A Most Unusual Hall Clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by claussclocks, Nov 26, 2019.

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  1. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Last week I was contacted about setting up a "Hall clock " that was being shipped from Colorado. I was expecting a Howard Miller, Sligh, or possibly an English or German. What I found was quite a surprise.

    When I arrived they told me it was in 5 separate crates. The main one looked more like a sarcophagus. As the unpacking progressed I found quite a clock inside.
    It has an older style 9 tube Herschede movement and no one there could date the clock with any accuracy. I would place the movement at around the 1920's

    Thought some of you might like to see this 8'6" piece of work. A very beautiful clock.

    Crown piece.jpg Dial.jpg Full view.jpg In crate.jpg Left Side.jpg Movement Left view.jpg Base Only.jpg Carvings.jpg Movement Left close up.jpg Movement Right View.jpg
     
  2. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    That is most certainly a substantial clock! Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Blimey, that is indeed a substantial and very ornate case, style wise I'd say it looks earlier than the 1920s, late 19th or early 20th C.
     
  4. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    I don't know why, but the case worries me. It seems to fit the movement fine, but it reminds me of (relatively) modern cases made in Spain and Italy.

    I'm probably wrong and I can't really put my finger on why I feel that way, so hope I'm mistaken. I just don't know.

    JTD
     
  5. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    David,

    that movement is a Grand Rapids clock and mantle company product.

    the cabinet is amazing. If this were a Herschede, it would have a value well north of...well....a lot.

    I think the cabinet looks authentic and likely from around 1910 or a smidge later. The carving is too good (intricately detailed) for it to be modern.

    did the owner’s tell you it’s story? I would really love to hear it.
     
  6. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    #6 brian fisher, Nov 26, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
    I am looking at this on my cell phone at 4am so it is difficult to see a good wood grain pattern, but I would guess the cabinet is European walnut. probably carved in Italy or France thereabouts. If it was made in the USA, the craftsmen would have likely come from that region.

    Judging by what it would have cost to crate and ship in this manner, I would guess it’s present owners are rather affluent.
     
  7. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Heavily carved cases like this were popular with American specialty cabinet makers such as R. J. Horner and Tobey during the 1890-1910 time frame. They are far larger, more detailed, and substantial than any case being made today. The movement resembles an Elliott or J. Smith & Sons product. I am not aware of any domestic American Herschede movements with a hammer rack like your clock has, however there is not much archived material regarding Herschede's earliest movements.
     
  8. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Granted the Herschede was a guess. I wasn't able to get a lot of background, just that the owner of the company had had it a long time. Up close you can tell the wood is quite aged but there were things that I noticed. The tubes are not the type or quality you find in a Herschede. I didn't have a lot of time to examine the movement. The focus was on getting it setup and the crating out of the office foyer
     
  9. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    I did notice that the tubes seem to be brass color rather than nickel. It appears they might be open on top? Assuming these two notions are correct, I would say they are modern and not original to this clock. Most likely sleigh or Howard miller.

    it appears they are shinier than all the other metal too.
     
  10. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I agree about the tubes. They are very similar to the ones I find in Ridgeway tubulars with URGOS movements.

    Affluent is an understatement. You should have seen some of the art and statuary that was being unpacked around me, Brian.

    DPC
     
  11. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    I love that the chime hammers hang down from the rack… and allows them to be shorter and I imagine much more efficient. I would think that that’s a better design and i wonder why everyone didn’t do it like that... probably the extra case height required.

    perhaps since they’re affluent they can hire brian fisher as their in-home clock restorer.

    The case is a bit much (o_O) for my usual tastes but i do have tall ceilings... just mentioning.
     
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  12. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I also like the hammer assembly. A few of them have been repaired with the wrong type of steel and are cracking where the bend is. Also, some genius didn't replace the leather. They used pieces of plastic glued to the hammers. They sound terrible. I was going to repair them but the owner decided that since the clock stands in lobby of their business the clock striking every 15 minutes might be a distraction so he opted not to do those repairs at this time and turn off the chimes. We left the hour strike active so it chimes the hours only.
     
  13. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    If I ever have a valuable clock burned in a fire I think I will send the ashes to Brian. He can probably fix that. :D:D
     
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  14. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i was able to tweak the volume on my colonial/winterhalder 5-tube by adjusting the cords and pulls so the chime volume is actually softer than the strike... i now let it run all the time and you can barely hear it from other rooms.
     
  15. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    lol you guys.

    this design (where the hammers hang from the top) was a very early one. the reason newer examples have them coming up from the bottom is that once they strike the tube, it is most desirable for them to bounce out of the way so they don't interfere with the tube's resonance.
     
