Aaron Willard Jr. Striking Banjo Clock weights

David D'Apice

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Good evening. I was so excited to take this Willard Banjo home. It is wonderful in every way --- with the exception that someone lost the original weights long ago and replaced them with home-made lead ones that are pretty ugly. This is a striker. I'm really concerned that the weights that are in the clock are WAY TOO HEAVY for it -- and worried that it will wear the movement, which is a mean thing to do to such a wonderful clock. Does anyone know the proper weight and shape for weights for these strikers? I have a Willard alarm, but the weight is a standard banjo weight for the movement, and a little wafer weight for the alarm. This clock seems to need to very similar weights -- but I can't find any information about them. Perhaps there aren't a lot of them around. Any advice would be appreciated. I'm also hoping that someone will know where the tablet scene is -- I'm guessing it's Boston Harbor or Charlestown. Really neat!

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novicetimekeeper

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That's an impressive beast and the picture is wonderful. That steep hill must be a clue. You can work out what weight a clock needs by rigging up a spring balance that gets extended as the weight drops, when the clock stops you deduct one from the other to get the minimum required.
 

Jim DuBois

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I suspect your lead weights may be necessary in your clock. They may not be original but I suspect they are required. The T&S Willard or Willard style banjos I have owned or restored have all had lead weights. And while every clock may be a bit different most banjos need about 7 pounds to run properly. The strike side of your clock MAY require a bit less, but only a bit. None of the ones I have seen have had anything other than lead weights, none of them have been pretty. They are not seen by the clock owner, so looks are not all that important. A photo of those you have might allow a more precise evaluation but generally only lead will meet the density necessary to fit the space available and still provide enough weight to power the clock.
 

Joeydeluxed

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Very nice clock! I believe that bottom painting is a view of an area called "Rose Wharf" in Boston.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Do you mean Rowe's wharf? It doesn't look like that today, I have embarked from there.
 

David D'Apice

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Wow --- I know Rowe's wharf well --- and never would have thought of that -- I'll look for some historic reference -- wherever it was, there were some pretty impressive mansion homes there with curved top walls, etc. Thanks for all the information --- as for the weights -- here are the ones I have. They seem to be newly made. attachment.jpg
 

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Jim DuBois

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I can see why you don't like them. I suspect you are very correct about them being very recent. Those could be made to look a lot more proper by someone who knows what they should look like and is willing to apply some effort. The modern screw in hooks sort of complete the picture don't they? If the clock was here I would first verify the weights are sufficient to drive the time and strike for at least 7 days, and they don't bind up in the throat at the top of the wind. They may be too long to allow the 1 week run, perhaps not. Test it out and that will answer the question(s). Making the weights look proper and fitting them to your case is perhaps a bit outside the scope of this thread. I have made a lot of weights, for a lot of clocks, and at least 1 or 2 were for T&S banjos, so I know at least enough to be dangerous, in this particular area. If you were down the street we could resolve the situation in short order. Not so easily done 2000 miles apart.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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John Rowes was an 18th century Boston merchant (and some say smuggler). Also traded slaves. Apparently it was his tea that was served up at the Boston Tea Party.

Here's some info about him from Wikepedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rowe_(merchant)

Boston had an active harbor. Many wharves. Not to be confused with Worfs:

220px-WorfTNG.jpg

I did find a later drawing of the Boston waterfront which included Rowes Wharf:

1899_IndiaWharf_LongWharf_Boston_map_byAEDowns_BPL.png

Tried to do a quick search for a period painting or print. No luck. Virtually all of the images I could find in a cursory search are of the modern building and hotel.

Hard to tell if and what is pictured on your clock. Would suspect it is a Boston waterfront scene. I believe that a print would have been the source copied by the artist. Sometimes they were identified on the reverse painting. Unfortunately, not in this instance. It is also true that the image could be generic or a pastiche.

With more research, you may be able to pin down the actual scene.

RM
 
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Ralph

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There is a Zacheus Gates banjo extant, that I believe referred to the scene as Boston Harbor...

Ralph
 

David D'Apice

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I can't thank everyone for all this great information --- I've continued to dig -- I found a Lemuel Curtis Girandole in the collection of Old Sturbridge Village --- and the Zacheus Gates Banjo as well -- both had the same glass (or pretty close) -- amazing --- none identifying exactly where it is, but it's getting really interesting. Here are the photos from the books I had. Someone was a really talented artist! As for the weights - I'm going to set up a test stand and start with 7 pounds -- then work my way from there. We'll see how it goes.
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Ralph

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The Z Gates clock was on an auction catalog cover years ago. I have it somewhere. I think it was a Sothebys catalog. It may have identified the scene.

The Gates banjo might also be in the book Horology Americana.... if my memory is not failing me.

Lee Davis may have told me what the scene is.??

Ralph
 

PatH

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Search Adams Brown Burleigh's Curtis Girandole. Looks to be a similar scene and is identified.
 

Andy Dervan

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Dave,

I have unsigned T&S banjo; the weights are probably old or original. I remember putting the clock together many years ago when I purchased, but I have not touched it since then.

The time weight appears to be typical timepiece weight, but strike weight is much thinner similar to internal time & alarm banjo clock.

Andy Dervan
 

David D'Apice

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Andy -- I have seen the small weights for alarm - I have one myself -- but not sure whether the thinner one will drive the strike mechanism.

Ralph and Novice - thanks for the information -- I'll do some more digging - it's getting interesting. I'll report back whether I can find something. You guys are such a help - and so willing to share your knowledge, which I appreciate immensly.
 

PatH

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I think I have seen engravings periodically on that online auction site. Not sure if there are any listings right now, but if you're diligent, you'll likely find something. Happy hunting!
 

Ralph

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The Z Gates banjo is in fact in the Horology Americana book. page 68. Whew... memory ok.

Ralph
 

Ralph

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I found the 1983 Sotheby's catalog that has a picture of the Z Gates clock on it's cover. Alas, it does not say anymore in the description other then a scene of Boston Harbor.
300806.jpg

Ralph
 

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novicetimekeeper

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Rowes wharf really does look different today with the big arch and modern buildings, however one thing hasn't changed, you can still see sailing ships there. The Stad Amsterdam berths there most years and this year the Europa will return there.
 

JDCKent

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Very nice Willard timepiece of the striker variety there, David! Love those wonderful original old Boston Harbor/Rowes Wharf tablets.
 

JDCKent

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I really wonder if the glasses in this clock are the work of John Ritto Penniman. I know he favored geometric lines, and have read before that he featured many other architectural scenes in his glass work. This is Penniman's Burning of Boston's Exchange Coffee House from 1818:
21ni8wo.jpg
 

David D'Apice

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Thanks Ralph --- that's some digging -- I'm still digging myself --- got views of Rowes Wharf and Chatman Street, seen a few close calls, but nothing with the curvy brick walls. I remember this clock in the book -- it's gorgeous too!

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I really wonder if the glasses in this clock are the work of John Ritto Penniman. I know he favored geometric lines, and have read before that he featured many other architectural scenes in his glass work. This is Penniman's Burning of Boston's Exchange Coffee House from 1818:
21ni8wo.jpg
JDC --- you may be onto something! ---

Wow -- I've never seen that before
 

JDCKent

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If you compare your clock tablets to the manner in which the "Coffee Exchange" was painted, the vantage point with off-center placement of the street and buildings (taller structure in more of a direct view), similar color palate, the year of 1818, coupled with the well-known fact that Penniman was painting so many of these timepiece tablets for Aaron Jr. and other makers in Boston and other cities (e.g. Curtis in Concord), I think it is more than likely that the examples in your clock are also by his hand.
 

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