The Peace Tower is a tower in the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. It stands immediately in front of, and is joined to, the Centre Block, which contains the House of Commons and Senate of Canada.
The Peace Tower is the most prominent part of the buildings. It replaced the 55-metre Victoria Tower, burned in the 1916 Parliament Hill fire; the current tower is 92.2 metres tall.
The tower contains an observation gallery offering beautiful views of the city. Its clock is set by the National Research Council of Canada official time signal and is equipped with a 53-bell carillon. The bells weigh from 4.5 kg to 10,160 kg (10 lb to 22,399 lb). The Dominion Carillonneur offers regular recitals. The bell has tolled on many major occasions.
Like the entire interior and exterior of the building, the tower is decorated with stone carvings, including approximately 370 gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes.
Until the early 1970s, the Peace Tower dominated the Ottawa skyline as a strict 150 ft (45.7 meters) height limit was placed on other buildings; that was rescinded and it is no longer the tallest structure in the city.
At the beginning of June 2006, the clock atop the tower stopped. It was inactive, displaying 7:39 for about one day, to the confusion of many Ottawans and visitors.
The Peace Tower Clock is quite a challenge for me mostly because I am converting the “paper” version into an all wood one that I hope will tick happily for years to come
So here is version. The original only has the great gear a second gear and the double 3 legged gravity escapement to the time train and the run time for 50 inches or so is only a couple of hours and that has to change to get the run time up to at least 12 hours.
Here are some frame members that are cut from Baltic Birch plywood - this was the start of the project.
The frameworks is really very elaborate probably because of the frame was supposed to be built of paper tubes.
As the frame develops it becomes more and more rigid.
The plans call for all the arbors to be fit on the completed frame so there is no pre’-drilling
The construction technique I have chosen is simple butt joints with 1/16” dowels at each joint
The first train has been completed and the unit is on the wall and being “debugged”.
The depthing and installation of arbors was a challenge since the clock frame works is actually 5 layers deep with a front and back plate and then 3 intermediate frames.
This has certainly provided a challenge for my fingers to operate around.
The readings all say that the Gravity Escapement is loud and they got that right - fortunately I love the sound so it is not an issue for me. The unit in its testing phase and runs on as little as 1.5 pounds of weight but it is being tested here with 2.5 pounds of lead.
I would like to say that I understand this escapement but I really don’t because the books and internet all show two components (one to stop the escape wheel rotation and a second to provide impulse) to the pallets and this clock only has one and yet it still works.
After the clock had run a few days I decided to rebuild the frame works to allow more space for the gears. In my conversion from the paper design I had used the same frame dimensions as the original paper clock and there simply was not enough gear clearance
The clock ran as expected but the 1/8” gears were not “true” enough to be reliable. The frame was expanded in depth from 5 1/2 “ to 8“.
The great wheel increased to 1/2 “ and the second wheel to 1/4”.The cord drum was made a full 1” wide since ultimately over 20 feet of cord will have to be stored here. The gearing for the hands was left at 1/8” since there is no “power” applied to these wheels
The end result is what you see here
and that is a clock that runs on one
pound of lead weight! The running weight has been increased to 6 pounds because there are now 7 supporting cords.
I wanted to maintain the “face appearance” of the clock and so in order to do that I decided to split the clock works frame at the division between the time and the running trains
The time train and the running train are now separated and a 1/2” ply frame. An additional pinion and drive gear have been added with a 7:1 ratio and that will take the run time from the original 2 hour to 14 hours which is a convenient wind interval.
The overall appearance has changed considerably but the final effect isn’t displeasing (to me).
We’ll see how it works over the long term.