  16. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    not sure i agree about the hammer design. pull cords get adjusted so the hammers barely touch the tubes to allow maximin sustain when struck... with either approach. the hanging down method allows shorter metal straps which would mean (a little) less flopping around and more/easier control... but requires an additional few inches of case height.

    the hammers look a little larger... might also contribute to a nice sound.

    after a second look at the case i’m not so sure i would want to look at it all the time so much as get used to it. o_O
     
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  17. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    On the dial when it is enlarged, just above the 6, there is a plate that appears to have something written on it.

    Is it engraved or has someone hand written/scratched a name?
     
  18. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I meant to check that but by the time I finished setting it up I forgot. I will be going by next week just to check on the regulation and I will check that out.

    DPC
     
  19. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    yeah, i get where you are going with that. i asked my friend in the pnw that question and that was the answer i got. possibly it could have been a patent infringement issue. i would assume the grrcc's patent would have been filed around 1910 or earlier. my thought is that it would have expired by 1922 and everyone would have used that design if it were indeed better. especially someone like Jacques that continually innovated and updated their movements.
     
  20. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I went by to check regulation today so I photographed that plate above the six. All it says is "Westminster"
     
  21. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    I'm glad to see that most of the people who know about these things think the case is 'right', so I'm glad to be wrong in having had misgivings about it.

    It is indeed a very impressive clock, but not one that I would really want. However, it probably looks very splendid in the setting in which it has been placed.

    JTD
     
  22. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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  23. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    #23 claussclocks, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
    Very interesting. Thanks for the post. It appears the one I set up either has a different top or has been redone at some time. There is no evidence on the top of anything being removed unless the top was repaired some time ago. All of the wood is aged of of like construction with the case.

    One thing I noticed is the tubes are brass and of a smaller diameter than I expected. I believe they are replacements. If you look carefully at some of these other clocks the tubes are nickel plated and large diameter.
     
  24. igoanatol

    igoanatol Registered User

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    Can you show the original key to the rich clock?
    Thanks)
     
  25. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Older hall clock tubes were usually around 1 1/2 inches diameter and made from specialized bellmetal bronze, which was then plated in nickel. The tubes are capped to give a deeper, more resonant sound. Modern tubular bells do not seem to fit either specification and don't give the same type of sound.

    If you really want to improve the sound it may benefit to seek out a better set of tubes. The older tubes' configuration varied considerately in regards to how they were capped and how the bellmetal was formulated. Photos and high quality recordings of similar clocks may serve for guidance. Not advised is replacing each tube with a set of tuned whoopee cushions.
     
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  26. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I will be going up next week to check regulation again. I will take a picture then and send you a message as well as update this post. It is essentially a small skeleton type key though.
     
  27. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I agree that replacing the tubes would do wonders for the sound but the owner has placed this clock in the foyer of his offices and made the decision to only allow it to strike the hour since there are people working in that area and he feels the 15 minute chiming cycle might be disruptive. This negated several repairs I was planning to make to the chime assembly.
     
  28. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    It looks to me that the crest is missing. Otherwise, it is identical to the examples dick c linked.

    The thing I find the most interesting is that it appears every one of those clocks has a different movement brand. This one is a Grand Rapids, one had an Elliot, one appears to have a Herschede, and possibly one is an Elite.
     
  29. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I noticed that too. It appears someone was making this case and filling it with whatever they could acquire at the time.
     
  30. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    #30 brian fisher, Dec 4, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    i would really like to know who made these cabinets. unfortunately, the case maker for most big hall clocks remains an enigma to this day. unquestionably, Herschede made their own and so did Colonial. there were many other brands out there in from the early 1910's up until about 1930 or so. unfortunately, there is very little information available in regard to this aspect.

    my Jacques clocks have have stampings that look very much like those Herschede used during that era. certainly nothing definitive however.

    by the way....ralph and jeff have an antique set of nine JJ elliot tubes wrapped in a blanket just waiting to be installed in a project like this. a couple have cracks, but they would be a far cry better than the trash cans installed this this clock.
     
  31. Jeff Salmon

    Jeff Salmon Registered User
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    The movement is identical to mine, no markings on the movement, but the case is by G.R. Clock and Mantle Co." These movements are by Bauerle and are of fine quality. I wonder if the case has been refinshed. This is not a typical 'color' for the period. I would wonder if the case was not more recently made. Remember those "Horner" style carved grandfather clocks that were determined to be old movements with more recent, highly carved cases? There was one of those 'marriages' in my neighborhood that was sold for a lot of money by an 'antique dealer' (the case had a dark finish--sure looked original in a casual examination). When the owner took the clock to a restorer (in the SFO bay area, as I remember) the restorer informed the owner that the case was a reproduction. How do you spell "lawsuit"? The guy eventually got his money back. I was told, in a response to pictures of the clock in this website, by someone who testified at the hearing, that there were several of these cases made years ago, and they have been often sold as being by "Horner". The clock I am discussing also had a "G.R. Clock Co." plate on the dial. To my eye, based only on the pictures submitted, the finish looks too even, no bumps, or bruises.
     
