Barnes, Bartholomew and Co. Triple Decker

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by George Nelson, Mar 17, 2017.

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  1. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hello, Clock-lovers!

    Forgive the length of this posting, but I am SO excited! :excited:

    I can't believe my wonderful luck! I was happily driving to the grocery store when I came across a just-opening yard sale. I stopped, of course, but not seeing anything interesting, I casually asked if there were any clocks for sale. The middle aged woman who was setting everything up perked up considerably at my question.

    She said she had one in the basement that was too ugly to put in the house. She said it had been in the family since it was new, "sometime in the 1920s, I think..." She hadn't planned on dragging it out of the basement, but said I could go and look at it if I didn't mind dark basements. I was more than happy to go see it, and when I did, I couldn't believe my eyes! There, in the farthest corner of a rather dark little storage room, sat my beautiful "new" clock.

    Telling her it was much older than the 1920s, I timidly asked what she wanted for it. She seemed really embarrassed and said "Could you give $25? I don't know if or how it works." Shocked, I didn't answer right away, and she then said "How about twenty?"

    Finding my voice, I told her that I was a clock collector, and that the clock was worth much more than she was asking. (I never want to take advantage of anybody, and was prepared to offer her as much as I could afford, but even that would not have been a fair value.) She laughed, and said that all she wanted was the $20, as she hated it and would be thrilled to be rid of it. She told me that it had been in her family for forever, nobody liked it enough to display it in their homes, and it had spent almost all of its time in basements or attics for as long as she could remember.

    We talked back and forth, with me again telling her it was more valuable than she realized, but when she learned it was not worth $10,000 or anything like that, she refused to take any more than the original asking price of $25.

    Needless to say, I whipped out my wallet, and pressed $85 into her hand, all of the cash I had at the time. She promptly returned three twenties. I couldn't believe it! Returning the extra bills, she warned me that my wife would be really mad at my purchase, and most likely would not let me bring it into the house. I just laughed- my wife is wonderful, and tolerates my ten thousand clocks most graciously.

    Completely forgetting about the needed groceries, I loaded up the clock, weights, pendulum bob, door key and winding crank into the car and drove home at 90 miles an hour. I couldn't wait to get home to see all about my "gift", and I really could not believe that all of the accessories that are so often lost were still with it in a plastic bag. Wow!

    Anyway, I located a shelf in the attic, installed it on the wall, and went to work. Removing the wooden face, I oiled the pivots and gave the movement a good once-over. It is a bit dirty and needs a good cleaning, but everything seemed to be in good order. I timidly wound it for the first time in what must surely be sixty years or more, fearing a broken weight cord or worse, the horrible sound of stripping gears. Thankfully, all went well during the procedure and the heavy weights held nicely. I gently gave the seemingly original pendulum bob a gentle push, and I began hearing that wonderful, soft ticking sound that we all love so dearly. By gosh, the old girl was working, and was even in perfect beat!

    Still a bit cautious and uncertain while embracing my good fortune, I moved the minute hand to four o'clock, and the softest, most melodious sound came from within. The ancient gong was a shockingly pleasant- deep, resonate, slow and even and without a trace of sympathetic vibration from any internal parts! Marvelous!

    As you can see in the pictures, my newest family member is an eight day, Barnes, Bartholomew and Company clock, with a nice brass strap movement and beautiful carved eagle on top. Everything seems original, and the old girl seems to have been well taken care of, considering that nobody seemed to have wanted her. I did see that at sometime in the past, someone cared enough for it to be sure it was passed down in the family, as the back of the dial has the following written on it: "Litchburg June 11, 1911. This clock at my death is to be the property of Emma T Holl--------h and Walter W Da-----n. (I've not given complete names so as to insure privacy, although Emma and Walter are likely long since passed.)

    I find it a bit unusual that the clock was intended to go to two different people, apparantly not a married couple. Perhaps they were engaged at the time?

