Brace yourselves...

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    #1 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Jun 8, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2017
    I'm always interested in finding clocks with the labels from my home state, Massachusetts, especially when they are from Boston or environs.

    I also like clocks with ww Torrington movements.

    So, I'm posting a clock labelled by Rodney Brace of N. Bridgewater, MA with a Torrington movement.

    A few good references to mention first.

    IMCO, a must have reference for the library of those with any interest in American horology is "Norris North and His Contemporary Torrington Clock Makers" by Lanzo and Brown.

    Also see Brown and Oeschsle, "Good for a Time" which contains examples of Torrington movement clocks, many of which actually appear in the above reference.

    Finally, see this excellent Bulletin article by Chris Bailey: http://docs.nawcc.org/Bulletins/1970/articles/1972/161/161_803a.pdf

    For more information about Brace, please see the above references. It will not be reiterated here in detail.

    Brace was born in Torrington, CT. He worked in N. Bridgewater in partnership with Isaac Packard from about 1831 until about 1835. Sometime thereafter, Brace returned to Torrington, CT where he engaged in farming and would reside until he shuttled off his mortal coil.

    One note. Lanzo and Brown report Brace resided and worked in "North-West Bridgewater", but this doesn't make sense. The labels pictured in that reference and the one in this clock say "N. Bridgewater". N. Bridgewater is in fact an "extinct" town. Since 1874, it has been called Brockton, which was a once flourishing industrial city south of Boston. Alas, it has seen better days. Sections still have grand Victorian homes built by the owners of the factories which were once there.

    Brace was actually a case maker who made some rather interesting and distinct cases. He placed Torrington ww movements in theose cases until about October, 1832 after which he started to use Terry-type ww movements.

    The case of this clock is in an "Empire" style and stands about 30 inches in height. Cases made by Brace can be rather large and imposing or as short as about 22 inches. It is pine with mahogany veneer with columns that are either figured maple or birch:


    What I found especially distinctive and interesting about this case was that the columns are concave which is quite unusual. One can get a better sense of this from this picture:
    [​IMG]


    Have not seen that before.

    See the above article by Chris Bailey. I believe what is a virtually identical clock is shown on page 828, figure 24!

    Here is the label. Note that it includes 1830 U.S. Census data:

    [​IMG]

    Here's the printer's credit. Couldn't find much about that firm:
    [​IMG]

    The dial is attractive though a bit "roached" (heat exposure?) between IV and VI. Oh well. At this point, I'm going to take cunctatory action and just observe. If no progression, will not rush in to have restored.
    [​IMG]
    As per Lanzo and Brown, the movement is classified as "type 6" with "type A" mounting:

    [​IMG]

    The mirror is replaced. The case has been refinished and is a rather too shiny for my tastes.

    Now time for the superfluous.

    The Gods o' Picking continue to be kind.

    The first is a chromolithograph on tin sign for a 19th century Boston area shoe company. Only somewhat superfluous as the production of shoes was a major industry in Brockton (ie, N. Bridgewater), MA in the 19th century. This company had a factory in Brockton. Rather intense looking gentleman?

    [​IMG]

    The next really is superfluous. Samplers were needle works produced by mainly young ladies (rarely boys) in the in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were a decorative method of demonstrating the mastery of domestic arts by a girl or young woman (and in very rare occasions, males) specifically sewing. They were often produced under the tutelage of an instructress and distinct "schools" have been identified. One form of sampler which was apparently uniquely American and especially popular in New England was the genealogical sampler. Genealogical samplers recorded the parents and the birth of their progeny. Sometimes deaths were included. The example posted is not only, IMCO, a rather interesting one, but demonstrates the rather knuckle headed things to which antiques are subjected. In this case, ultimately no harm done which is sadly not always the instance. Just look at what has been advocated on the MB.

    Here is the sampler as it appears currently:

    [​IMG]

    When first encountered, it was placed BACKWARDS in the frame. Why? Well, it was suggested that the front had significantly faded (as old textiles do) so it was reversed to the unfaded side. The person from whom I bought it would not permit me to open the frame and examine the sampler. At the price it was offered, if it was okay, I scored. If not, it might be worth the price of the Federal Period frame, +/- about $50. As in a poker game, I paid to see the hand.

    Someone must have paid $100's to have this thing framed in reverse. The sampler was mounted with dozens of tiny stiches to a cloth backing which had to be very carefully and painstakingly snipped to avoid damage. Spacers were glued (!!) to the outer edge which had to be very carefully removed to avoid tearing the very thin gauze like material upon which the sampler was executed. All very nerve racking. As I was doing it, I refused to look at the obverse until I was all done, convinced I had screwed the proverbial pooch and was stuck with a badly faded sampler. Well, obviously not!

    But it gets even more interesting. There was a company in Winchendon, MA called E. Murdock and Co. They made wooden ware for about 100 years. They were a very important family. For example, there's a Murdock School and the local historical society is located in the Murdock-Whitney house. Note the 3rd name down on the list:

    [​IMG]

    It is Elisha Murdock. Well, this is the very same "E. Murdock" who would go on to found that company. The sampler was created by his kid sister, Mary, in 1820. Her name appears at the bottom of the list.

    Thankfully, sometimes the absolutely numbskull dunderhead things done to antiques by misguided individuals don't cause irreversible harm unlike destructive measures such as removing old patina/surface or stripping stenciling and the like?

    RM
     
  2. PatH

    PatH Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 5, 2014
    213
    3
    18
    Female
    Texas
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks for another most informative post! Great to have the references included in the message so we can get the background as time allows.

    You truly had a win with the collateral items - all are amazing pieces of history from various aspects.
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    Thanks for your kind comments.

