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A bit shiny for me, but a good maker and my earliest yet, 1710-20?

novicetimekeeper

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Thomas Barrett was a respected maker in Lewes in Sussex. He took on an apprentice in 1710 called John Mercer who later worked in Hythe and made my 8 day. John made a lot of clocks to a high standard and became Mayor of Hythe a couple of times. Another of my clocks, by Obadiah Body of Battle uses the same engraver as Mercer, perhaps the same engraver as Mr Barrett though this being much earlier the style is different.

It has been a bit over restored and is now rather bling, but I got it for a fair price and it needs no further work. (just a century or two to recover)


Barrett1.jpg Barrett3.jpg Barrett2.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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Here is the John Mercer. Perhaps he did some work on the single hander while he was an apprentice. (presumably that's what apprentices did as they improved)

xyzzytom_269548 xyzzytom_269549
 
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gleber

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Hi Novice,

I don't have enough experience to provide any substantive comments, but I really like your posts about these clocks. The closest I have come to seeing one in person is at Merritt's, but the condition is no where as nice as yours. Thanks for posting these.

Tom
 

novicetimekeeper

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Hi Novice,

I don't have enough experience to provide any substantive comments, but I really like your posts about these clocks. The closest I have come to seeing one in person is at Merritt's, but the condition is no where as nice as yours. Thanks for posting these.

Tom
Thanks Tom,

I appreciate it is a bit of a minority interest but I really appreciate the opportunity to add pictures of them to a database that will outlive me and be available to others who want to research.

I think it is amazing that you can live with bits of machinery that are still doing what they were designed for nearly 300 years later.
 

gleber

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I think it is amazing that you can live with bits of machinery that are still doing what they were designed for nearly 300 years later.
I'm amazed they had the tools and skills to make a clock work at all 300 years ago, let alone have them still run today. They must have been the rocket scientists of their day.

Tom
 

novicetimekeeper

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I'm amazed they had the tools and skills to make a clock work at all 300 years ago, let alone have them still run today. They must have been the rocket scientists of their day.

Tom
They were metal smiths originally, blacksmiths and whitesmiths. Some would only make clocks when there wasn't any of their normal work available, when the farmers were not spending money. Thousands of individual makers up and down the country. Provincial makers are my passion , those from the first half of the 18th century, they were all individuals, particularly with the 30 hour clocks.
 

gleber

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They were metal smiths originally, blacksmiths and whitesmiths. Some would only make clocks when there wasn't any of their normal work available, when the farmers were not spending money. Thousands of individual makers up and down the country. Provincial makers are my passion , those from the first half of the 18th century, they were all individuals, particularly with the 30 hour clocks.
I guess they had a lot of time on their hands. ...sorry.

But still - I would think they would need pretty precise tools - I can't imagine cutting gears freehand (except wooden ones)?

Tom
 

novicetimekeeper

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I guess they had a lot of time on their hands. ...sorry.

But still - I would think they would need pretty precise tools - I can't imagine cutting gears freehand (except wooden ones)?

Tom
There were parts suppliers without a doubt, but those too would have been cottage industries in the early days.

You have to remember that we talk about early longcase but they weren't early clocks. Clocks have been made here for at least 700 years.
 

gmorse

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Hi Tom,

Wheel cutting engines which both divided and formed the teeth were a relatively late development, into the 18th century, but simpler machines which just divided a wheel were available much earlier, effectively sawing out the spaces between teeth. Once this was done, the tooth forms were filed by hand, and later there were filing jigs using specially shaped files running in guides to make the process more precise. Whichever methods were used, it was a laborious and highly skilled process. Pinion wire, formed by drawing steel wire through draw plates into the required pinion profiles, was available quite early in the Industrial Revolution, and made production easier.

With a simple dividing engine, the material used for the wheel didn't really matter, whether wood, iron, brass or whatever.

Regards,

Graham
 

gleber

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Thanks Graham,

I'll have to read up on that. It is fascinating to me. I still think it was the rocket science of their day compared to other technology.

And, I'm still amazed they could get clocks to run at all when this board is a testament to how many simple issues can stop even a modern a clock. I am sure they must have also had a lot of patience.

Tom
 

novicetimekeeper

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Thanks Graham,

I'll have to read up on that. It is fascinating to me. I still think it was the rocket science of their day compared to other technology.

And, I'm still amazed they could get clocks to run at all when this board is a testament to how many simple issues can stop even a modern a clock. I am sure they must have also had a lot of patience.

Tom
It was certainly expensive. I read somewhere that even a 30 hour clock cost the equivalent of two years pay for an average worker. This is top end stuff in the 17th and early 18th centuries, as you say cutting edge technology beyond the reach of the masses. It isn't until the first quarter of the 19th century that longcase clocks become affordable to the larger market and not long after that they start to fall out of favour.
 

novicetimekeeper

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This is now up and running in the conservatory. I need a sandbag to go underneath as it is a rope drive and it would be a shame to smash a tile if it broke. (looks in good condition)

I'm not so sure that the shiny brass is original as it is a bit thin and there are no hammer marks on the back but I'm not complaining as it was a good price and it looks pretty good in the conservatory. A great stopgap while I work on other clocks that might compete for the space.

The movement has pins instead of wedges to hold the cruciform flates in place, I've seen that in books but not had one like that before.

I'm very glad I went to collect it as I met a very nice gent who showed me the two clocks that remained from his once extensive collection. Both 17th century and absolutely stunning, a London longcase with maintaining power by a highly respected maker and a French transition Boulle.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I was looking at Darken and Hooper again for Dean this morning and I think that on revisiting this one I may have bought my first 17th century clock some time ago without realising it.

Thomas Barrett was born in 1665 and died in 1752. He was listed as the keeper of the town clock in 1690 and married in 1691.

I had always thought of this clock as about 1710 but when revisiting Darken & Hooper there is an identical dialplate and engraving for a Farnham clock of 1690. The style of engraving of the name matches too.

I've seen a lot of early 30 hours since I bought this and I'm much hap;pier with the thin dialplate now, the pins instead of wedges are listed as an early feature in D&H too.
 

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