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Carriage clock identification & history

Sam Jeens

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Jun 30, 2020
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Can anyone help me with identifying this carriage clock, I believe it is around c.1890 - 1910 but I could be wrong. any information would be greatly appreciated.

20201001_131245.jpg 20201001_131249.jpg 20201001_131252.jpg 20201001_131256.jpg
 

Andy Dervan

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We better photograph on the signature below the dial.

Open back door and need a good photograph of the movement's back plate to view any marking to help identify it.

Andy Dervan
 

KurtinSA

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Didn't we have a recent thread on a different clock where there was a debate on the style of the winding arrow? I forgot where that was, but this arrow seems similar.

Kurt
 

zedric

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Aug 8, 2012
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The clock is a lacquered brass, time only carriage clock in an obis case with a lever escapement. It is at the lower end of features for a carriage clock (no alarm, strike or repeat for example) but the lever escapement is one step up from the cheaper cylinder escapements you mostly get in these, and means it can be easily serviced. It should be a good timekeeper with a service.

It probably fits within the date range you quote, which makes it a later clock. Carriage clock production was at its height then, with thousands being made per month by the bigger firms, but nearly ceased with the start of the First World War. Despite this a number of auction houses are starting to call many clocks “early 20th century”.

as yours has no makers markings on it (other that what seems to be Wilson and co on the dial, who would have been retailers) then it is not really possible to give a sound attribution for the firm that made it, other than to say it would probably have been one of the bigger companies.
 

jmclaugh

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You clock movement was made by Couaillet Freres and very possibly the case too as they made complete carriage clocks as well as selling roulants and finished movements for them The company was one of the largest French makers of carriage clock and other movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The founder Armand came up with a novel idea in 1919, an electric car, the combustion engine won out but it seems he had the right idea. It said the company went bankrupt in 1925.

As Zedric says it is in an Obis case, probably the commonest seen and iirc appeared around 1880. Obis also refers to a movement and is discernible by the motion works being on the back of the front plate which reduced the cost of fitting a dial to the movement.
 

zedric

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I assume that Jonathan is making the attribution to Couaillet from the shape of the winding arrow, and it is probably a fair bet that this is correct, even though the picture of the time-set arrow is not as clear as it could be.

This method of attributing unsigned clocks to makers was, to my knowledge, first suggested by Charles Allix in his book on carriage clocks, but he added a note of caution. In particular, it should be noted that these stamps were not trademarked, and in theory anyone could (and possibly did) use a similar or identical stamp on clocks of their manufacture, so while Couillaet certainly used a stamp like this, others might too. Secondly finishers of carriage clocks (and the industry was still largely run, even in the 1890s, on a piece work basis) could work for a number of makers (again, as Allix demonstrated), and when they did so, it is possible to imagine that they might get stamps mixed up between clocks destined for different makers. I can't see a maker rejecting a clock if it had the wrong winding arrow stamped on it, although if it had the wrong name they might well do so!
 
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jmclaugh

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The only way to attribute a clock to Couaillet afaik is the style of arrow as they didn't use a trademark and movements at this period are very similar to each other whoever made them. I dug out my copy of A&B's carriage clock book and it does says Couaillet used out workers in their production and it refers to another source that says one of the jobs these out workers performed was the punching of hand setting arrows on back plates and they used their own punches. It is therefore suggested that clocks associated with certain workers could have been identified by their "arrows". The book shows under Couaillet just one arrow-form and describes it as found on many Couaillet clocks so A&B are themselves attributing it to them based solely on the arrow.

The book lists another maker also based in Saint-Nicolas-d'Aliermont, Duverdry & Bloquel for whom a different style of arrow is shown and again mention the out workers/punches referred to above.

I have come across a claim that the four dots of the arrow represent the four Couaillet brothers but I don't recall any no firm evidence for that.
 

Sam Jeens

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Jun 30, 2020
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Thank you all, your information has been extremely helpful :)
 

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