    Thanks for reading my lengthy story, but I just had to share with everyone. As I get to know her, I'm sure I'll have questions, which I'll be sure to post here. I'd love to hear of any similar "good luck" stories from my fellow collectors. Has anyone else stumbled upon a great bargain out there?

    Best to all,

    George Nelson, one very happy clock collector
     

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  2. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    That's a wonderful clock at a great price.

    Enjoy!

    RM
     
  3. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Wow, that is really unbelievable bargain! :clap: (and one of the few times you'll find a seller bargaining AGAINST you;))
    I had never realized of those glazed windows for showing the movement, but, to be honest, if I know a little bit on american clocks, that little bit is devoted just to woodworks!:whistle:

    Congrats!:coolsign:

    Aitor
     
  4. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    #4 George Nelson, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    RM, Aitor, and All-

    Thanks so much for the kind words. I am really excited about this find. Just as a clarification, the little piece in the face is a piece of sliding tin, not actually glazed. I should have specified that in my description-sorry about that. It does look like a mirror in the pictures...

    Now, I do have a few questions as my research about this clock begins:

    1. Almost all of the clocks I have looked at with a carved eagle show it facing left. Mine is facing right. Is there any historical reason or perspective for that?

    2. One of the books from Kenneth D Roberts, either the Eli Terry volume or the one on Joseph Ives, mentions that the coiled "bell" was patented in 1838, yet the Spittler and Bailey book, American Clocks Volume Three, says that Barnes, Bartholomew and Co. concern was in business from 1833-1836. My clock has an unmolested iron based coiled gong, apparently original, as there are no other mounting holes under the base. What is the explanation for this contradiction? Is this an example of the use of a pre-patent coiled bell or gong?

    3. My clock has brass cables for the weights. Should I change this out to something a little less abrasive? Is there any way that brass cables could have originally been used?

    With the solution to those three questions, I'll be a very happy man!

    Thanks to all,

    George Nelson
     
  5. Jim DuBois

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    #5 Jim DuBois, Mar 18, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
    From Ken Roberts book on Ives....
    "Previous to 1834 or 1835 no other kind (iron 'cup bells') had been used. Mr. James
    Breckenridge . . . then a machinist and tool maker for Mr. Chauncey Jerome conceived
    the idea of a steel wire bell and made the first one known as 'cathedral gong' .... Had
    Mr. Breckenridge secured a patent for his invention, he easily might now have been
    more than a millionaire."

    The changeover to gongs from bells was almost immediate across the Conn area clockmakers. I have tried to pin it down to a specific year via labels of clocks with printers names and the like, and it looks like the best done so far is 1835 where there are known relationships via the parties that suggest that date. So your clock falls right into that range I would think.

    As to brass cable, I suspect brass cable in clocks is more a 20th century solution to clocks. While wire rope was a circa 1831 invention, there is no record I have found of it being used in clocks made in America prior to about 1880. I suspect your clock would have had catgut originally. I find either catgut or nylon cord to be perfectly acceptable for your clock, but given its apparent originality I would use gut if it were mine...just seems more appropriate to me
     
  6. senhalls

    senhalls Registered User

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    You should have saved this post for the first of April . No one would believe the story or the condition of the clock relegated to cellars for generations . Thanks for sharing a cute story !
     
  7. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    George,
    They took a lot of work making that window and the side channels. If it s just closed by a plain piece of tinplate, what was the window intended for? I'm rather puzzled...:confused:

    Aitor
     
  8. Jim DuBois

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    A sliding door with a channel in the dial was fairly common for empire cased clocks in this period. Birge and Mallory did a lot of them this way. Often the panel is a mirror. I sent a John Birge empire cased triple decker with the sliding panel home yesterday. The alleged purpose was to allow the clock owner to annually apply a bit of oil to the verge. It was more of a marketing ploy than fulfilling any technical needs. They came and went in less than 3 or 4 years IIRC.
     
