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dougm
01-13-2006, 06:03 AM
I'm hoping someone here can help me. I've been trying for a couple of months to identify a clock. I think it is french, it seems to be gold plated and the base is what I would call plaster. It measures 22 inches tall and sits on a 3 inch base piece, 20 inches wide and 9 inches deep.

And it looks like this...

http://www.greenplanet3.org/goldclock.jpg

dougm
01-13-2006, 06:03 AM
I'm hoping someone here can help me. I've been trying for a couple of months to identify a clock. I think it is french, it seems to be gold plated and the base is what I would call plaster. It measures 22 inches tall and sits on a 3 inch base piece, 20 inches wide and 9 inches deep.

And it looks like this...

http://mb.nawcc.org/

LaBounty
01-13-2006, 06:18 AM
Hi Doug-

Welcome to the Message Board!

On the surface, your clock appears French but a picture of the movement would be the best way to ID it. Also, look for any stamps, numbers, or words on the movement and let us know what you see. Sometimes you will find a medallion stamped on the movement hidden under the bell which contains information on the maker.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

dougm
01-17-2006, 02:41 AM
On a quick look through the back hole I see the bottom half of an oval that says PARIS and below it the number 165. At the bottom of the back plate, on each side of the pin that seems to hold the back plate on, is the number 8 on the left side of the pin and a 1 on the right side.

I don't see any other obvious markings. Is this enough to help? I appreciate the help.

Mike Phelan
01-17-2006, 03:09 AM
Originally posted by dougm:
On a quick look through the back hole I see the bottom half of an oval that says PARIS and below it the number 165. At the bottom of the back plate, on each side of the pin that seems to hold the back plate on, is the number 8 on the left side of the pin and a 1 on the right side.

I don't see any other obvious markings. Is this enough to help? I appreciate the help.
It certainly is French, then! :smile: A pic of the movement should nail the age down a bit, or any "Medaille d'argent" or "Medaille d'or" awards.

dougm
01-17-2006, 03:46 AM
Here's a photo of the works. To find out any more I would have to remove them from the case.
http://www.greenplanet3.org/goldclockworks.jpg

I don't know anything about the awards or where I would look to determine if it has any. Can you educate me a bit?

Sooth
01-17-2006, 01:08 PM
If the clock had any medals, it would be stamped with a little round embossed mark saying something like: "Medaille de bronze" then the name of the company.

Your clock has a large oval mark (clearly identifying that it was made in Paris) but half of it is missing. Someone else will be able to identify it, and possibly even provide you with a full image of what the whole stamp would have said.

You definitely have a very high quality french clock. It looks like it is in *desperate* need of cleaning.

LaBounty
01-17-2006, 01:23 PM
Hey Doug-

Great picture! Unfortunately, the maker's mark is a bit too undefined to be made out. I do see some lettering above the "Paris" but it isn't legible.

Your French clock is fairly old since it has a silk thread suspension which wasn't used much past 1870. And the "8,1" on the bottom of the movement is the pendulum length in Pouce, Ligne. The other number, 165, is a serial number that should match a number on the pendulum bob.

Anyway, a closer look at the stamp may give more information, even if you can just make out a couple of letters.

And as Sooth mentions, your movement really needs attention :smile:. The oil dripping off of the hammer is a dead give-a-way.

Ansomnia
01-17-2006, 02:03 PM
Do you think maybe someone has been trigger-happy with WD-40 spray?


Michael

LaBounty
01-17-2006, 03:14 PM
Could be the lighting, but it doesn't look green enough to be WD-40. It looks more like it was dipped in oil and gotten to run that way..."dip and run".

dougm
01-18-2006, 06:28 AM
Sorry, Phil but your nose is over achieving on this one. It seems to be an odorless light machine oil (too much of it) not WD40. I, too, know that smell all to well.

And, for what it's worth...it is sluggish...so whatever it is is either not working or has made matter worse.

Does anyone have any comment about the use of MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) for cleaning the works?

Before I ventured into the works I wanted to determine what I had and get an insurance appraisal. It's hard to talk to anyone about the above it all you can say is "It's a clock and it's gold". :smile:

Thank for all the help. I'll see if I can peek inside with a mirror and get any other markings/photos of said markings.

Richard T.
01-18-2006, 08:18 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Does anyone have any comment about the use of MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) for cleaning the works? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't think you should use MEK to clean anything without the proper safety equipment. <span class="ev_code_RED">It is a hazardous chemical</span>. You should use a clock cleaning solution, either with or without ammonia.

Regards,

Richard T.

Missy
01-18-2006, 08:31 AM
Dougm, have you tried a pencil rubbing over the mark on the mvt.? Also, a strong light and a magnifier. If you could see even a few letters, it may help identify maker.

