Clocks logo
  Reader's letter | April 2014 | Clocks Magazine

Big Brother Brillié

Robert Miles has asked me to point out to readers that the 'Big Brother' Brillié clocks (‘Big Brother Brillié … is timing you’, Clocks, March 2014) if they were sold with cases normally had a wider marble base (30cm compared with the 21cm for a normal Brillié) so the case could surround the dial. Figure 6 in my article is in fact of just such a clock and I include with this letter a photograph of the full clock. Sadly, I was unable to take it apart to photograph it as it was still at work in a church!  

The mechanisms of the big clock and the normal are exactly the same size (excluding the system for sounding bells or sirens in ‘Big Brother’) and are interchangeable. Only the base is different. 

Robert suspects the clock I described of being a marriage and I am inclined to agree with him. But it is interesting to speculate who would want to create such a marriage? Remember that this is a factory clock, not a valuable antique and the expense of the conversion would probably not be reflected in the value.

My best guess is that the factory had a simple Brillié driving several slaves and decided to upgrade it to sound a siren or bells, so they bought a new front half of a ‘Big Brother’ mechanism to fit onto the old back half. This might explain the amateurish collection of holes and terminals in the marble base, which would be completely unnecessary in the simple Brillié where the commands for all the slaves left the master on the same two wires.  I guess they might be an arrangement for ringing bells in different places with the new big clock.

Howard Bradley, France

© 1977 to 2014 Clocks Magazine & Splat Publishing Ltd