Amazing old banjo clock.

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Chris Radano, May 27, 2018.

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  1. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

    Feb 18, 2004
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    I like this old mahogany banjo clock. It looks mostly original, except for minor repairs...but overall in good condition. It was sold at an auction in Massachusetts, which is where the banjo clocks came from! I don't know who made it. The movement mounts with a large screw thought the backboard. I believe all the glasses are original. The photo of the bottom glass really makes the paint separation visible, but indoors it's not as noticeable. The dial is original. Right out of the package, I tried my hand at dial strengthening...for some reason I had trouble with the "X", but overall I'm glad I did it. I can't tell the weight baffle has been replaced, it's held in by square head nails. And the top finial is missing.

    I don't know much about banjo clocks, but I seem to collect clocks from this time period. It is an excellent smaller size for an 8 day weight driven wall clock. In the UK Norwich clocks were the contemporaries of banjo clocks, but they are larger and much heavier.

    Amazing old banjo clock 001.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 002.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 003.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 004.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 005.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 006.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 007.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 008.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 009.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 010.JPG
     
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  2. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    More photos.

    Amazing old banjo clock 011.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 012.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 013.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 014.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 015.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 016.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 017.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 018.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 019.JPG Amazing old banjo clock 020.JPG
     
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  3. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i used to not like banjo clocks.... that was then. :cool:
     
  4. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    Nice example. I'm still waiting to get my first banjo, I see them from time to time but they seem to fetch high prices. One of the few styles that still does.
     
  5. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    That's it? I know you've got more words than that...

    Tom
     
  6. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i’d like to think my reputation as a man of few words... oh... uhm... never mind! :cool:

    i now have three... an 1840s tifft, an early 20th century unidentified, and now my chelsea 3/4 banjo

    they very quickly get too ornate for me... at least at the bottom end... i have no problem w the higher priced ones. :cool:
     
  7. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    So I suppose this clock will remain unidentified?
    Here are some better photos of the glasses. They still look better in person, the gold just pops. The bottom glass was backed by a board, and bears dates ranging from 1890 to presumably 2006. Also looks like "movement has E.A.W. No. 58 scratched" was penciled on the board. The throat glass received similar treatment, but is backed with cardboard nailed in, so I assume that was done later. Probably helping preserve the glasses, and was done after some deterioration took place. Looks like I will leave them!
    I've seen a reproduction of this bottom glass design dated 1978. But this one looks original.
    The base can be moved by hand because it's a little loose. Looks like it was screwed onto the bottom board from the inside, and the bottom board has splintered a little bit. But not bad at all. I am surprised the only correct acorn finial I could find is in a faraway land, I thought they would be easy to find. Still looks like the right one.

    Banjo glass 001.JPG Banjo glass 002.JPG Banjo glass 003.JPG Banjo glass 004.JPG
     
  8. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #8 Chris Radano, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
    With some banjo clocks posted here recently, it occurred to me I never posted photos of the this one's completed case. The clock came out looking great.
    Although not identified, it's a straight clock in very good condition. I saw 2 others sold since last year, one within our County:
    Mahogany Banjo Clock on LiveAuctioneers
    So you see, one can purchase a good, older banjo clock affordably (mine was $275 hammer). I put an eagle finial on mine. Why? Because I always wanted a banjo clock with an eagle finial. And this is my only banjo clock.
    I did have Linda Abrams restore the glasses (which didn't need much). I took out the wood panels backing the glass and installed glasses with glued wood strips (more correct). Ironically, this clock was purchased from near Waltham, and I sent the glasses back up there to be restored. Then, another similar banjo clock to this was sold down here close to me a little later.
    Sorry about the bad lighting in the photos.

    banjo unknown 001.JPG banjo unknown 002.JPG banjo unknown 003.JPG banjo unknown 004.JPG banjo unknown 005.JPG
     
  9. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Came out nice!

    Linda does great work.

    The banjo clock design, which I recall was supposedly was meant to be a lower cost alternative to a tall case clock, is such a brilliant and enduring design.

    Now there are those who try to suggest it was basically a derivative one (Mssr's Husher and Welch). I don't agree.

    My personal wackadoodle theory? It, like the "light house" clock, incorporate Masonic symbols!

    Basic geometric shapes => The Sun or Celetial Orb on a column, compass (the throat) and the brick?

    Builder's%20Jewel%20-%20Langley%201746%20frontispiece%20compressed.jpg

    I think my theory especially stands up when considering the form of the light house clock. Baloney it's the Eddystone Lighthouse.

    1958_0590 overall.jpg

    Just my personal and some would consider fringe theory on the designs.

    Sorry about the hijack!

    RM
     
  10. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    Maybe it is Masonic. My theory is banjo clocks drew form from the same as longcase clocks, the same as lighthouse clocks...simple form from function. Only banjo clocks are most simply weight driven timepieces. An original American clock. So really, the essence of the banjo clock form is Willard's patented timepiece movement.

    By the way, when would be a date for this? I guess 1830-40, based on nothing but a gut. I have other clocks from the 1830s so maybe not pure conjecture.
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I think maybe somewhat earlier, 1820's-'30's...could be later?

    RM
     
  12. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    For me the banjo is the archetypal American clock as the style is unique. I just wish they'd been shipped over here in the same volume as ogees.
     
  13. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

    Mar 20, 2004
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    #13 Bruce Barnes, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
    I have two "banjo" clocks and I agree the less ornate and simpler accoutrement the better. I have one that is all mahogany (maker unknown), and one (Samuel Eaton) that has a complete backboard that is zinc/tin metal that is original and is held in place by a multitude of handmade nails and as I have posted before never seen this arrangement.
    Still lusting after one with an alarm.............
    Bruce

    banjo2.jpg banjo 3.jpg
     
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  14. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    One might also include the pillar & scroll clock. It’s another very much an American original (no, I don’t buy the assertion of some they came from the Schartzwald) that’s been popular with collectors for generations and is beautiful and enduring.

    RM
     
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