16th Century Clock

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by DanJeffries, Apr 27, 2009.

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  1. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Dec 1, 2008
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    Hey Ya'll

    Just thought ya'll might like to see some pics of the clock I acquired about a year ago. I ran across the pics today and I will take some pics of how far I have taken it tonight.

    I believe it is from the late 16th century. It originally had a crown wheel escapement, possibly folio, but most likely a crown wheel with a long pendulum. In 1857 (date marked on the "new" pinwheel with the clockmakers name that made the repairs) it was updated to a pinwheel escapement for better accuracy. It came from a church in Nuremburg Germany most likely made by a local clockmaker or blacksmith for the town.
    It is a large clock with a chime main wheel diameter of 38 inches. Everyone that comes to our house loves this one in particular because it makes it very easy to see how a clock works.
    I have begun "restoring" a little, mainly got the clock functioning again and painted the wheels. I have yet to decided what color to paint the frame.
    I still have a lot of work to do on it. I do have a set of motion works that was probably an update as well. It came to me with a lot of rust but not surprising given it's age. The fly was froze up and it took a lot of patience to get it to turn loose. It has wedges holding the frame together, someone had added some extra support braces at some point as well.
    Enjoy and I will be posting more pics.
     

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  2. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    You have a very interesting clock. It is surprising how light the frame is for the huge gears. The internally geared count wheel looks very advanced to me. Are there similar examples of that design from the period?

    The 16th century (1501 to 1600) was a long time ago. Was there information from the town records about the clock that you could use to date it?
     
  3. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    Dan ,that clock looks huge!! And very cool!!! How big is it? Hey did you ever check out this site My-Time-Machines.net he has alot of cool tower clock's and maybe you find a color for your clock frame? I would put that in the middle of the family room and show off that clock.And more picture's please....
     
  4. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Dec 1, 2008
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    Hey there,

    All I have to date it is the church that the clock came from was built and finished in 1584. I finally tracked down the church that the clock came from and was able to email the caretaker. From what he had been told down through the years........the clock was updated a couple of times, so I would assume different escapements, etc. That is the reason why there are several "extra" holes in the frame. He did say that there was a long metal pendulum rod and bob that they kept after selling the clock. Thus I am assuming that the clock had a long pendulum with a crown wheel escapement rather than the folio type.
    Yeah I have seen a couple other tower clocks of this era and it is strange how thin the frames are, but once they are wedged together and sitting on some type of support they are just as solid as the newer tower clocks. It's looks are deceiving though, it weighs alot....
    As far as research I have been in contact with Mark Frank, who I believe is the American Guru of Euro tower clocks, and from what he could tell from photos and what I have researched it should be from the end of the 16th century and at the latest the early 17th. I would like to get a copy of the book Turmurhwerk I or II but have yet to find copies available. The only research that I have is I have a copy of C.F.C. Beeson's book on ancient English tower clocks 1280 to 1800 I think is the title. I have it put away now, so I would have to look. But he goes into great detail on countwheels striking etc. They internal countwheel is what dates it to the late 16th and early 17th century. If I remember correctly the external countwheel mounted on the end was going out about 1550-1600.
    The church replaced the clock in the early part of the 20th century with a more modern clock so it sat idle for many years.

    The sad thing is it must not have meant much to anyone, because there wasn't much documentation made on it, as far as maker, dates or anything. But I guess then it was just a "normal" thing, and of course the lack of historical emphasis in years past doesn't help with dating any tower clock.
    Anyhow, either way it is a very interesting clock to me and the best deal for the amount of clock for the money! It almost cost more to ship it here than I paid for the clock.
    Thanks for the interest and if you could shed more light on the subject that would be great!
    My goal is to one day use the crown wheel as the escapement again, but that is going to take a lot of research and engineering.
    Dan
     
  5. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Yes I know Mark Frank pretty well. He has an amazing collection. I have purchased several clocks from him in year past and he has helped me get a couple from Europe as well.
    I need to take measurement again of the clock but I'm just going to gestimate........ 5&1/2ft, in lenght, 4&1/2 ft wide, and 4ft or so High.
    It is very big and very heavy. When I picked up the clock at the cargo terminal, it weighted the truck down pretty darn good.
    Yeah I think I may just do the frame black. Most tower clocks of that era were black or just natural metal finish. I don't want to clean all those iron parts that much, so.... I think I'm going to go with black and leave the wheels green. I'm sure the green isn't original but that will make them pop out and that is what color they were painted last. Not sure where the orange color came into play:???::???:
    I will definitely keep this thread updated on its progress.
    Thanks
    Dan





     
  6. FDelGreco

    FDelGreco Registered User
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    Dan:

    I think I saw that clock -- wasn't it on eBay?

    If it is early 16th century (i.e., 1500s), it HAD to be a foliot escapement as the pendulum wasn't applied to clocks until the 1650s. The crown wheel, if not a replacement, would indicate late 17th century at the earliest.

    I have a copy of both Turmuhrwerke I and II, but they are written in German and extremely rare. I'll look through them to see if I can find a picture of a similar clock.

    Good luck in the restoration!

    Frank Del Greco
     
  7. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Thanks Frank,

    Yes it was on Ebay, and I originally bought it just because of it's shear size, but now, I'm of course wanting to find out a little more on it. It was kind of scary buying a tower clock on Ebay..... I have always dealt individually with the collector etc. The transaction went very smooth, and the clock was in better shape than was describe. It also had motion works (which were added to it at a later date) and several other parts that were not pictured.

    Yeah, dating this clock is pretty hard, because it has been modified I know several times. When I spoke with Mark Frank he also said that to find one of these clock in it's original state (folio, crownwheel, etc) would be extremely rare and it probably wouldn't be in the hands of a collector but in a museum. The dating that I'm using is just from word of mouth from the previous owner and the church it came from, and you know as well as I do, the stories get bigger and bigger the older the clock gets. I usually just tell people it is at least from the 1700's if not older.......either way that is old for a clock.

    Anyhow, it's a interesting clock and all our guest are anxious for me to get it more presentable......slowly but surely.
    Thanks for looking for a photo in the books and hopefully you can help me with the puzzle.....
    Thanks
    Dan
     

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