  9. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Jim, Senhalls, Ballistarius and All,

    Once again, you have demonstrated the value of this wonderful discussion board and my longtime membership in the NAWCC! Let me address your comments:

    1. Jim, thanks for the accurate information on the introduction of the "cathedral gong". This is what I get for quoting from memory! I should have referenced my copy of the book, as it is sitting in the bookcase right next to my desk. For some reason, I was quite sure of my "facts memory" concerning this- perhaps my advanced age is catching up with me. Anyway, I'm much relieved that the originality of the gong in my clock has been verified. Your help and incredible knowledge is appreciated, as always. You are such a help with these discussions. Today, I'll obtain several rolls of catgut for my clocks. I have a Vienna Regulator style of clock that needs to be restrung, and I'll get some of a different diameter for my new Barnes, Bartholomew and Co. addition as well. I was hoping that the brass cable was not original, as it has a tendency to "nest" which is quite annoying!

    2. Senhalls, I was quite amused by your "first of April" comment. Every once in a while over my collecting years, I have encountered a clock with an interesting story. One of them can be found in this discussion:

    http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?140258-Sperry-Shaw-Tablet-Question

    In actively reading and participating in the discussions here, I've found that there are quite a few stories like mine. Don't we all love our wonderful old clocks?

    3. Ballistius, thanks for your question. Jim has provided another of his most complete answers about this. I've seen these openings, mostly found on double or triple decker case styles frequently. I quite agree with Jim's comments about them being a marketing ploy, as the little pieces of glass or tin do not open conveniently, and will not stay up so as to oil the now-revealed verge. If you look closely at the back of this clock's dial, you will see that the opening is rather crudely done, and almost appears to have been an afterthought. Not really practical, but an interesting part of history, nonetheless... I believe the tin piece in my clock is original due to its size and age, but the opening could have been covered by a small mirror which had broken over the years.

    Everyone, thanks so much for the discussions and information! Now, all that remains is the question of the direction the eagle carved into the splat faces. Anyone with any thoughts or information about that? :confused:

    My very best to all,

    George
     
  10. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Many thanks, :DJim.
    I could have never imagined that. I hope that the increase in sales did for the increase in production costs...:p

    Aitor
     
  11. Jim DuBois

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    Hey George, thanks for the good words. Now for the acid test....would you like to double your money on that clock? :chuckling: More than happy to send you a check for $40 and if the truth be known I might be pushed to $60! :clap::cop:
     
  12. Raymond Rice

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    Wonderful clock and what great condition!
    Ray Rice
     
  13. blindraccoon

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    OMG!!!! Your newly 'found' clock is sooooo beautiful! I just love all the fine details about how this exceptional old clock came to live with you. What a great story that you should print out and put in an envelope marked Barnes, Bartholomew & Co. Triple Decker Clock. 'Lucky' is an understatement :clap:
    Blindraccoon ~ Laurie
     
  14. sylvester12

    sylvester12 Registered User
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    Nice find George, your not Irish are you?
     
  15. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi to All!

    Everyone's most kind words are so appreciated. Let me address each comment...

    Jim, your simply spectacular offer to allow me to more than double my money is being given all of the due consideration it is worth! I'll be sure to let you know my decision in about ten years
    or so. ;)

    Raymond, thanks so much for you nice comment. I was quite lucky to stumble upon that one!:p

    Laurie (Blindraccoon), Your kind words are appreciated as well. With all of my clocks, I do indeed keep an envelope inside each, with all of the message board comments and information within, so as to allow the next owner to know as much about it as possible. As we all know, our clocks are ours for just a while, and hopefully will go to new owners who love them as much as we do when the time comes. I also keep a master notebook (VERY full at this point) with additional copies of the information in each envelope along with general research I have done regarding early clock manufacturing. I have so much fun from these activities, and when I'm spending time with my clocks it is almost like I've died and gone to heaven. :D

