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Brass Face Long Case Spandrels - Real or Copied?

wspohn

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Feb 3, 2020
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In the 'old days' it was quite hard to find replacement parts for long case clocks that were correct period pieces unless you happened to live in Britain or had a good connection with someone there.

When I was missing a set of spandrels I used to take one from another clock I owned that was approximately the right period and copy it. As I lacked small furnace to enable me to cast in brass, I would make a mould of the original spandrel in plaster of Paris and I would melt lead in an old cast iron frying pan on the stove with the extractor fan going too hopefully remove the inevitable toxic fumes released. It would have been better to do it outside, but I lacked the stand alone stove - assume that is no problem today with the popularity for frying turkeys! I also wore my diving tank and regulator to ensure that I wasn't breathing in anything I shouldn't (that hobby accounted for my ability to obtain whatever lead I wanted by melting old weights).

The moulds held up quite well to repeated use and with a coat of gold paint tinted to match aged brass, the product was amazingly good.

I no longer do that and in the age of Ebay I instead obtain supposedly original parts from parts clocks, but I always wonder whether they are really reproduction even when they are claimed to be originals. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Given that the moulds from the earlier long case clocks probably saw much repeated use and eventual degradation, a bit of rawness in the casting probably can't be taken as any sure sign of non-originality by modern amateurs - in fact the 'antique' parts that come looking crisp and fresh from a mould may well be the reproductions.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I have some which still have the sprues on, so you can see how they were cast.
 

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