  32. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    It would be interesting to see what might be on the back side of the "westminster" plaque above the 6
     
  33. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    these are some interesting comments jeff. i googled RJ Horner and this cabinet style came up....several times. i do agree that the color is odd, but i blew up david's photos and looked at the carvings closely. i don't see anything about them that would make me think it is reproduction. if i had the opportunity to lay my eyes on the inside of the cabinet, i could know with much greater certainty.... as to the cabinet being refinished, this is indeed a possibility also. the style of the day was very dark wood. i think most were mahogany. however, it does seem that this case may have been offered in a multitude of species. this one appears to be walnut judging by what little wood grain i can see in the pix. that variety lightens with age especially if it wasn't stained in a dark color.
     
  34. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    doing some more reading and i (surprisingly) found this:

    Recreation of Horner Brothers Clock

    I blew up david's third to last photo that shows a closeup of the lower door. this one is definitely oak.

    i wonder if someone would reproduce such a clock in that species? i would assume if one were to go to all the trouble, you would choose the wood with the highest resale value?
     
  35. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    I am going back Monday for a regulation check. I will attempt to take some better close-up pictures both inside and out. This clock is taking on a life of its own and it would be very interesting to learn all we can from it.

    DPC
     
  36. Jeff Salmon

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    At the time of my inquiry, I was wondering who could make such reproductions, and if it was even possible. If I remember correctly, after my original inquiry (several years ago) the member that replied to me indicated that there was a case that was probably sent overseas and then several copies were made. Most of these clocks seemed to be made in oak. Horner used a lot of oak for his 'renaissance revival' style carved furniture. They made tables, chairs, china cabinets, servers, all kinds in this style. The member who replied to me at the time was a little dismayed as he said that there were several of these clocks floating around the auction markets. Notice that the clock in your picture has the crest on the top, and many of these did. The clock shown by Claussclock does not have that. These are enormous clocks with or without the upper crest. Horner made furniture that was of the highest quality and undoubtedly very expensive. They probably imported the best movements like Elliott and Bauerle, and possibly used movements by Waltham. It would be interesting to find a known original clock and see what movement is in it. It is a little odd to me that, with Horner's reputation, that he did not put a name plate on the dial, "R. J. Horner", but the clocks we see today have other movement maker's names on them, or possibly the name of a retailer, like J. E. Caldwell, Bailey, Banks & Biddle, etc. Some original furniture as a paper label, other pieces have a small brass plaque. Even if the case is a more recent product, whoever made them, however they were made, is a remarkable thing.
     
  37. Jeff Salmon

    Jeff Salmon Registered User
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    Here is a picture of my movement. It has no indication of the maker. 7d1a2a65_571672-jpg.jpg
     
  38. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    this is why i really love this forum. there is a valuable lesson to be learned from all this.


    you did a nice job on your restoration jeff
     
  39. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    A Durfee acquired by one of our members today. Since there have been some discussions about oak cases on top-end tubular chime clocks, perhaps this one will generate some more thoughts?

    78254925_10221624639833578_6475182606294974464_o.jpg 74399579_10221624638833553_7720712092658958336_o.jpg 78778803_10221624638313540_973922965815033856_o.jpg 78645623_10221624641993632_385711792875110400_o.jpg 78854450_10221624644313690_2723005451733041152_o.jpg
     
  40. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    As requested by some I took closer pictures of the woodwork. One thing I noticed. The ones listed on the auction sites have ball feet. this has more modern glides underneath.

    DPC

    Side of hood.jpg Around door.jpg Back of door.jpg Base.jpg Body carvings close up.jpg Corner-1.jpg Crown piece.jpg Inside back.jpg
     
  41. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    the carving looks pretty good. the back panel looks good. the grain seems to be quarter sawn oak which is pretty hard to almost impossible to find in modern days. however, in the last photo, there is a vertical board to the right of the back panel that looks a bit funny to me. its possible that it could be secondary wood in the species of pine. it is also possible that its some chinese mystery wood.
     
  42. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    For those like me who wanted to know more about quarter sawn oak, here's a short interesting and informative video - disclaimer I have no association with the source.



    Tom
     
  43. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Odd, I didn't even hear it giggle when I was there. :p:p
     

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