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18th Century Long Case Puzzle

wspohn

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I recently picked up a caddy top long case only about 74" high by Thomas Dicker of Silchester whose career in Silchester spanned 1736-1757.

It is a two handed 30 hour birdcage movement, but what is a little puzzling is that it has a correct 10" dial, engraved in the centre, with 4 divisions rather than 5. Best I can figure, the only thing that would fit all this would be either a maker using an earlier single hand dial on a later clock, or that it is originally a single hand clock with appropriate dial, that was later converted, possibly by the original maker, to add a wheel to run two hands.

Any thoughts on which is more likely? I haven't taken it apart yet to see if there is any marked difference between the workmanship on the minute dial and the rest of the movement.

P5150108_0117.JPG 00N0N_12w5O6JD0XS_600x450.jpg
 

zedric

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The minute hand is obviously newer than the rest, and from the dial layout you could well be right that this dial was originally for a one hander. People who know more will, I am sure, be along soon..
 

novicetimekeeper

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It is, indeed, a single handed dial, and the most likely reason for it having two hands is it has a different movement. However should be clear from additional pictures.

It may have been converted by a clockmaker, but they usually do a better job with the hands and adjust the dial. You need to get the movement off and look at the motion work for that bit.

Dicker was a prolific maker. He also used some very nice pendulums.
 

jmclaugh

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Quarter hour markers are quite common on two handed clocks 30 hour or 8 day but yes the lack of minute numbers indicate the dial was originally for a single handed clock. So either someone converted the movement to also use a minute hand or the movement isn't original to the dial. The split moon minute hand is not right regardless.
 

wspohn

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I figured that the minute hand was a later modification based on style. I thought that the hour hand could be contemporary, but would usually have had a tail on it, but of course that could have been removed at the time of conversion.

I'll have to get it apart to see how well the added wheel was done.

We don't see a lot of later (after c 1720) birdcage movements out here in the colonies, but I gather that they continued in lessening quantities even toward the end of the century. Dicker no doubt trained prior to his start date of 1736 - don't know how long an apprenticeship was, and whether that first date is based on documentary evidence or just on the earliest movement we have of his.

The only other birdcage clock I have was at least 20 years older and had the typical barley twist upper case work.

Thanks for the comments. The older the clock the more chance it has been meddled with at some point, and it becomes an interesting exercise in horologic archaeology to try and figure out what might have been done, by whom and when. I don't usually restore a 30 hour to running condition as I tend not to run them, but I still like to try and figure out what its early life had been.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Posted frame movements continued right the way through to white dial clocks, so they existed all the way through the development of gravity driven domestic clocks in the UK. An apprenticeship was usually seven years. You can download the apprentice records and see if you can trace his through those.

You should be able to tell if the movement is original to the dial.

I bought this one for the case, I eventually sold on the dial and movement but kept the weight and pendulum. The pendulum was particularly nicely made and is on the clock in our conservatory which is on a bracket so the pendulum is visible. The weight is one of the doorstops in the house.

Thomas Dicker, Silchester, 18th century 30 hour
 

novicetimekeeper

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I think Peter Hageman has a clock converted to two hands in a thread on here somewhere with pictures.
 

12lb weight

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This is my Jeremiah Hartley of Norwich , C1705, 30 hour P1010355.JPG P1010356.JPG P1010357.JPG P1010359.JPG post frame or birdcage which was converted to a two handed clock.
Maybe it will help, if you need more specific shots please let me know.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I don't think that is a Thomas Dicker pendulum, you need to take the hands off to remove the movement and look at the motion work and the dial feet to see what is original and what isn't. You may be able to show us the feet by removing the bell and taking a pic of the top and bottom of the movement to see the mounting.
 

novicetimekeeper

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This is a Dicker pendulum of a similar age, it is rather nice.

20200701_201233.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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Doing the best I can with your pictures I think that is a Dicker movement, but I would prefer better pictures. When you photograph a movement it is best to take the shots square on from each side, bottom, and top.
 

wspohn

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OK, I'll find time on the weekend to pull the front plate and get some pics. I may also be able to better compare the colour and quality of brass on the minute wheels to make an educated guess about whether they are a modification (likely) and if so whether contemporary or how much later. There is significant wear on the pinions and I am reluctant to incur serious restoration cost on a 30 hour movement that I am unlikely to run much in any case (too many other clocks to wind every week). Don't mind doing the Morbiers twice a week but others that need it more often get tedious.
 

jmclaugh

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Whatever floats your boat but if I can't be bothered to run a clock then it should go to someone who does which explains why I don't have too many clocks.
 

wspohn

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Whatever floats your boat but if I can't be bothered to run a clock then it should go to someone who does which explains why I don't have too many clocks.
To each his own. I own a couple of hundred watches - do you hold the same opinion in regard to them? I also have a half dozen sports cars, and only have time to use one or two every summer so have to rotate. Same issue?

