Elgin Gun Camera Clock  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2017-01-19  

Description

This diminutive mechanical clock is designed for a very unusual role, recording timestamps in a film based "gun camera" mounted to the side of a military aircraft. Gun cameras were used on military aircraft to record damage to enemy targets, and military intelligence specialists found it useful to have a timestamp attached to each photo. To provide this, a small clock would be mounted inside the camera; a series of prisms would superimpose the clock face in a corner of the camera's field of view, which would then be recorded every time the camera took a picture. This clock makes use of an Elgin 685 movement, a movement type that is typically used for 24 hour wristwatches. Some gun camera clocks are electrically wound, but this clock has an external crown for winding and setting similar to the type found on a wristwatch. In operation the clock would be mounted in a removable compartment on the camera and would need to be wound and set before the start of a mission.

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Elgin 'gun camera' clock, normal operation.


Clocks such as this were mounted in the kill confirmation cameras on military craft to provide a timestamp record when photos were taken.


This clock made use of the Elgin 685 movement, a movement designed for use in 24 hour watches. The prominent pair of stacked brass gears is Elgin's "Double Sweep Second Wheel", a feature of this movement that used two gears under tension to remove jitter from the second hand.

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