Daniel Pratt Column and Splat wit Mirror front

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Rockin Ronnie, Jan 28, 2018.

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  1. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    I was at an estate auction today. They had a number of old clocks. I won the bid on a George H Clark ogee which I will post later. However my wife who accompanied me, nudged me and said "bid on that one". I was not particularly interested in the Daniel Pratt clock but neither was anyone else and won the bid for 30CDN.

    It is a column and splat Daniel Pratt Jr. shelf clock with a rosewood (I think) case, wooden movement (2-weight) and wooden dial both of which appear at first glance to be original to the clock. I have no knowledge of wooden movements and not sure that I will ever work on this one. It may be for display purposes only.. It also looks to have been worked on at one point in the past.

    Ant information on the clock or the year it was made would be appreciated.

    Ron

    RS Daniel Pratt.jpg RS Daniel Pratt_6.jpg RS Daniel Pratt_7.jpg RS Daniel Pratt_8.jpg RS Daniel Pratt_9.jpg
     
    Peter A. Nunes and George Nelson like this.
  2. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    It doesn't really have columns. If anything it's a "reverse ogee" and splat. I still think this was an absolutely fantastic find. You can barely buy a wood dial for 30$.
     
  3. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    I will go with that description.This movement does not appear to have brass bushings. Regular clock oil for the movement?

    Ron
     
  4. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    NO oil for the movement- save for the verge and escape wheel. Oil is not good for wooden movements. This is a GREAT find, by the way. An uncommon label in almost pristine condition is hard to find. In fact, the whole clock seems to be in very good condition. My best guess for the age of the clock is circa 1832 through 1840 or so. The label in your clock is an early style, suggesting an early production, closer to the 1832 production rather than later. Congrats! ;) You might get better responses if you asked a moderator to move this inquiry to the Wooden Movement Clocks category, where the true wooden movement members will see your clock.

    George N.
     
  5. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    #5 Rockin Ronnie, Jan 29, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
    Thank you. I was not sure and thought I'd ask about the oil. Yes, the clock is in in exceptional condition including the wooden dial though the mirrored tablet might be a later replacement (hard to tell).

    Moderators. Could you move this to wooden clock/movement sub-forum?

    Ron
     
  6. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Chauncey Jerome's autobiography claims James Breckenridge developed the "wire bell" (gong) in 1837. The acceptance of the gongs was widespread and nearly immediate. If that date is correct your clock would date to approximately then. The style of your case is that of that approximate period also I think. This Pratt carries an 1839 date on its label, a trait seen on a number of Pratt labels....

    2018-01-09 17.34.18.jpg
     
  7. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Good point, Jim. I totally missed that the clock had a wire bell. Does anyone have an opinion about the label? To me, it seems to be an earlier style rather than later.

    George N.
     
  8. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    That is really a unique looking label, more of an advertisement flyer than a label in fact. As a comparison, this thread contains a Pratt label dated 1837: Who made the movement in this Daniel Pratt Jr. clock. A "groaner" wood movement by Boardman.

    Pratt's first foray into clock making was apparently in 1832 to 1835 as Pratt and (Jonathan) Frost. I wonder whether the label in Ron's clock was a label developed for his initial venture under his own name.
     
  9. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    On the very bottom is the name of the printer, Dickinson and Co. 52 Washington St. Boston, last line of label.
    Ron
     
  10. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    Interesting. Dickinson was around since at least 1835: Bulletin of the New York Public Library
    And this site lists him as active 1830 to 1845 at 52 Washington Street. Dickinson, Samuel N. (Samuel Nelson), 1801-1848 @ SNAC. Apparently he died in 1848.

    I suppose the question becomes: Are these the same as Dickinson and Co.?
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    That's a nice one!

    The story of Daniel Pratt, Jr. (he was not really a "junior" in that his father did not have the same name; see the link below for more info) is sort of an interesting figure. His career spanned a goodly part of the 19th century, from wood to brass.

    Pratt was more of an assembler than a clock maker, "casing" the movements, wooden and brass, of others. He also purchased entire clocks from others and put his label in them. He was quite prolific.

    For his wooden works, the ogee sided cases were amongst the case he styles used. I believe that they were made in MA. Also used by some other MA assemblers as well. What's interesting about these cases is that they're actually a bit shorter than typical.

    I once owned a variant with a cornice top rather than a splat. Here's a link to one of those that was in the Chris Brown Collection:

    Daniel Pratt, Reading, MA, Mid-Size Ogee Side Case | Cottone Auctions

    Pratt's use of wooden works, I believe up into the mid-1840's, represents some of the latest use of them. They were being dumped cheap as they were largely supplanted by the more desirable brass works.

    That upper glass with the perimeter reverse painted with a black (or deep blue) and gold is just right for one of his clocks as is the lower mirror.

    The dial is typical, too. Hands right as well.

    Love the label with the image of a clock show room.

    Looks like a clean example.

    See this Bulletin Supplement devoted entirely to Daniel Pratt, Jr:

    https://nawcc.org/index.php/watch-a-clock-bulletin/past-issues-/553?task=view

    Will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about him.

    Enjoy you nice clock.

    RM
     
  12. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    All the Daniel Pratt Jr clocks of this style that I've seen (with the ogee sides) had mirrors in them. I have probably a dozen photos of them. They usually have an upper dial with a blue, green, or black border, and a mirror in the lower portion. All tend to have a floral dial and the three hump splat, but I'm sure there are exceptions. As far as I know this was a "standardized" production run model, because I've seen so many of them that all look practically identical.
     
  13. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Looked at each one. The first Cottone auction clock has the same label as mine whether or not this dates the clock or not. Perhaps an earlier version as suggested by an Steven Thornberry.