    What I don't crow about are things like the 1970's repro Art Deco hanging lighting fixture I bought that weekend thinking it period. Man, it convinced me and a # of other people on the field that day! It's lovely. I only learned about it when I found a set of company initials cast into the underside of the metal fixture cap which I Googled. Turns out it was a company in NJ (can't recall the name just now) that made high quality reproduction lighting including many Art Deco pieces. They went out of business in the 1970's. In fact, according to a friend of mine who runs his own antique shop and is quite conversant in the lighting of that period, most of the figural Art Deco lighting one sees at antique shows, auctions, flea markets, etc. are the products of that company and NOT period, contrary to the claims of those selling it. Thank goodness I didn't pay much for it, about what one would pay for a good repro in a lighting store. And people were sore that I beat them to it. They should count their blessings. I will resell as originally intended, but clearly mark it repro.

    Well, that's the nature of the beast. Anyone who says they haven't stumbled and even fallen flat on their face is either not aware or not telling the truth.

    RM
     
  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
    NAWCC Member Donor

    Jun 14, 2008
    1,270
    12
    38
    Male
    Itinerate clock purveyor and amateur restorer
    Magnolia, TX
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Regards "Bridgewater"
    "As early as 1719, Bridgewater the South, only three years after its incorporation as a parish, applied to the General Court, to be made a distinct town, this although agreed to by the remainder of the town and granted by the House, was not concurred in by the Council; again, in 1738, the North precinct petitioned to be incorporated as a town; the remainder of the town at the same time consented and voted that the South and East should become separate and distinct towns, all these applications were however resisted and it was not until June 16, 1821, that any change was made. At this time the North, the youngest, but most populous parish, was incorporated by the name of North Bridgewater. The West, (the old town), was incorporated February 16, of the next year, by the name of West Bridgewater, and the East, by the name of East Bridgewater was incorporated June 17, 1823. Thus the South Parish, although the first to move in the matter was left with Titicut to retain the old name. And now, as it was then left, it remains, containing twenty-eight and one-eighth square miles, or 18,300 acres, bounded by East and West Bridgewater on the north, Halifax on the east, Middleboro on the south and Raynham on the west. The town is very pleasantly situated, about midway between Boston and Fall River, ten miles from Taunton and eighteen miles from Plymouth, on the Old Colony and Newport Railway."
     
  5. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    886
    4
    18
    Retired
    Tennessee
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    RM,

    Please accept my genuine thanks for such wonderful posts! Each time I read one I feel like I've been to a really well-presented college lecture, full of facts, interesting tidbits and even a bit of fun! I have printed out a lot of them, and keep them in a very special section of my clock notebook, and marked the tab as "RM Specials". Please keep them coming along with the "superfluous" asides as well, as I learn so much and broaden my knowledge through each and every one. You are a true collector after my own heart, collecting not to collect but collecting to learn, the very best of both worlds. And choosing to share with others is yet another reason that all collectors should be like you! I'm betting that your house is a virtual museum, filled to every inch with wonderful things...

    My very best, :clap:

    George
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    Thanks for your very generous and kind comments!

    You're most welcome.

    These objects are part of the material culture of a period and thus can teach us much about the history of that period.

    RM
     
  7. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    151
    3
    18
    Retired IBM manager, retired politician, now just
    NYS
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    RM, many thanks for your posts -- I make it a point to seek them out. With regard to your Art Deco lighting purchase -- we all have to pay for our lessons. I regard your posts as free lessons. Keep up the good work.

    Ray Rice, just leaving for the next auction, and probably more lessons.
     
  8. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    Thanks so much for your very kind and generous comments.

    Good luck at the auction.

    RM
     
  9. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 23, 2002
    2,244
    2
    38
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hello Bob,

    Pat Hagans has done alot of research on Rodney Brace; he spoke about it at last year's National. There will be an article about him in this year's
    Cog Counters Journal.

    The area now called Brockton was a confusing jumble of names when Rodney Brace lived there. I am not sure where his farm was actually located, but he had two routes up into Boston: following what is now route 18 or 28 depending upon what was nearer.

    I found a discussion on North Bridgewater online that I saved as pdf, but I can not seem to locate it right.

    Andy Dervan
     
  10. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    Thanks so much for the info.

    I also look forward to the CCJ and the article you mention.

    RM
     
  11. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    3,627
    2
    38
    Cabinetmaker
    Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Huh. I've seen several SIMILAR clocks, and I always thought the columns were shallow curved (projecting) columns, not concave ones. Now I'm going to have to go back through my files and CHECK.
     
  12. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    In the course of discussing this clock, a side discussion about "N. Bridgewater" arose.

    The gist of it was that the N. Bridgewater became know as the city of Brockton after 1874.

    Well, one of my collecting interests is antique calligraphic art.

    It's amazing what could be done with a pen an ink. More amazing when one considers that penmanship (I guess the PC term would be "penpersonship") is no longer taught.

    I own a certificate of appreciation given to a teacher for years of service at the high school:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty snazzy stuff.

    Well, look where it's from:

    [​IMG]

    N. Bridgewater just a year before it went extinct!

    I've owned this for years and never realized that until just the other day.

    RM.
     
  13. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    886
    4
    18
    Retired
    Tennessee
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Quite a coincidence, and a truly lovely piece. Thanks, RM, for sharing and your always wonderful posts.


    George
     
  14. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,296
    26
    48
    Country Flag:
    And thanks for your kind comments.

    RM
     
Loading...
Similar Threads - Brace yourselves Forum Date
Rodney Brace Torrington East - West Mvt. Wood Movement Clocks Jun 16, 2015
Rodney Brace Clock Wood Movement Clocks Apr 13, 2015
Rodney Brace restoration complete Wood Movement Clocks Jun 1, 2006

Share This Page