Monday, August 14, 2017

An Amazing Visit - 11 New Clocks!

I'm not even sure exactly how to start this post, or what details I should include or omit, but: long story short, my good friend Jim (from Texas), whom I've known for years now, decided that he would be driving down near-enough to me to make a detour and come visit. This trip had been mentioned numerous times over the past several months (maybe since April? I can't remember), and a bunch of planning and scheduling went into it. All I knew was that he was going to bring down a "whole bunch of stuff" for me. Jim has (in the past) mailed me several items (clock books, tools, and the occasional clock), and I've always been very excited and grateful for them. Some of the tools he's sent me, like the Swiss files, are ones I use almost every day.

Jim repairs clocks, specializes in wheel-cutting, has bought and sold many clocks. I believe he makes at least two big clock-related trips across the US every year (visiting friends, seeing other collectors, and stopping by clock shows). The most recent one was in Syracuse New York (3 hours south-east of me) on August 4th. I believe he said that on this particular trip, they covered over 4500 miles, and made numerous stops across the US (as well as myself in Canada).

Anyhow, I was pretty excited to see what Jim would bring down, but I was also told not to get my hopes up too high. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn't really ask him any questions. There were only 3 clocks that I knew he was bringing me, because we had discussed them before hand (the pillar and scroll, the 8 Day Jerome 2-door ogee, and the Marshall & Adams). Some of these clocks had been dropped off (donated) at his shop last summer and most of them need a whole bunch of work done on them (the kind of work I do all the time).

Jim's visit was on August 5th. He arrived with his good friend George, and I gave them the tour of the house and my collection. It was nice to spend some time with other clock collectors (I have only met a few), and also meet a friend whom I've (so far) only known over the internet.

Note: Jim was the one who made the custom mirror-clock movement for my reproduction New Hampshire mirror clock:

Without further ado, here are the goodies he dropped off. These next several photos were taken just after the visit, and before I really looked at the clocks and unpacked the boxes:

Since there's so much to see (and too many photos and details to share for each of them), I've limited this post to ONE photo per clock. When I work on them as individual restoration projects, I'll share the other photos and details that go with them (labels, movements, dials, etc).

This first clock was a bit of a mystery for about a week. It has a Sperry lyre movement (fancy plate 8 day weight movement), but the case has a Forestville Manfg. Co. label. I could not find any matching Forestville clocks (with swivel hinges, and with this particular movement). After 5 days of research, I removed the gong base, and discovered that the Forestville label is an OVERPASTE on top of a Sperry & Shaw label. This made so much more sense. The current dial is beautiful, but it does not fit (hand shaft and winding squares aren't aligned). The mahogany on this clock is absolutely stunning. It has a sort of rich, buttery, smooth finish, and wonderful patina. All it needs is a few veneer patches, and a wax polish (and a dial, pendulum bob, key, dust covers, etc).

This 8 Day ogee might be one of the worst in the lot (condition-wise), but I was actually really looking forward to working on it. I have a pretty serious love of ogee clocks, and I don't yet own a 2-door example. This one is a Chauncey Jerome 8 Day. The centre bar between the doors is missing, it needs veneer repairs to the case, and the doors are both in terrible shape, but it's all fixable. Another funny note on this clock is that the bottom board is so rounded that the case rocks back and forth like a rocking chair (see paper wedges in the photo). This is definitely not something you want on an already fairly tipsy weight driven clock.

This is a petty rare Wadsworth, Lounsbury & Turners pillar and scroll clock. I've wanted a pillar and scroll clock for probably over 10 years now, and I came close a few times to buying one in similar condition for a few hundred dollars. This one looks like it's in pretty rough shape, but it should clean-up fairly well, and I might even be able to save some of the original finish on it. It will obviously need an entirely new top and base, several minor case repairs, and some sensitive refinishing. I don't plan to do anything with the tablet. It's obviously damaged, but you can still see what it's supposed to be, and it *is* almost 200 years old by this point (1820s). The dial, sadly, doesn't fit the movement, however, I have a 95% flaked-off dial plate in my spare parts that does fit, and I may try to do a repaint on it. The spare dial that I have can always be swapped out later.

