2012-09-19 19.30.46

Tired original speedo face?

Do something about it!

This is just a quickie… I received an extremely original 1938 Smiths Chronometric Speedometer from Pud, that had been completely mechanically serviced and reconditioned in 1999 and never used since then. The tripo- and odometer wheels had not been touched cosmetically, as was the case with the actual face of the instrument. The colour of the numbers on the wheels had darkened to an almost too dark (for my taste) orange-yellow for the most part and the dial itself was also rather nicely aged. The only problem was that, since it had been serviced, it had probably been face-down in a box, for the last 13 years!! Not a problem as such, of course, but in this case, it did have detrimental results:

If you know anything about, or have ever looked inside a Chronometric instrument, you will probably remember that behind the metal plate of the face, between it ant the pillars that the screws go into, there is a sort of paper ‘gasket’, I assume to dampen out vibration and reduce the chance of the screws loosening or some such reason (I’m only guessing). Unfortunately, over the years, lubricant had saturated this paper and it had seeped through the screw-holes and into the paint finish of the face, making it a) glossy and b) non-stick, so that the very least of disturbances caused it to separate from the face-plate, as shown on the top photo. Such a shame, but it was already flaking and had to come off, despite it’s very original and rather quaint appearance. So clean it I must and find some way of re-conditioning it, without it looking like something I bought new from ‘Her Majesty’s Chicken Patch’* in India last week…

The solution?? These were originally screen printed on brass, so this is the way forward, but first I need a good copy of the original: A high-resolution scan comes to the rescue and some very painstaking ‘tracing’ in Adobe Illustrator give me the results I am looking for (after nearly eight hours solid, all up!), print it out on Matt Photo Paper, after toning down the white of the letters and numbers a bit and…voila! The template is complete, mount it where it should go (in the instrument, silly!) and check for ‘authenticity’.

2012-09-20 06.16.27

Doesn’t actually look bad at all, and so I can give the vector-graphic data on a stick to my friendly silk-screen-printer to make a film and then a screen from (for the white only, as the black will be sprayed on and the yellow applied afterwards over the (off-)white. The finish and look of the instrument will be absolutely as original and only a tad fresher (coz it ain’t actually seventy-year-old-paint), so not too many raised eyebrows, I hope…

Though it took a few hours to draw, I feel that the result is at least passable and certainly worth it!

Editor’s note: * ‘Royal Enfield’

© peter gouws 2012

Made on a mac