    And, Sylvester12, funny you should ask if I am Irish, for indeed I am! I am adopted, so know nothing at all of my birth parents, but my adoptive parents, who got me when I was but three months old 62 years ago, always told me I was Irish. That fact was verified when I took advantage of a special from Ancestory.Com, who verified that I am almost 75% Irish! I can't understand why I do not like corned beef and cabbage. :chuckling:

    Again, my friends, thanks for the help, information and encouragement. I'm off to restring the old girl with some catgut, per Jim's suggestion. I LOVE working on my clocks, and also love that stuffy old smell that they give off- sure evidence of everything they have seen during their lifetimes. :clap:

    My very best to you all,

    George Nelson
     
  16. Jim DuBois

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    #16 Jim DuBois, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    George, not that it relates directly to your clock, but it is alleged that Barnes et'al were some of the very first to take the information, ideas, and methodology provided by Ives 1833 clock patent, steal the concept, and make the movements as that is found in your clock. While that is the claim it is not entirely clear it is accurate, but that is another story.

    We are pulling together a very large display of Ives and directly related competitive clocks for the upcoming NAWCC National in Dallas this June 28th-July 1. Would love to put your clock in the "line up" of Ives immediate competition but I suspect both time and geography are against that. Not to mention you might not want to let it out of you sight? We are pulling clocks from all over the nation, glad I am not doing the logistics (or insurance) for that little piece of the puzzle. Should be an interesting display of some very rare clocks. Please attend if at all possible.

    I suspect you are already aware your clock is fairly rare, and its condition is phenomenal! And luck of the Irish must have come into play! Did you see any leprechauns about when you picked up the clock?
     
  17. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, Jim and All,

    Jim, please reference my PM about the upcoming NAWCC display. I'm more than glad to share my clock!

    As to the reference to similarities between genuine Ives movements and imitations, at first I thought this was an Ives movement. But upon closer inspection, it did not have roller pinions. It is quite similar in many ways to an Ives product. I have always wondered by poor Joseph constantly allowed competitors to walk all over him and his heartfelt and so well done movement improvements...

    Any thoughts yet on the direction the eagle faces? I found one weak reference to this being a political opinion on the state of the Union and succession views, but it was just a mention and not substantiated in any way. Anyone have any thoughts about this?

    Best to all,

    George
     
  18. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Thanks George. Regards the facing of the eagles head on a splat. I too have read there may have been a political implication inferred. But, never found anything conclusive in any way shape or form. Frequently old wives tales are just that and nothing more (apologies to my wife, who tells no tales) and apologies from my lack of political correctness as seemingly necessary these days. But, to the question you have George. How does one treat these Munger splats with 2 heads? Politically ambivalent? Don't much care? Or boy am I confused?

    Seriously, I don't think the direction of the eagles head matters in the least. At this time in our history folks were a bit more direct in what they thought......and in 1830-1840 the rift that resulted in the Civil War was fomenting, not yet boiling over, and the war of 1812 with pretty much history...
     

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  19. George Nelson

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    Hi, Jim and all,

    Jim, thanks for your comments. This, as Paul Harvey was so fond of saying, "is the REST of the story..."

    My curiosity about the direction the eagle faces was piqued for two reasons. First, I noticed that all of the other clocks with eagle splats in my collection faced left. Then, I stumbled upon a reference in the book "Good for a Time" by Christopher R. Brown, published by Oechsle-Brown Publications in 2011. This work documents the wonderful clocks in the The Christopher R. Brown Research Archive of Early American Wooden Works Shelf Clocks. On page 121 of that work, the author says while describing an E & G.W. Bartholomew wood movement triple decker: "...rare, right facing eagle splat and paw feet..." However, earlier in the book on page 76, another right facing eagle goes unmentioned and un-described. Could it have been that the reference to the "rare, right facing eagle" was referring to the carving and style of the eagle itself, rather than its direction? In the book, there are images of 8 eagle splats, with only two of them facing right.