Besides, I didn't say never - I just finished restoring a clock that I bought when I was a kid 40+ years ago. I just do not choose to wind and run all of my clocks all of the time and among the ones that aren't would constantly run are several single handed long case 30 hour clocks from the early 18th century. Nor would I run a 17th or 18th century lantern clock constantly. But I certainly would once in awhile, after it was mechanically capable.
 

jmclaugh

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I was just stating my point of view and I did say whatever floats your boat. I appreciate others' views are different and I have no issues with that at all.

p.s. what are the sports cars?
 

oldcat61

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I was just stating my point of view and I did say whatever floats your boat. I appreciate others' views are different and I have no issues with that at all.

p.s. what are the sports cars?
I'm curious also - what cars? I race a 1956 MGA & 1961 Jaguar MK2 Sue
 

wspohn

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Didn't realize I had fallen in among sports car nuts.

I have raced an MGA Twin Cam since 1973 - even built a one off 1950 cc version based on a 5 main MGB bottom end. I recently sold several cars when I moved - disposed of a Lamborghini Islero S, a Jensen CV8 I built with a sixpack big block Chrysler, an MGC that I made tricarb set up for (honest 130 mph top speed), and (a bit of an outlier from my usual British stuff) my daily driver 1988 Fiero GT that I had built a stroked turbo engine with 300 bhp for.

Still own the old MGA race car, a 1956 MGA converted in the late 1960s to a Fiberfab Jamaican body, and a decade ago by me to a Chev V6 driveline, a 2007 BMW Z4M coupe - probably the last M engine they will ever produce in naturally aspirated form - long stroke but still a 7900 rpm red line, a 1971 Jensen Interceptor (only mildly modified engine), a 1962 MGA coupe, and my current daily driver, a 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe with a 375 bhp 375 Tq 2.0 ecotec.(also modified).

I am trying to resist the thought of ever buying any more cars (but you can tell how that worked out with clocks!) If you re interested you can see the cars at
Car Pictures

PS - Jonathan, running all of my 30 hour clocks would drive me crazy - I have a row of American ogee wall clocks hung down a hall, and admittedly never wind them. Also a rather nice octagonal German 19th century wall clock with wooden movement and decoration that looks much the same as the brass inlaid Georgian drop dial regulators beside it. I do wind some of my 30 hour early single hand long cases (hung on brackets without cases, some of them) once in awhile just to admire that they still function as well as they do.

And I have a small collection of Lecoultre desk clocks that I do not use but am slowly restoring (down to the last two). Should have collected more back in the day as they seem to have attained prices that would cover an interesting long case today! But I wasn't collecting for value, just in admiration of the brand (I own several Lecoultre watches).

Just realized typing this that I do seem to collect far too many different things. Oh yes, and around 4,000 vinyl LPs.....
 

jmclaugh

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Thanks for the stuff on the cars and the pics and yes clocks aren't the only thing many on here have an interest in but I guess we try and stick to horology. I did once drive a 4.2 E Type Jag before i was old enough to and also once did a whole day driving all sorts from a single seater to off-roaders at PalmerSport, great fun.

p.s. I understand and appreciate why collectors with lots of clocks and indeed other things don't run them all. I only have one 30 hour clock in my house.
 

wspohn

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PS - going to have to get time out on the additional pics of this movement. Started to get into it (both hands obviously non-original) and found one taper pin that attaches the dial to the movement was broken off flush with the fitting so will drop it off at my clock guy.
 

oldcat61

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Didn't realize I had fallen in among sports car nuts.

I have raced an MGA Twin Cam since 1973 - even built a one off 1950 cc version based on a 5 main MGB bottom end. I recently sold several cars when I moved - disposed of a Lamborghini Islero S, a Jensen CV8 I built with a sixpack big block Chrysler, an MGC that I made tricarb set up for (honest 130 mph top speed), and (a bit of an outlier from my usual British stuff) my daily driver 1988 Fiero GT that I had built a stroked turbo engine with 300 bhp for.