Also fairly rare is this transitional wooden works clock by Elisha Hotchkiss. It has a lovely original tablet, original finish, and a nice label. The unfortunate back story on this one is that the entire backboard was marked-up with pencil lines and drilled full of holes (15 holes!) The original dial was also completely butchered and thrown away. The entire dial centre (with all the numerals) had been cut away. All of this for fitting this clock with a kitchen clock movement. This doesn't really affect the case too much, but it will always be permanently scarred with all the holes (even if I fill them). Fortunately the movement and dial will hide the holes, so normally none of them would be visible. All it needs is a few veneer patches, and a movement, dial, and parts (hands, weights, key, etc), and those can just be popped into it at any time. The trouble will be to find the correct short-drop movement. I believe Jim said that this clock was out of George's collection.

This next one is a really beautiful Sperry & Shaw 8 day column clock. I really like this one. It has the original dial (and special hands), fancy lyre movement, and original tablet. The dial glass is also original. It just needs veneer patches, holes filled, and touch-ups (and weights and a bob). The label on this one is in mint condition. The case has the original finish. I think once this one is done it will be one of the highlights of my collection. Everything about it is great!

Another really amazing clock is this C. & L. C. Ives triple decker. This one dates to around 1835, I believe. This is now the largest and tallest shelf clock in my collection (37.5" tall). It has a beautiful strap brass Ives movement with roller pinions, and the circle-cut-out wheels with square teeth. It will need a bell, weights, and a few small case repairs (bone escutcheon, a few small veneer chips, side returns on the top, etc.) The centre glass will probably be a reverse painting (or less likely a mirror), but I'll need to find a very thin piece of antique glass to fit the old grooves.

This one is a Marshall & Adams (Seneca Falls New York), wooden works shelf clock. This is (so far) the only clock I have with carved columns. This one is also in pretty good shape, but it will need a lot of parts for it (it is just an empty case). There are just 3 or 4 veneer chips, and the whole case is loose, but otherwise I won't need to do very much on this one. The key in the door is one of my spares. This one should have an antique mirror in the base. It's hard to gauge the size from this photo, but this is a very large clock. 32" tall, 21" wide at the crown.

This is yet another beautiful column clock. This one is by Jerome & Co. (New Haven). 8 Day, rosewood veneered, with gilt column tops and bases (I believe they were regilded since I found loose flakes of gold leaf in the case). The finish seems to have been stripped off this one (pretty well, too), so I will just need to do veneer patches, and add a few coats of shellac to it. It should have a pair of "decal type" tablets, so I'm not exactly sure what I'll do for them yet. The label in this one is also mint. There is just one small tear near the top, but aside from that it's pretty crisp and white considering the age (around 1870).

This one is a bit sad. It's an early (and really nice) Waterbury beehive case in crotch mahogany veneer, but the back board has had a huge rectangular hole cut into it. Jim bought this clock just for the glass tablet, which I've since transferred to the Brewster & Ingrahams clock (which was missing its original cut glass tablet). I will likely see if I can re-convert this one, but it will probably be a bit of a Frankenstein, and it won't be very high on my to-do list.

A lovely E & A Ingraham gallery clock. This one had been painted with gold paint, and Jim stripped it. A lot of the original gold leaf (80-90%?) is missing. I may try to re-gild it (sympathetically), and try to keep a bit of the wear and tear. It just needs a key (which I have in my spare parts) and I may try to match the hands. Either replace the hour hand to match the minute hand, or vice versa.

This is the saddest one in the lot. It's a large size Brewster & Ingraham gallery clock. The gesso finish over the wood frame is badly damaged in places, and the dial is pretty toast. And speaking of toast, there is also what looks like a candle burn-mark through part of the edge in one spot. This one will likely get a complete restoration. Dial repaint, case rebuilt (puttied/patched/repainted), full refinish, etc. It has all the parts except the hands and a key.

Jim also included some boxes of parts and movements. Some rare and interesting ones (like the Acorn Lyre Forestville movement, and the Lenderman banjo movement). The wooden works is actually a Boardman & Wells, which is what I needed for my clock in the living room (which just had a placeholder movement in it for the past 5-10 years). There are also blank ogee dials under the painted antique one on the left.

So there we are. I was absolutely blown-away by all this. My expectations were far lower, but these are largely all really nice mid 1800s clocks in pretty decent condition. I've already started repairing 5 of them, so expect more posts soon.

1 comment:

  1. JC, very glad you are enjoying the various clocks. Great write up and great detail! We sort of figured they were much more likely to return to their former glory at your place than at mine. I was sorely tempted to restore the pillar and scroll myself as it sort of spoke to me but evidently I needed it to shout at me.....