    I was now motivated to research further. Knowing about the huge collection of pictures of clocks that have been sold in the past few years (35,373 as of March of this year) on the antiqueclockspriceguide.com website, I viewed 212 clocks with a carved eagle splat. The results of that effort have now made this discussion moot, as the results were as follows: 108 eagles facing left, and 104 facing right!

    I will note that an obscure Wikipedia reference found within a 'carved eagle' and 'clock' search mentions that "...the eagle often faces right, in a clockwise direction so as to be congruent with the direction of the moving clock hands..." At this point, we now know that the un-referenced comment is without merit. Sigh...

    Now, after all of this, I'm sorry to have brought the subject up!

    Best to all,

    George:mysad:
     
  20. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    #20 George Nelson, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    Hello, All,

    Well, I find myself replying to my own posting, but further research this evening has led to this update. In delving into some back issues of The Cog Counter's Journals (A publication of chapter 194, devoted to wood movement clocks) looking for other information, I came across an article devoted to the hand carved eagles found on many triple decker clocks like the one in this discussion.

    Not wanting to re-open my can of worms, I still must offer this quote from the CCJ #8, dated 11/1979. The quote is from a letter from Sheldon Hotch, who was in the business of reproducing carved splats for his customers and fellow Cog Counters: "The pictures you sent of the Seth Thomas 8D carved eagle are quite interesting, because the last eagle I copied (brought to me by a collector to put on a triple decker that it did not belong on) is the exact mirror image of the Seth Thomas. Your picture shows the eagle facing to the right, which is not usual. The eagle I copied is facing left; more common."

    He further goes on to comment about the presence of carved eagles on 8 day brass clocks: "What seems to hold true is that the individual clockmaker used a distinctive design that was like his trademark. The clock broker, who merchandised, used a similar design of the maker who manufactured for him. Carved eagles appear to be more often seen on tall carved column case clocks, 30H and 8D wood movements, and, therefore, would date within that period of manufacture. I have yet to see an original carved eagle on a triple decker with a brass movement, ...

    So now, I again don't know what to think. I cannot guarantee that my carved eagle is original, but it certainly seems likely, given the clock's history and condition. It matches the rest of the clock in both color and carving style. I will be returning to the purchase family, in order to gain more information on the clocks history, and will report back if anything comes of those efforts.

    In re-addressing my eagle count referenced in the previous posting (directly above) at the clock pricing website, I realized that my count included quite a few molded plaster eagles, all from the same prolific manufacturer, Seth Thomas. In eliminating that particular splat style and going back to carved wood splats only, and at looking at any case style including true transitional, carved column and splat and short case carved column and splat styles, I looked through more clocks, this time a total of 231 carved wood only. My count this time was quite different: 221 eagles facing left, and 10 facing right. The "right-facers" were not specific or more often found in clocks by one particular maker. Sigh...

    Now again fresh in my mind lurks the question of why so few right-facing carved eagles? The hand carved eagles represent more of an involvement with appearance and aesthetics than do the cast plaster examples, so I give a little more weight to them as being more of a decision rather than a design choice. It is much easier to cast 20 or so identical eagles from a mold than it must have been to spend 30-45 minutes in carving out one eagle. (The time estimate was kindly provided to me by a wood-carving friend, who reported that although mahogany is a rather easily-carved wood, there is a definitive time frame involved in producing a single bird.) Is the carving simply an aesthetic choice, a possible political statement, or, as Jim suggests, completely unimportant? I will continue research on the subject, and update this thread with any new information.

    Manically motivated, I remain,

    George Nelson:exhausted:

    Addendum: Of interest to Jim DuBois, who has been so very helpful in this thread, I have included a picture from the aforementioned Cog Counter's Journal of a carved eagle splat quite similar to the one in the picture he included, above. A very interesting similarity. This splat is a reproduction carved by Sheldon Hotch, referenced in this posting. Sheldon writes "... I carved this splat after... the unique double eagle that was used by Hotchkiss & Benedict. The two-head design resembles the Austrian Empire eagle, so the (original) carver may have been of that nationality. The acanthus leaf design is typical federal style; the flower rosettes, directly under the eagles' heads are seen in the Horns of Plenty carved splats on short case carved column clocks."
     

