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  1. #1

    Default What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks?

    What period, or style within a particular period, were solid brass weights originally installed in 19th century tall clocks. I really like old solid brass weights, and I'd like to put a set in my clock....so long as it "fits."

  2. #2

    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks?

    I don't think solid brass weights were ever used in 19th century longcase, certainly not over here anyway.

    Brass cased lead weights were used in the 17th century and early 18th century particularly in London, then lead and then with the relative mass production of painted dial clocks a switch to cast iron


    Edit: Brass weights would be 30% bigger for the same weight, and brass was still very expensive in the 19th century, lead would have been very cheap still.
    Last edited by novicetimekeeper; 04-15-2017 at 06:04 PM.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks? (By: novicetimekeeper)

    By the way, one of my clocks came with the weights pictured below. It's entirely possible they aren't original, and maybe they aren't even solid brass--maybe just beat up cases (it's kind of hard to tell). But I like them.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks?

    Those are brass cased weights, and it's very unlikely the clock started out with them if it is English.

    Those square door pillars are unusual too.

    If this is English it has a style of post 1830, 100 years later or more than brass cased weights on most longcase.

    Edit If you look at London clocks from the late 17th century/early 18th century they had lenticles in the doors, so you could see the pendulum and weights glinting in the candle light.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks? (By: novicetimekeeper)

    So is it possible these brass cased weights are 17th or early 18th century? And I assume the clock they came in is English. Here's some more pics of it.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks? (By: PaulWeber)

    I'm not familar with clocks of this age so their cases are a bit of a mystery to me, I recognise that square hood pillars are unusual but I wouldn't be able to date the case not suggest a location.

    The weights, well I don't think they are a pair, all the pairs I've seen are very similar in appearance, you have to look quite close to work out which is time and which is strike. They don't look like the really good early London ones.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  7. #7
    Registered user. jmclaugh's Avatar
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    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks? (By: novicetimekeeper)

    As Nick has said the answer to the question for British longcase clocks is there is no period when brass weights were typically in use though some clocks weren't fitted with them which would have been at extra cost though the weights in this clock aren't a pair anyway. The case is a nice quality well made one and the dial is an attractive one, in terms of UK longcases it belongs to the last style which is in the period 1830-70.
    Jonathan.

  8. #8
    Registered User Jim DuBois's Avatar
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    Default Re: What period were brass weights used in 19th century tall clocks? (By: jmclaugh)

    Original "brass weights" in period clocks are lead filled brass shells. Brass was a very expensive commodity back when, still is as I noted when buying some recently. As others have stated in this thread brass shelled weights are not common. It was an additional cost to the maker and ultimately to the customer that didn't show in most tall clocks. That said, some of the more formal English clocks had them, and others noted above, that seemed more of a London area trait than elsewhere. As times changed and tall clocks were superseded by hall clocks with glass fronts and sides brass shelled weights became a requirement. It is uncommon to see brass shelled weights in tall clocks made prior to about 1880 on this side of the pond. It should be noted it was common to use brass weights in regulator clocks, jewelers regulators, and the like much earlier, as they could be seen in these clocks and if seen, they needed to be "pretty".

    Paul, I would guess your clock originally had cast iron weights, given its style and when/where it was made. 40 or 50 years ago importers of antique clocks in this country might well have several hundred clock cases, clock movements, and stacks of weights and pendulums. Very few of them were kept together. The common approach to buying clocks from these folks was to select a case you liked, go find an insert (movement and dial) you like, see if it fit the case semi correctly. If it did, you would then go to the weight stack and select a pair of weights, then find a pendulum you liked and go pay for the clock and go.....

    I remember finding a Thomas Tompion insert in the stack one day at Mudd's Antiques in Columbus IN about 1975. The price on brass dialed clocks was "your choice $180". But Mudd when seeing the Tompion I selected said "oh no, that one is $750". Sadly, I didn't have $750. The major point of this story is a lot of mixing and matching happened over here, I have been told it was much the same in England and on the continent also. So having inserts that don't quite fit, or weights that aren't quite what we expect, and accessories that may be questionable, all happened thanks to bad habits over time. By the way Mudd had over 5000 clocks at one time that I am aware of....so this was not a small mixing bowl. Other exporters and importers behaved the same and also dealt in large quantities of products. "All original?" A hard claim to prove, often incorrect.... and Paul, there is nothing about the clock you picture that suggest is is not the correct insert in the correct case. Only your weights would seem questionable IMO.

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