Are there any marks on the metal case?

A very pretty clock,

Missy

dougm
01-24-2006, 12:39 AM
Hi again.

I've not had a lot of time to really get in there a nd study it but a quick wipe with an oily rag shows a few more letters in the oval. The letters that I can make out are from a word that runs through the middle of the oval and ends in "LLE". There are a few marks in front of these that are also letters but I will have to use more "drastic" methods to make them visible.

There is also a top line that runs with the upper line of the oval that has a few marks at the left and right that might be able to be read but for now all I can see is a possible "V" at the right.

My question about the MEK was whether there would be any adverse affect on the clock. I've been safely using it and many other nasty chemicals for years but thanks, anyway, for the warning. (Better safe than sorry.)

I think I will put it on the workbench this weekend and remove the works from the case and see if I can find anything that will help identify it. I suppose I could always acid etch the stamp to make it visible, just like doing serial numbers on cars and guns. (ok, did I get a good reaction to that one????) &lt;grin&gt;

dougm
01-25-2006, 01:35 PM
Well, I had some time on my hands (sorry about that) and I pulled the works out for a close up exam.

After much studying and examining with different polarized light sources and magnifiers I have been able to make out many of the letters in the oval but not all.

So, we know that the bottom line is "PARIS"

The top line starts with "ET", has 3 or 4 missing letters and ends in "MENT".

The middle line is "HMOLLE". This was a fun one because the H has preceding swoop that I thought was a scratch.

After working some 30 minutes on "HMOLLE" and as I was about to call it a night I decided to use a high power light and look through the rest of the works. Didn't find anything there but I did happen to notice a hand written HMOLLE on the back of the clock face and the number 165.(which matches the works number)

So, does that help anyone in helping me identify what I have here?

Again, thanks in advance. I know how to fix them and enjoy them but I don't know anything about the differences and the who-done-its.

Doug

Missy
01-25-2006, 02:35 PM
Doug, could that H be a B? I have found mention of a B. Molle, Paris. I saw a statue clock by him and they said 1900. I also saw a clock similar to yours made by a Maucuy A., Paris. It had the Greek key and acorns in the design. It makes you wonder if clock makers used the same caster for the cases. I gather from your last post there were no marks under the case. I will keep looking. I love to chase after these mystery clocks.

Missy

ged
01-26-2006, 01:08 AM
Hello All, Looks to have no bezel and glass, in my opinion this points to the clock should be under a glass dome. All the French Clocks I have owned with no bezel have been under domes. This also makes sense with these Ornate Cases,imagine the dust and the impossible cleaning job for the wife. Regards, Ged.

dougm
01-26-2006, 08:33 AM
Missy, I've been able to find references to other clocks by H Molle and the handwriting on the back of the clock face is definately an H.

This is almost as interesting as it is frustrating. It started out as a simple identification for my homeowners insurance.

I spent some time browsing the world and have not found anything quite like this.

I have been told that it was made during the Louis XV era but in the style of the Louis XIV era and that the gold plating was done by mercury immersion, that I am told was outlawed by Louis XV. I can't prove or disprove any of it at the present time.

ged, there is a bezel on the front and a hinged door on the back that is missing a bezel or backplate. . . and as you can see it is a dusty mess. . . and the insides are dirty, too.

So, I know it's big, it's gold, it's french, it's old, it has markings of H. Molle but I still don't know what it is. (yes, I know, it's a clock. ha ha.)

Mike Phelan
01-26-2006, 06:32 PM
Originally posted by dougm:
Missy, I've been able to find references to other clocks by H Molle and the handwriting on the back of the clock face is definately an H.

This is almost as interesting as it is frustrating. It started out as a simple identification for my homeowners insurance.

I spent some time browsing the world and have not found anything quite like this.

I have been told that it was made during the Louis XV era but in the style of the Louis XIV era and that the gold plating was done by mercury immersion, that I am told was outlawed by Louis XV. I can't prove or disprove any of it at the present time.

ged, there is a bezel on the front and a hinged door on the back that is missing a bezel or backplate. . . and as you can see it is a dusty mess. . . and the insides are dirty, too.

So, I know it's big, it's gold, it's french, it's old, it has markings of H. Molle but I still don't know what it is. (yes, I know, it's a clock. ha ha.)
Doug - I don't quite understand what you are asking here, or am I just being thick? It seems as though you have found the maker and age? :confused:

dougm
01-27-2006, 01:16 AM
Sorry, Maybe because of my ignorance of clocks but...

I just "assumed" that there would be a name or model for this type of clock. I know grandfather, grandmother, regulator, mantle, anniversary and a few other clocks types/names. But what is this thing called. I'm trying to tell the insurance company, for the policy, what it is. I 'm trying to do better than it is a "Big, gold plated, french clock made by H Molle"?