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  21. Jim DuBois

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    #21 Jim DuBois, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    It is my recollection that the 2 headed bird can be found on a couple of Mungers. I think it was referred to as a 2 headed Phoenix. I owned one, nearly 50 years ago, seem to have no photos of it at all, but at the time we thought it RARE.

    Regards the right vs left facing eagles and Sheldon Hotch commenting he never saw a carved eagle on a brass movement triple decker? He didn't need look far. The John Birge brass movement clock I sent home last week after veneer repair not only has a carved eagle, but it is right facing. I also have a C. and L.C. Ives awaiting some glass in my upstairs bedroom right now, also very much a brass movement, with eagle splat, facing right. So, I would call them less common, but not rare, and frequently on triple deckers with brass movements. While things like splats can be replaced over time, there are usually traces of things being moved about, or parts not quite fitting, or finishes not correct etc. When they show none of the aforementioned, one tends to think them original. Not to pick on Sheldon, he did some really nice carving work and I know of no one doing such today work, at least at affordable rates.

    The John Birge came out of a recent auction, that is where the photo originated, no copyright infringement involved. As you can see the escutcheons and the wood around them was messed up, as were several small patches of veneer also missing. So, it was repaired. Birge clocks are not uncommon, but they are most often Birge and Case, or Birge and Fuller, or Birge and Mallory, etc. Being a "John Birge" makes it a pretty rare bird. so to speak, no pun intended. The case style and the movement are normal fare. Just the name on the label sets it apart. These cases, both the Birge and the C & LC Ives, are thought to be the product of Elias Ingraham, he made them pretty much exclusively. Or better put his case factory made them. It is said his production of cases was about 700 per month, just FYI.

    And George, your case would also be the product of the same factory as the records exist showing Barnes was a frequent buyer of Ingraham cases
     

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  22. Jim DuBois

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    Ah, here I go replying to my own postings too....here is a bad photo of my 2 headed bird Munger. Sorry about the quality but it is apparently the only one I have...it is from back in the day when every photo cost a buck +/- so a lot less photos were taken back then.
     

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  23. Jim Burghart

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    Great find George! Beautiful clock. The tablets are fantastic!
     
  24. George Nelson

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    Hi, Jim and All,

    Jim, thanks again for the info. I was quite unsure about the rarity of brass movements in triple deckers comment, so I thought I would post it for comments and discussion.

    As to your Munger, how did you ever part with it? What a wonderful clock. I really like both the splat as well as the seemingly undersized face. And, to have a seconds bit, well, that is just icing on the cake!

    Best to all,

    George
     
  25. Jim DuBois

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    Yeah, like a lot of other clocks I should have kept, this one falls into that category. Not only does it have the double bird splat but it also has the movement and dial that is most commonly found in the so called Ironing board Mungers. So, this is basically a transition clock I would guess. The old style was the traditional Munger ironing board top and here we have used that movement and dial in the new case style that is more common and a bit later. There are a few of this configuration of earlier movement and dial in the later case, but with the splat it made a keeper and I didn't.....
     

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  26. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Jim and Everyone,

    Munger clocks have always thrilled me-I have yet to be able to acquire one. One of these days...

    His pieces are so special and out of the ordinary. I'll bet he was quite an independent person. Jim, I can't imagine parting with it, but I have been guilty of the same thing-selling a clock that I would come to regret losing deeply. :mysad:

    Thanks for posting the pictures. At lease I can spend a few quiet minutes alone, lusting after them. I particularly like the wallpaper in his clocks.

    George
     
  27. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I picked up a Munger (actually a Hotchkiss and Benedict) a couple of years ago. A bit of a rat....weak label, pretty plain case, but it was saying buy me, so I did. One Munger I owned had perhaps 6 or 7 layers of wallpaper in it. Every time the parlor got wallpaper so did the inside of the clock. And it all stripped out to the original wallpaper, and the label was intact and close to perfect. It had been protected for 180 years....
     