Still own the old MGA race car, a 1956 MGA converted in the late 1960s to a Fiberfab Jamaican body, and a decade ago by me to a Chev V6 driveline, a 2007 BMW Z4M coupe - probably the last M engine they will ever produce in naturally aspirated form - long stroke but still a 7900 rpm red line, a 1971 Jensen Interceptor (only mildly modified engine), a 1962 MGA coupe, and my current daily driver, a 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe with a 375 bhp 375 Tq 2.0 ecotec.(also modified).

I am trying to resist the thought of ever buying any more cars (but you can tell how that worked out with clocks!) If you re interested you can see the cars at
Car Pictures

PS - Jonathan, running all of my 30 hour clocks would drive me crazy - I have a row of American ogee wall clocks hung down a hall, and admittedly never wind them. Also a rather nice octagonal German 19th century wall clock with wooden movement and decoration that looks much the same as the brass inlaid Georgian drop dial regulators beside it. I do wind some of my 30 hour early single hand long cases (hung on brackets without cases, some of them) once in awhile just to admire that they still function as well as they do.

And I have a small collection of Lecoultre desk clocks that I do not use but am slowly restoring (down to the last two). Should have collected more back in the day as they seem to have attained prices that would cover an interesting long case today! But I wasn't collecting for value, just in admiration of the brand (I own several Lecoultre watches).

Just realized typing this that I do seem to collect far too many different things. Oh yes, and around 4,000 vinyl LPs.....
I saw your last name & said it can't be the same guy! I remember your name from NAMGAR & MG racers. Back when we were both considered heretics for racing such "precious cars". I have found that racers are also often into model railroading. My husband & I have too many clocks & too much money in Brit junk. One photo of the MGA & then we will get back to clocks. Sue Salsburg

Jumpplain.jpg
 

Jim DuBois

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Interesting all of us that have car interests in addition to clocks. I have had a number of cars I miss to some degree. All were a lot of fun, never raced any of them but a lot of HP in a very light car is almost always fun!

70806137.9EMIIvI7.jpg IMG_0568.JPG 20141108_160817.jpg 18818596303_0_ALB.jpg
 

wspohn

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Sue - fancy seeing you here! The small but pure of heart MGA racers!

Jim - is that a replica 550? What engine. I once beat a 356 with 2.0 4 cam engine - he showed up at Portland and I just managed to beat him by running like I would in a normal (as opposed to vintage) race, and was very surprised to see that engine when I went over later. Late Carrera with discs, too. Wonder what that is worth today? A couple of Tompions?

We don't get Fiat Pandas on this side of the pond, but I do know about them if only from being an addicted watcher of Top Gear.

Back to the clock - going in today - may well get a complete service on it if the pinion wear isn't too bad. Will ask him to see if he can tell if the added front wheels are original, or at least contemporary, or if not when they might have been added. I'd like to find some period hands for the clock, but repros for 10" dials are acsarce and real ones taken from salvaged old clocks even more so. Picking up a 30 hour rope drive brass face (11") and a quite nice Georgian brass face movement that have been serviced, and a Lecoultre desk clock. Getting very hard to find competent clock/watchmakers today as all the old guys have retired or died and the young guys aren't interested in that business. The only remaining ones are a Croatian gentleman, a Vietnamese chap and a Japanes fellow about to retire that actually trained in the Seiko training school.

I have seen so many clocks that have been buggered about with at some point in their lives it gets depressing sometimes. Not as bad as the ones from people that figured they didn't need to pay a clock guy to service them because the had some 3-in-one oil and sprayed it all over the interior, making it a race between it stopping running at all due to coagulated oil or forming a grinding paste with dust to wear out the movement.
 

Jim DuBois

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wspohn; The 550 Spyder is indeed a replica. The engine was one I built, 2332 cc, everything including the case was custom. A lot of Formula 1 / NASCAR treatments of heads, crank, case, aluminum cylinders, etc. Dry sumped, dual Weber 48mm carbs, later done in FI, fairly sophisticated electronic ignition and engine control. Low compression (8.5:1) I was planning to turbo it but it developed a bit over 250 hp at rear wheels and traction could be difficult without the turbo. Not a drag car but 2 trips down the quarter-mile yielded 139 mph and 141 mph, both under 10 seconds. The aerodynamics of the stock body was horrible and dangerous. After one excursion at 145 mph where I discovered there was no steering as the front end had lifted mostly off the road, that was the last time it went over 80 with me driving it.