They also will want to know, as I will, what it's value is. Maybe I'm assuming wrong again, but I figured I should know what it is before I try to find someone to tell me what it worth. I had a Salvador Dali painting that an "appraiser" told me was worth about $600 that turned out to be worth many times that when I took it to an appraiser that knew Dalis. I "assume" it's the same with clocks. Do I find someone that knows H.Molle clocks?

I really appreciate all the help and I know a lot more about it than when I started but, and maybe I'm the thick one, I don't feel I know what I have yet. I have been getting quite an education. :smile: I'm know that the pendulum suspension is a silk thread and I think I found on another web page that it might be called an ebauche movement. I found reference to a Vincenti clock that had the silk thread suspension but I don't know if Vincenti is a maker or a type of clock. Although it is quite large I would call this a mantle clock..but it would be quite a mantle to hold it.

Sooth
01-27-2006, 03:10 AM
Well, quite plainly, it's known as a "large French gilt mantle clock", or something similar to that. It's pretty much just a mantle clock as far as classification goes. Some had domes, but yours did not, otherwise there would not have been a back door. You didn't show a photo, but the doors are usually made like a 'rose window' (gothic motif cut into the brass) and would have had a silk type cloth inside. This was so you could hear the bell, but block-out the dust.

Your clock is pre-1870, but not old enough to be Louis XV. Louis XV clocks would have been a different style, and not made the same way. Your clock is more than likely spelter (or "pot metal", like mine) and then painted or gilt with gold overtop. The older clocks were made with real gold leaf, using a dangerous mercury porocess called "fire gilding" (which caused the gilders to only live to be like... 25? or so).

Hope this helps.

Mike Phelan
01-27-2006, 05:47 AM
Originally posted by dougm:
Sorry, Maybe because of my ignorance of clocks but...

I just "assumed" that there would be a name or model for this type of clock. I know grandfather, grandmother, regulator, mantle, anniversary and a few other clocks types/names. But what is this thing called. I'm trying to tell the insurance company, for the policy, what it is. I 'm trying to do better than it is a "Big, gold plated, french clock made by H Molle"?

They also will want to know, as I will, what it's value is. Maybe I'm assuming wrong again, but I figured I should know what it is before I try to find someone to tell me what it worth. I had a Salvador Dali painting that an "appraiser" told me was worth about $600 that turned out to be worth many times that when I took it to an appraiser that knew Dalis. I "assume" it's the same with clocks. Do I find someone that knows H.Molle clocks?

I really appreciate all the help and I know a lot more about it than when I started but, and maybe I'm the thick one, I don't feel I know what I have yet. I have been getting quite an education. :smile: I'm know that the pendulum suspension is a silk thread and I think I found on another web page that it might be called an ebauche movement. I found reference to a Vincenti clock that had the silk thread suspension but I don't know if Vincenti is a maker or a type of clock. Although it is quite large I would call this a mantle clock..but it would be quite a mantle to hold it.
Ah - the light dawns! There are no models as such at this time, as there was not really any mass production - I think the best you can call it is a ca 18xx French gilt striking clock by H Molle.

The term ebauche means unfinished movement - most Swiss watches were such, as were many (and probably this) French clocks. The person who put their name on it and cased it put the final finish on the movement.

I would not, for its size, call it a mantel (or even a mantle* :wink:) clock. I suppose you could call it a table clock, but many of these terms are just ones that were invented and fairly meaningless - 'grandfather' was so-called from a 19th c song!
We do not do valuations here - IMHO this cannot be done by anyone without actually seeing and handling a clock.

*Mantel = mantelshelf
Mantle = thing you throw over your shoulder or set light to! :biggrin:

dougm
01-27-2006, 08:23 AM
Sooth, Mike and all,
Thank you very much for the info, especially for putting it all together for me in terms I understand.

I figured I would have to take the clock to someone for a valuation. I wasn't asking nor would I thought it possible to do from pictures. (I also read the "rules" when I registered.) :biggrin:

I think I will forge ahead now and see if I can find someone in the area (Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin, USA) that can help me put a price on it.

I case anyone got the wrong idea. I think the clock is really nice, maybe a bit overstated, and I plan on cleaning it up. It just happened that the insurance agent was re-evaluating my policy and when he saw the clock sitting there he immediately wanted to add $$$$$ to my premium. I didn't pay much for it so I hadn't thought much of it. So to make him happy I said that I would find out. Little did I know the fun I would have. :biggrin:

Oh, and I think I will call it a table clock because I can spell table correctly. :biggrin:
(Huked on fonix reely wurkz fur me!) Sorry about that.

Thanks again.
Doug