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  28. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Jim,

    I don't recall seeing a dial like that before. It's fabulous.

    The lower spandrels are an angelic little child clutching a bird with roses for the upper.

    Can you provide more pix of the dial and details??

    RM
     
  29. Jasons34

    Jasons34 Registered User

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    Outstanding find and gorgeous clock. She said it was ugly?!?!?!?!?! People just don't understand the history of these clocks. But I like people lol key you George. I dothe same thing you do. I'm honest with people when it comes to a sale. Mostly all people I deal with when buying have no clue what they even have and simply just throw out a price. I also inform them that it's worth a lot more than what they want and even offer them more. But after that whatever happens happens. I've already gotten clocks free because they assumed it was broken but I informed them nothing was broken. But once again very nice clock. I'd love to own one of these someday
     
  30. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, Jasons34,

    Thanks for the compliment. I know it always costs me more money, but I just couldn't live with myself if I acquired a clock for my collection by knowingly taking advantage of someone. Sometimes, it pays off, like it did in this situation, and, sometimes, the seller gets dollar signs in their eyes and begins to ask double or even more than what I tell them it's worth. In those cases, I politely walk away.

    In one case, I informed a local seller of the value of their clock, they raised the price to way beyond what was reasonable. When I declined, they listed it on eBay- THREE times in succession! They never got their ridiculous asking price, and finally offered it to me for what I originally told them it was worth. By that time, I had such a bad taste in my mouth about it that I just passed. Luckily, about two weeks later, I stumbled upon a better example of an almost identical clock, and bought that one.

    Sometimes, just like you, a "broken" clock comes along at a great price, and again, just like you, I tell the owner that is is simply out of beat, or needs a new suspension rod. In almost all cases like this, they sell me the clock anyway, either unable to grasp the beat problem, or they are unwilling to locate a simple suspension rod. In those cases, I'm always more than happy to accept their low asking price, and can add it to my collection with a completely clear conscience.

    I do hope you are soon able to add a triple decker to your collection, Jasons34. I do indeed like mine!

    Warmest regards to everyone,

    George Nelson
     
  31. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    A long time ago I had a friend who bought a rare New Hampshire clock (Noah Ranlet sweep second dwarf clock) from a Lawrence Mass junk shop for $300. My "friend" had no idea what he had value wise, I ultimately offered him $10,000 for it. He countered at $25,000, it was not worth nearly that. He consigned it to a Richard Bourne auction where it brought $7800. My "friend" got all bent out of shape because I didn't go to the auction and at least make a $10k bid on it. Needless to say I found new friends. But, legitimate offers are often refused thinking there must be more $$$$ in it than is offered. I have some other experiences where legitimate and very fair offers have been refused. i finally stopped making offers until the potential seller states a price he, or she, is willing to take. If they won't state a price I have learned I am usually there to do a free appraisal rather than buy a clock. So I just walk under those conditions. There are some fine folks out and about, but there seems to be an ever increasing group that trusts no one and is out to get everything they can......
     
  32. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I guess I'll add my story to the pile.

    This was quite a few years ago now. Just before the internet became routine for many. Still in the days when one more typically sent out lists of things by snail mail.

    Older retired collector in CT. He and his wife were looking to ultimately relocate to FLA. Were in de-accession mode.

    He had been shopping around his rather substantial collection. Sent out a list with sort of pie in the sky price for everything even for those days. Really wanted to sell everything, no "cherry picking".

    I believe that most of the lists he sent out were placed in the round file. No takers.

    Well a dealer friend of mine received one of his lists. Over the years he had bought some nice things from him and they knew each other fairly well. He wasn't interested, but passed the info on to me. My friend was also kind enough to contact this person a few times, tell him about me, vouch for me, about my integrity, etc., etc.