Regards the 4 cam 2 liter Carrera 356 engine, just the engine will bring $250K these days, not even certain they have to be running to bring that. In a true Speedster/Carrera in good to excellent condition, a couple have changed hands over $750K I think, maybe even more as I think just a plain proper Speedster has brought that. I stopped following both the Speedsters and Spyders several years ago after I sold off my last one.

Back to clocks!
 

novicetimekeeper

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Good luck with getting anyone to do much more than sympathise, set your alarms the Epsom Derby & Oaks are run tomorrow.
It's very cheap to run, though anything would be at the moment, it has hardly turned a wheel since the beginning of March.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Interesting all of us that have car interests in addition to clocks. I have had a number of cars I miss to some degree. All were a lot of fun, never raced any of them but a lot of HP in a very light car is almost always fun!

View attachment 598653 View attachment 598654 View attachment 598655 View attachment 598656
I recall being a passenger in a first year model bright red Miata convertible tooling around country roads in the vicinity of Amherst, NH at rather high rates of speed.

RM
 
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oldcat61

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Sue - fancy seeing you here! The small but pure of heart MGA racers!

Jim - is that a replica 550? What engine. I once beat a 356 with 2.0 4 cam engine - he showed up at Portland and I just managed to beat him by running like I would in a normal (as opposed to vintage) race, and was very surprised to see that engine when I went over later. Late Carrera with discs, too. Wonder what that is worth today? A couple of Tompions?

We don't get Fiat Pandas on this side of the pond, but I do know about them if only from being an addicted watcher of Top Gear.

Back to the clock - going in today - may well get a complete service on it if the pinion wear isn't too bad. Will ask him to see if he can tell if the added front wheels are original, or at least contemporary, or if not when they might have been added. I'd like to find some period hands for the clock, but repros for 10" dials are acsarce and real ones taken from salvaged old clocks even more so. Picking up a 30 hour rope drive brass face (11") and a quite nice Georgian brass face movement that have been serviced, and a Lecoultre desk clock. Getting very hard to find competent clock/watchmakers today as all the old guys have retired or died and the young guys aren't interested in that business. The only remaining ones are a Croatian gentleman, a Vietnamese chap and a Japanes fellow about to retire that actually trained in the Seiko training school.

I have seen so many clocks that have been buggered about with at some point in their lives it gets depressing sometimes. Not as bad as the ones from people that figured they didn't need to pay a clock guy to service them because the had some 3-in-one oil and sprayed it all over the interior, making it a race between it stopping running at all due to coagulated oil or forming a grinding paste with dust to wear out the movement.
Back to clocks: here are my two Scottish LCs. Both run well - John Key Dumbarton & Samuel Russel Selkirk

Full4Stephen 1.jpg RusselFull.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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I like the one on the right - more elegant. The one on the left looks later - maybe early 1800s?
Both brass dials with silvered chapter rings so very unlikely to be 19th century. They are Scottish so a bit harder for me to date but I think that still applies. Does the one on the left have a seconds subsidiary or is that decoration on the dial? It has the look of a 30 hour dial.
 

oldcat61

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The clock on the left has the more complicated case work. A fair amount is known about John Key, who was the guildmaster for Dumbarton & important in the local church. The Dumbarton Library supplied lots of info & a copy of his master's paper. The signature on his papers exactly matches his name on the dial. They know the whereabouts of 9 of his clocks. Probably 1775 to 1780 given his working dates. Not much about the Russell clock, just similar working dates.

NessieHood.jpg JohnKeyCartouche4Stephen.jpg RusselDial.jpg
 

wspohn

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A further comment on the dial and whether the clock is originally a single or two hander.

In Antique British Clocks, Brian Loomes states at p. 34 that on early two handed 30 hour clocks, the chapter ring showed four, not five divisions - in other words quarter hours not minutes, just as the single handed version had, and posits that for people used to the single hand clocks, having the quarter hours marked was more comfortable than minutes..

It would appear then that this may have been two handed clock rather than a modified single hander, and that the dial may well be original.
 

oldcat61

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Hi Bill. The Key clock is quite original. The case & dial match several of his known clocks, two of which are still in Dumbarton, in their same locations since new. The one in their Council Chambers is almost the twin to mine. I guess he had a favorite look & stuck with it. There were also at least one pagoda & one flat top but the dials are similar on them. His clocks, that I have photos of, all have the herringbone around the cartouche.

dial3.jpg DialDetail.jpg
 

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