that these instruments have become collectors' items. They were beautiful in a number of ways - mainly because the intricate mechanism was partly exposed to view, showing the ingenuity of the design process - which probably spanned several generations of clock makers.

Phil Anderson:

Re Synchronome
I'm fairly sure that Richard Yeo (Halley 1992-3) recovered the clock from the dismantled Z4 in 1992 and eventually gave it to Bob Headland, who restored it (albeit with the jewel still missing) and it now ticks away in Bob's hallway. I believe this is the same clock.

Richard Yeo:

I rescued what was left of one of them from the clearing of Z4 in 91/92, and it is now back in working order at Bob Headland's (SPRI) house in Cambridge. I am wondering if the one I had was the salvaged one from SG, as it seems to have been raided for parts. Bob managed to get it back in operation after some cunning work, and it is now driving one slave clock he found from another source. The smaller clockface that should be in the main case is missing. I did see the other clock at Halley during the 90/91 summer, when it was being packed. I assumed it was on its way back to BAS, but I guess it was being 'liberated'..

Mike Rose

I have a Synchronome clock face with some mechanisism that doesn't work (yet), I always intended to put it in a nice case and get it working again. I think I rescued it from a pile of stuff that David Simmons left.

Chris Edwards (Base E 1972-5 geologist)

I am now a clockmaker and noted the comments about the Synchronome clock at Halley/SG. Bob Headland contacted me last year sometime about this clock and the missing impulse jewel and on his search for a slave clock. The last I heard was that he still hadnt got it running correctly or at all. I know that they can be tricky to set up and require a rigid wall to bolt them to. I have several synchronomes and similar master clocks and have worked on a few more over the years. [06 January 2007]

5 January 2006
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