    I schlepped down to his home in central rural CT (I drove by tobacco drying barns!). First trip I carefully examined everything. A true price buyer. Total crap except a few good clocks (a Boardman 8 day fusee' in an onion top case, a double fusee' Atkins wall short drop timepiece with ripple molding, a Terry & Andrews steeple on steeple with a triangular swiss cheese alarm and very pretty glasses).

    I was very honest but polite with him. I thanked him for permitting me to spend most of the day with him examining his collection. Told him I was not interested in the entire collection but I was interested in the above clocks. I stepped up with a rather generous offer based upon THEN relatively recent results over the previous few years from Bourne's (gives you an idea when this all was). Acknowledged that he was primarily interested in selling the entire collection. He declined my offer.

    Well...I guess he remembered the "bird in the hand" thing. He called me saying come on down, he would sell me the clocks I was interested in. Had to be that day as he was leaving for FLA for the winter in a day or 2 and if I remember correctly, Christmas eve was just days away. This was a Sunday. This was going to be my 3rd round trip down there (I seem to recall each round trip was > 200 miles). He said nothing about method of payment. My mistake for not asking. I assumed because I had been well vouched for (apparently he had also asked others about me, as well) I could pay with a personal check.

    I get there. All pleasantries. I get out my check book. He became upset saying he couldn't possibly accept my check. Didn't know me from Adam. I explained that I had been well vouched for and I had been to his home 3 times. Furthermore, if he wanted cash, I would have been happy to accommodate him if I had known. No. I would need to return tomorrow, with cash. I explained that I had to work that day and could not return before he left for FLA and before the holidays. I thanked him and left.

    Needless to say, I never went back. Over the next couple of years, I got intermittent messages from him on my answering machine about coming down to CT to buy the clocks. Never returned the calls.

    Well, a few years later, those clocks showed up on eBay. I know they were the same clocks. By that time, I was through with them. I didn't bid. They sold for < than what I had offered him. I believe he paid someone to list them which meant they had to have taken a cut.

    Some people are too smart for their own good.

    RM
     
  33. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, All

    Jim and RM: Both sad stories to be sure! Jim, your remark, "There are some fine folks out and about, but there seems to be an ever increasing group that trusts no one and is out to get everything they can......" is sadly so very true today. I know of a person who is a member of the NAWCC who uses his membership as a marketing tool to gain trust. He is currently trying to sell some clocks at a local antique shop. His prices are often more than three times what the pieces are worth. Sad indeed...

    Best to all,

    George
     
  34. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    RM, collections to buy? One of my all time favorite collection opportunities was many years ago, back in the days of snail mail. I and a friend often bought clocks together. A letter came in that offered a very substantial collection for sale. The collection was out west in one of the smaller less urban states. There were photos of about 20 clocks included with the letter, one of them was a truly outrageous and quite valuable E Howard floor regulator, there were several decent double dials, a couple of long running Vienna's and some other likewise decent clocks. But the collection was said to be nearly 1000 clocks. Obviously we needed to know what the other 980+/- clocks were. The fellow who owned the collection wanted to talk financial terms rather than talk about the other clocks. Bad omen right there. He wanted payment in the form of an annuity in his name that would generate cash flow of $50,000 per year. Now that sized annuity flow would require an investment that was not pocket change then, or is it now.....back to the collection. When we finally got a more or less complete inventory? The other 980 clocks were.......all black mantel clocks. He was so proud that they were all in good condition, repaired, and run-able. His collection goal was to have an example of every model of every back mantel made by every company....I don't know if he accomplished that goal but he came a lot closer than I would. Needless to say, we didn't waste any more money on postage stamps, or phone calls.

    The E Howard regulator later surfaced in an auction where it brought a nice amount. I have no idea what ever happened to all the black mantel clocks.

    Us collectors can be strange birds.

    And RM, I think you know the fellow who bought the dwarf clock for $300, he was a friend of our mutual friend Lennie....
     
  35. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I can only surmise....

    RM
     
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