Early Lancashire Watch Fusee Engines

Author: P.H.J. Baker

[ 24 pages ], 35 figures.

The eighteenth-century watch fusee engines described in this article are essentially a specialised form of screwcutting lathe. They were used to cut the fusee groove for a verge watch on prepared blanks, which are described.

It is fortunate and remarkable that there are sufficient surviving examples to establish their chronology and identify them with the eighteenth-century pattern books of John Wyke and Ford, Whitmore and Brunton. Their mode of operation and features are described and illustrated.

Special attention is given to decorative mouldings, the geometry of screw-heads and the form and method of manufacture of the screw threads which were used. Since the fusee engine is the only early traditional watch tool employing a leadscrew, these are given special attenttion. The engines described have a characteristic horizontal square or rectangular open main frame, sometimes with a 'bow' at the front.

The later Lancashire engines constructed on a rectangular flat plate are not dealt with here.