Any opinions on this tall case?

JerDuBois

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I recently picked up this clock at an antique store for small money (the one on the right, not my Frankenstein project on the left). It has obviously had a hard life, as the case is a quite beat up, the weights are in bad shape and mismatched, and the movement wasn't working when I got it. Somebody had been in there trying to fix it, but had badly failed. With a disassembly and cleaning, resoldering some bad repairs to the strike mechanism parts, and then adjusting the crutch wire, I've got it working well enough. The case still has plenty of issues, but after stripping the gold spray paint off the finials it's not embarrassing any longer.

But my curiosity is the "D.Wood" signed dial. My obvious thought was David Wood of Newburyport, MA. But I could only find one dial of his signed "D. Wood" as opposed to "David Wood", and nothing in this bold a typeface or without "Newburyport" on the dial. The case also seems cruder than any of his clock cases that I've seen. I didn't buy it based on the signature, but I certainly am curious.

Any thoughts?

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JTD

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To me the signature looks like a later addition - particularly style of the the W. But I am not an expert on American clocks, so I may well be wrong.

JTD
 

Chris Radano

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With all the crazing of the dial, looks like the chapter ring and all the increments are brand new. Is it a repaint?
I would expect it to look more like this banjo dial.
Oops, the banjo dal pic is AFTER yours truly did touch ups.
Amazing old banjo clock 009.JPG
 

JerDuBois

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Could well be a repaint, and they could have added the signature for "extra value". I'm not sure it worked. If faked, I hope it didn't work on somebody before me.
 

Ralph

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Nice score Jim. Tin can weights and wood stick pendulum rod..... nice. Did you find it local?

Is it an old signature? The clock is photogenic. It looks good.

Cheers, Ralph
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I recently picked up this clock at an antique store for small money (the one on the right, not my Frankenstein project on the left). It has obviously had a hard life, as the case is a quite beat up, the weights are in bad shape and mismatched, and the movement wasn't working when I got it. Somebody had been in there trying to fix it, but had badly failed. With a disassembly and cleaning, resoldering some bad repairs to the strike mechanism parts, and then adjusting the crutch wire, I've got it working well enough. The case still has plenty of issues, but after stripping the gold spray paint off the finials it's not embarrassing any longer.

But my curiosity is the "D.Wood" signed dial. My obvious thought was David Wood of Newburyport, MA. But I could only find one dial of his signed "D. Wood" as opposed to "David Wood", and nothing in this bold a typeface or without "Newburyport" on the dial. The case also seems cruder than any of his clock cases that I've seen. I didn't buy it based on the signature, but I certainly am curious.

Any thoughts?

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Nice clock for a few hundred dollars. Put a few LED's on it and you're all set.

I would compare the movement to other known David Wood clocks. Steven Petrucelli and John D have pix of the movements of DW tall case clocks.

RE: the signature. A very cursory perusal including "Old-town and the Waterside" by Benes reveals that almost all of his dials are signed with the full name.

HOWEVER, John Delaney shows a shelf clock on his web site (G-d forbid that I link to it) signed in block letters "D.WOOD".

Furthermore, when I really expand the pix of the dial, I believe that I may see the shadow of the original faded signature under the later and, no offense, somewhat heavy handed reblacking of the signature. If so, that would suggest it is original. Take a real close look. Also use a UV light to examine the signature. May reveal a bit more.

There has been at least some reblacking of the numerals and inpainting in areas, e.g., at the dial feet. Otherwise, I actually think it's a pretty decent dial.

IMCO, the calendar dial is a repaint.

The other clock. That Frankenclock? Say what you will, but it's the classiest cup holder I ever did see!

RM
 

bruce linde

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JerDuBois

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Nice clock for a few hundred dollars. Put a few LED's on it and you're all set.
The LEDs are on back order.

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 said:
HOWEVER, John Delaney shows a shelf clock on his web site (G-d forbid that I link to it) signed in block letters "D.WOOD".
It occurred to me to go by his place and get his opinion, but he's given me the "really?" look before from my bottom feeding behavior :chuckling:

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 said:
The other clock. That Frankenclock? Say what you will, but it's the classiest cup holder I ever did see!
Lol, I keep getting up there on a ladder with my coffee and only one of us comes back down again.

Thanks for the commentary on the dial, I appreciate the input.
 

bruce linde

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just a thought, but you could go with your actual first name instead of first initial. :)
 

JerDuBois

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I did a little more exploring, and found "Wilson Birm" on the back of the calendar dial, which led me to James Wilson of Birmingham. Then Googling other James Wilson dials makes me pretty sure he painted mine (see known reference on left, my dial on right). Numbers and dial layout are a pretty good match, and the flour artwork looks reasonable similar.

So... unless David Wood was using English dials very early on (as Wood and Wilson only barely overlap in their active working periods), I'm going to have to conclude that somebody added the D.Wood at some point.

wilsondial.png
 

JTD

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I'm going to have to conclude that somebody added the D.Wood at some point.
I believe they did. In my opinion, the style of the script, particularly the capital W, is not consistent with the supposed timeframe.

JTD
 

Jim DuBois

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Well, you have a period American tall clock that appears to be mostly "right." I would not dismiss the signature as being wrong, we just haven't proven it to be right. And we may not. But the case, the movement, the overall style, is similar to other Wood clocks. It is not as fancy as some, and it lacks inlay, but not all clockmakers delivered finished clocks. Sometimes it was just a movement and dial and weights, etc. Often a local cabinet maker/joiner would make a case to fit the movement. And as a result of that cases tend to differ.
 
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JerDuBois

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Fair points, Jim. I've seen about a half dozen or so David Wood tall case clocks, mostly at Delaney's but also a few in private homes, and this clock is definitely an outlier if anything.

But I'm fairly confident I've found the dial painter. I know early American clock makers very often used English movements, but did they use English dials too? I haven't ever read anything saying they did, but neither have I read anything saying they didn't.

Too confusing... I'm going to go work on my Frankenclock, as I know that's a big mess of a marriage because I'm the one who is mix and matching parts. But considering I found the case with a Seth Thomas school house movement and dial in it, I'm sure I'm at least improving the situation!
 

Jim DuBois

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But I'm fairly confident I've found the dial painter. I know early American clock makers very often used English movements, but did they use English dials too? I haven't ever read anything saying they did, but neither have I read anything saying they didn't.
Many American clocks have English dials. Even some of the big guys. Dials painted in American tend to be the exception rather than the rule.
 

JerDuBois

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Interesting, that's good to know. My two other American tall case clocks are both American dial painters (John Minott and William Jones) so I guess I just assumed.
 

Jim DuBois

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Curtis and Nolan dials are also American and highly valued. Nice you have two American painted dials already
 

JerDuBois

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Hey, what do you know. I was just reading the latest Bulletin and there's an article about a PA clock that has a... James Wilson dial! Nicely apropos.
 

JerDuBois

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Showed a picture of my clock to Robert Cheney, the curator at the Willard House museum this afternoon. He thought it looked pretty consistent with a David Wood clock and suspected it could be real and have a bad signature repaint.

So now I'm convinced, it definitely maybe could possibly be a David Wood clock, or not.
 
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