Dutch Mission Tall Case Clock
It is extremely important to remember that there are always exceptions to every rule, and unfortunately, there are lots of exceptions. Each clockmaker was an individual; he may have followed general styles and tastes, but he invariably also exploited some of his own talents, individualism and preferences. We can also be reasonably confident that the clockmaker and cabinetmaker, who made the case, were not the same.
These were likely different tradesmen, right from the earliest times. Only the clockmaker signed the clock, and usually, just on the dial.
Most makers tended to follow the style of the day. But, from aboutthey increasingly ordered at least some of their parts, whether it be hands, spandrels, gut line etc, from a parts supplier.
Bymost clocks were assembled from bought-in parts, including complete bought-in movements which were available even in the late 18th century. The clock that I will use to explain the process is a mahogany cased veneeredbrass dial, musical longcase clock.
Most serious horological books will suggest that the name on the dial should be the last place to start dating a clock.
There are lots of forgeries on the market, many with names added later. The use of certain letters and characters also evolved as did the spelling of names and places. Several specialists suggest that there was no such thing as a fixed spelling.
Mar 16, · Dating a Grandfather Clock. The change was gradual and so the size of a clock can often date it within 50 years or the years from to when clocks stopped being produced. Clocks produced in the tended to be a bit more brash and large to their contemporaries in London so you need to adjust for that a bit in the date estimate (if the clock is from a norther maker). Only a few custom-built grandfather clocks were made after this date. Brass Dials If your grandfather clock has a brass dial, it was probably made in the period between and , and most likely between and Clock hands and dial features: minute hands were introduced to longcase clocks c. - matching minute and hour hands were introduced c. ; however, clocks were still produced with only hours hands up until around - seconds hands began to be commonly added to longcase clock dials in around
So identifying a clock just from its name can be difficult and needs careful study. What is very disturbing is that many, if not most, longcase clocks found today are marriages, or otherwise substantially modified.
Dating a grandfather clock
These clocks demand considerably less value than a clock where all of the parts started out life together, as just one original clock. When buying therefore, it is best to approach a reputable dealer, or to learn the identification process yourself. So where should we start? A suitable methodical process is to examine and date the case, the dial and the movement details, all separately. First we must identify the type and style of all of the components.
Dating a longcase clock. The plate pillars are of fairly standard form, except that they are tapered, suggesting a late 18th century design, figure 5, pillar 3. For a more detailed analyses of component designs and dates, refer for example to Brian Loomes’ book, Grandfather Clocks . How to Date Your Grandfather Clock. If your grandfather clock has a brass dial, it was probably made in the period between and The early brass dial clocks only had one hand, because the average person had no need of knowing the time to the nearest minute, and with a bit of practise you can tell the time to the nearest five minutes on one of these early (and rare) clocks. Dating the Antique Clock Dial Signatures on an antique clocks dial or movement can sometimes help to date a clock. Providing you can find the clock makers name and the date of activity listed in one of the many guides accessible to watch and clockmakers. However, a signature may refer to someone other than the clockmaker.
We must judge whether they are contemporary, whether they belong together, and whether they likely started life together as one clock. If all of the feasible date ranges for all of the components overlap, there is a good probability that you have an authentic clock, not a marriage.
Such a clock could be quite valuable. The date of a specific clock would usually be within the overlapping period, but generally toward the most modern or latest dating component or style, figure 2.
We must consider that the maker may have carried over older designs, parts or styles, or was just using up old stock. Since George Prior is such a well-known and respected maker, I will cheat a little: George Prior is recorded as a London maker, well known and distinguished, a supplier to the home, English market, and to the Turkish market. His clocks and watches are sought after and are held in high regard in many collections.
Prior was born in and died in according to Baillie. We can quickly determine the following. The case is mahogany. Mahogany was used increasingly from aboutand on the majority of clocks after about The dial is brass and arched.
Brass dials pre-dated longcase clocks, being used for lantern and table clocks of much earlier times. We do know that brass dials all but ceased in Victorian times, being replaced by painted dials in the late 18th century and beyond. Arch dials began about and continued as the preferred style through to current times.
The hands are non-matching steel. Matching hands started about the same time as the painted dial, in the early s. They were initially steel but migrated to brass, particularly for painted dials, by c Beforehands were non-matching and made of blued steel, figure 3.
The weights are brass cased and lead filled. Early weights were lead, better quality clocks had brass-cased weights after aboutbut diminishing over the next years in favour of the cheaper cast-iron weights.
Brass covered weights regained popularity in the late Victorian time to the present day. The movement is a heavy, good quality brass plated musical movement.
How to Date Your Grandfather Clock
These movements were popular from about to aboutthen again in the late Victorian period. Prior is recorded as often buying his movements.
This movement is unmarked but follows the lines of the last quarter of the 18th century. If we look at the wheels and arbors, we can see that the collets are extended and squared and the arbors have parallel sides, both consistent with a clock of the last quarter of the 18th century or later, figure 4. The plate pillars are of fairly standard form, except that they are tapered, suggesting a late 18th century design, figure 5, pillar 3.
The clock case has a carved swan-neck pediment. Swan necks increased in popularity from the mid 18th century to the present time.
London swan-neck cases are known, but they are very rare. Most London clocks of the time have arched or pagoda tops, figure 6. Swan necks are predominantly a provincial feature, although it is possible, but unlikely, that London makers custom made features such as the swan-neck pediment for a provincial customer.
The case is highly decorative with blind frets to the hood, trunk and canted corners to the trunk and base. We have fluted columns and carved rosettes to the swan neck.
This case is typical of the late 18th century. We know that London clocks tend to be plainer than provincial ones. This well-made case is of good quality and seems to be of the Lancashire style. So far so good.Dutch Mission Tall Case Clock
However, we do have a possible discrepancy. Prior was a London maker and the case suggests a Lancashire style.
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We need to look in more detail. The chapter ring is an applied, silvered brass ring, normal for this type of clock, but the features are of an earlier period. A few simple things that can point you in the right direction and at the correct period for your antique wall clock, advertising clock or bracket clock. Even the type of material used to construct your antique clock movement can help, or discovering when chimes were introduced and the type of chime used.
It provided a safe alternative to the hazardous use of mercury in gilding metals, which was banned c The first American patent issued for a calendar movement was in Up until then hand cast and finished brass movements were very expensive.
Adamantine celluloid veneer was patented in Belgian born scientist Dr.