Barber & Whitwell of York, 1815-22. An alarm clock with pull winding.

Chris Radano

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Feb 18, 2004
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The clock connection from across the pond brought me an alarm clock. One of the best clocks in my collection. No expense was spared to manufacture this pendulum timepiece of the finest quality. The movement plates are 1/8" thick. The pull knob is a 2 piece design in which each half is threaded and screws together. Even the bell has a resonance that continues for several seconds after being struck. This clock feels like a Rolls Royce to wind in your drowsy state, and to jar you into the conscious realm at your awakening. Fairly hefty as well, 7.5" dial and case standing at 16.25" H.

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WIngraham

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That is one classy alarm clock. It is beautifully maintained, someone obviously cared greatly for it. Very nice signature and dial. That is a keeper for sure.

Thank you for all the well lit and clear pics.

Will
 

Chris Radano

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This is the latest date for a pull wind I have seen that I remember. There were 19th c. alarm fusees, but key wound. So much for an alarm clock being a cheap commodity.
There is a listing for Barber and Whitwell in Loomes, so they were involved with clocks and watches to some extent. However an image search turned up silverware as the primary result. It appears they focused on the high end market.
I thought this teapot looked rather attractive and modern:

So this clock suits me fine. Time only so the wife is more accepting. I have striking clocks of course and a few quarter strikers. But many times ticking only is better suited for our house.
I realized I didn't have a close up of the alarm disc so here it is:

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novicetimekeeper

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If they were jewellers is there a name on the front plate?
 

Chris Radano

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I will revisit this. In the interest of time I did not remove the dial. I did not see anything on the front plate be peering behind the dial.
Also will oil the movement and see if it will run. And wax the case and dial. Looks like the case finish was rubbed down but I can't tell the extent of dial restoration. I suppose the black was refinished and to a fine standard. But the white sure looks original and crazed.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I think I did look but don't remember. I agree, the black prob refinished but the ground is either original or just given a wash coat.

You might want to refix the bit of loose veneer before tackling the case so it all looks the same, it is a handsome clock.
 

Chris Radano

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The loose piece of veneer was re glued within minutes after unpacking. It is invisible however the stain is a bit light in that area (under dial right of center).
 

Robert Gift

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Excellent, clear photos!
From where does thenergy to sound the bell originate? The string with knob winds an alarm spring?
Was glass on the back later added?

Thank you.
 

Chris Radano

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From where does thenergy to sound the bell originate? The string with knob winds an alarm spring?
Was glass on the back later added?
Yes, the thread pulls the spring. There is an alarm ratchet wheel (not pictured, on the same arbor as the thread and barreled spring- in front of the back plate) with a click. Then a lever connected from the alarm disc to the alarm spring barrel lifts upward to release the spring to sound the alarm.
The back glass should be original. It originally had back glass like most English bracket or table clocks. Unless this was replaced but I think it's original.
 
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Philip Snowden

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This is the latest date for a pull wind I have seen that I remember. There were 19th c. alarm fusees, but key wound. So much for an alarm clock being a cheap commodity.
There is a listing for Barber and Whitwell in Loomes, so they were involved with clocks and watches to some extent. However an image search turned up silverware as the primary result. It appears they focused on the high end market.
I thought this teapot looked rather attractive and modern:

So this clock suits me fine. Time only so the wife is more accepting. I have striking clocks of course and a few quarter strikers. But many times ticking only is better suited for our house.
I realized I didn't have a close up of the alarm disc so here it is:

View attachment 728274
Hi Chris did you see this when it was on ? 1850 to 70

E3EA2F9B-8060-490C-86C3-0B9AB06429A9.png EF71ED15-219D-4817-85A8-AD5B55237E60.png
 

Chris Radano

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Well of course I was wrong to say that was the latest pull wind.
Your clock looks probably 1850. I would have guessed 1840s. The hands are great. They look like they are based on Regency style, have seen similar on lancet bracket clocks.
That is nice to have an alarm set hand on a dial clock, instead of a center disc.
 
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Philip Snowden

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Sep 19, 2021
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Well of course I was wrong to say that was the latest pull wind.
Your clock looks probably 1850. I would have guessed 1840s. The hands are great. They look like they are based on Regency style, have seen similar on lancet bracket clocks.
That is nice to have an alarm set hand on a dial clock, instead of a center disc.
Yes Chris I like the regency Bracket and hands look to be the same so maybe it is earlier.The twine on mine is rotten but think I will leave it for the time being.Love your little clock Top quality maker and the white dial they certainly knew how to make great looking clocks. Mine has that toilet seat bezel which are not popular but it’s at least rosewood and not many of them around.Just looked up two Blurtons 1828 to 50 and 58 to 70 .
 
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NigelW

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This is why English clockmaking went into terminal decline at around that time. The French could make good clocks that worked well at a fraction of the price by using semi mass-production techniques. The relatively few English table and carriage clock that continued to be made were, of course, beautiful but hideously expensive.
 
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Chris Radano

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I am thankful this clock exists. I think it was probably custom made. If I want a common example there are plenty of those. In many ways, these clocks were made for us collectors. And they were made with quality to assure future generations will also be able to enjoy them.
 
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Betzel

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Very nice. Just curious if anyone know if the pendulum lock (for safe travel?) is original. Also wondering why there seem to be two escape wheels; I have to study the pictures a bit more, I guess ;-) Is the verge for the alarm?
 

Bernhard J.

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Yes, the verge is for the alarm.

I suppose that it was decided to fit a pendulum lock after the back plate had been engraved. So, it might be original, although mounted over the signature.

Cheers, Bernhard
 
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