The German Time Bomb

In search for aesthetically destroyed timepieces I got this awesome photo of a German S. Haller clock from a guy called Len in the NAWCC discussion-forum about clocks and especially 400 day (anniversary) clocks. I understood that this will happen if the mainspring is not fully let down when you remove the back of this clock, and I also understood that this particular type -- with no suspension spring running down the back of the movement to the torsional ball pendulum -- "will" explode and shatter the glass dome, because the plastic centre of the top drum fails and would not hold the spring in the wound position. This particular clock was withdrawn from the market in the 1980:s and is technically not a torsion clock but it looks like one, because it runs for a year and looks similar from the front. It's the large -- and dangerous -- spring which keep it running.

This photo is no longer available on the Net -- that's why I am showing it here -- but you can read more about this "German Time Bomb" on the NAWCC-site here (It was here I found the photo and facts.) If this guy Len don't want his picture here, I will remove it -- and the same rule is for the six images below.

I once had this clock, but then I learned from the NAWCC-site here how dangerous it was, and I went far out into the forest with it, dug a hole in the ground and carefully placed the clock into the hole (without the glass dome of course). Then I filled the hole with dirt and placed grass and leaves on top of it. I made no map of this location, and the mainspring in the clock will safely rust to dust before someone finds the clock as an archeological finding. Then I decided to warn everybody else about this clock but --oops, I forgot to take photos of it! Then an e-mail from my cousin this morning saved me -- and I saved him...

Here is images of the German Elgin/Haller clock I got from my cousin today, he didn't know what he bought from eBay. The poor guy on the eBay didn't know what he sold either, because he even REMOVED the lid and exposed the DANGEROUS mainspring inside, as you can see in the fourth picture here below!!! And yes -- he took the photo while the clock was still wound and running! And you can also see: the mainspring has no protection but the flimsy brass lid, and it goes from the bottom drum to the top drum when you (dare to) wind the clock and is then unwinding itself while this clock is running -- releasing tremedous power OUTWARDS, and if the plastic centre of the top drum fails... remember that plastic ages much faster than metal and becomes more and more brittle! And these clocks are not younger than 20 years...

"I found this nice older Elgin clock at a house sale.....I was told it was a 400 day wind.....It is in real nice condition and runs good.....Time needs to be adjusted (faster or slower).....The [crank-like] key is missing but i have used a small open end wrench which works and I will send this along with the clock.....However, there is a small circle scratch where the key wind up slot is located.....This is in the back and does not detract from its appearance any way......The dome has no scratch marks or scuffs.....This is a clock that you can use in any room in your house.....dining room, living room, bedroom and one of the greatest features about it is that you don't have to buy batteries, plug it in or frequently wind it.....It measures 11 1/2 " high and the base is 8 " wide. The inscription on the back is.....S. HALLER MADE IN GERMANY,,,,ONE ( 1 ) JEWEL....UNADJUSTED....on the top face it reads ELGIN....and below the 6 in small print is WEST GERMANY....."

I got the text and images from my cousin (who placed the dangerous clock beneath large rocks and stones near a sea shore -- the salt water will disarm it), so I can show everybody how the clock looks like and is described, because this clock among the 400 day clocks is a poisonus fly agaric among the edible mushrooms. And imagine to have this clock in the bedroom... eeek!

It is permitted to everyone to do a partial or complete reproduction of this text and these images for non-commercial use.

Partial or complete reproduction of this text and these images as electronic circulation is permitted to everyone for non-commercial use

Borim Luneshar, September 30, 2006 (links updated September 23, 2007)

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