    Ron
     
  14. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    The Skinner example has a zinc dial with wooden works according to their description. If the dial and/or works is correct, that would be rather unusual. Does not appear that they recognized the significance.

    The uncommon use of a zinc dial with wooden works has been previously discussed on the MB. See this thread:

    https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/bit-of-an-unusual-combination.117053/

    Note that the 2 examples of zinc dial + wooden works in the above thread, as well as others I could find in my research, all used an earlier heavy raw zinc dial that did not have the white background coat. The numerals and chapter rings are applied to the bare zinc. Spandrel decoration, when present, did have a back ground color.

    If the Skinner clock is correct, it would add Daniel Pratt, Jr. as another maker/assembler of these unusual clocks and he used a later form of zinc dial than the others.

    Again, if all correct, someone bought a scarce and visually attractive clock for, IMCO, no money.

    RM
     
  15. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    PS: here's an example of a "showroom" label in a beehive that I posted on another thread some time ago:

    E.C. Brewster Beehive 6.JPG

    This is a label for yet another Boston area assembler, Beals.

    Note the showroom scene is similar but not identical to the one in the Pratt.

    I found this label interesting in that in this instance, Beals cut up a larger label and used the pieces to overpaste the original Brewster and Ingraham's one which can be seen around the edges and above (it's printed on green paper).

    I've seen the showroom label by Pratt and Beals before.

    RM
     
  16. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Rob,

    In the case of the Skinner clock, I am more inclined to think that this is a rather late 1840s-early 1850s clock with a pretty outdated wooden works in it. The reason I say this is because the zinc dial used shares a lot of resemblance to dials seen on Seth Thomas clocks with brass works. They also resemble some by Birge & Fuller (late 1840s). It's still very interesting to see a zinc dial on a wooden works, because I would think that they would need to plan ahead for it, because the normal setup allows for 1/8" or more clearance to the front of the movement (to allow for the thickness of a wood dial), so the vertical runners would need to be 1/8" deeper to compensate for a zinc dial. If not, then the winding squares would poke out of their holes and the hands would be far from the dial surface.
     
  17. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    And perhaps not. In looking at the label, I noticed the abbreviation "U.S." after "Reading, Mass." If you at page 18 of Miriam Barclay's Bulletin Supplement linked to in RM's post above (post # 11), you will find the following:

    The designation of "U. S." following "Reading, Mass." on Pratt’s clock Iabels suggests that he was already active in a world market and was anxious to indicate the country of origin for his goods. His advertising copy, mentioned earlier, includes the statement that his clocks enjoyed a world wide reputation. We are not certain what prompted Pratt to expand into the larger field of foreign trade, but a letter from Thomas Sargent of Boston as early as October 6, 1838 may have the answer: "We have been applied to by a friend in New York to look around and see what we can get some common clocks for Suitable to send on a Trading Voyage to dispose of to the natives in the Indian Ocean.' We are not informed how many are wanted but upon getting cash prices will write you. We Should think 20 cases. Please on the receipt of this to give your prices and your different Kinds and say where you keep Your Samples. Please Say if you have ever had any proof how the works in Your ctocks will stand the damp air in the Hole of a vessel on a long voyage and in a warm clirnate. Would not the wheels be apt to warp in which case make the clocks useless. Who have you SoId to here to be Shipped for a long Voyage?" Pratt must have had this shipping problem in mind for his trade card said with emphasis: "Clocks Put up in good order for exportation.“

    So, perhaps not an early label, but perhaps one suitable for use in clocks shipped overseas, as well as for use in those sold domestically.
     
  18. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Or for those shipped to Canada, perhaps?
     
  19. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    Possibly so, if Pratt shipped to Canada.
     
  20. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    This is a truly fascinating discussion, and I sincerely appreciate everyone's thoughts about Pratt's clocks. Sooth, your photograph files are truly second to none, and have turned out to be incredibly helpful on many occasions! RM, your thoughts and comments are so helpful, as always. Steven, your quote about the "U.S." nomenclature brings up another fact that we should all be aware of- export possibilities. I'm curious as to how Pratt stabilized his movements for long, destructive ocean voyages: "Clocks put up in good order for exportation". Does anyone have thoughts or knowledge about this?

    Best to all,

    George N.
     
  21. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    George, I don't know if exports really took off until brass movements were used, because of wood swelling and shrinking, and wooden works not working after an ocean voyage.
     
  22. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #23 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Jan 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
    Many CT wooden works clocks were in fact shipped to Canada. Again look in sources including the books on Canadian clocks by Varkaris and Connell and Burrows.

    See this fascinating reference from the Bulletin:

    http://docs.nawcc.org/Bulletins/1970/articles/1978/196/196_510.pdf

    Apparently Pratt was in fact an active major exporter of clocks, both wooden works and brass. His clocks not only arrived in ports along the eastern coast (including Canada and the Caribbean), but as far away as Calcutta!!

    This reference pictures a label like the one in Ronnie's (or do you prefer to be called "Rockin'") but in Portuguese! Probably meant for a clock going to Brazil. There are shipping manifests confirming that Rio De Janerio was in fact a destination for his clocks.

    Take a look. As I said, Pratt was an interesting guy.

    RM
     
  23. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Ron is fine. The information in the bulletin is fascinating and yes I see the similar label, perhaps an export label?
     
  24. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, All,

    The Pratt information referenced above is indeed quite educational. Thanks, RM, for the link. You have a knack for locating relevant material, and I know we all appreciate it.

    Now, for a bit of relevant information. This discussion tweaked my memory about a school paper I wrote, and I was motivated to search through my old school papers for the particular document (I save EVERYTHING!). I discovered this info in some very old notes I was looking for, written when I was interviewing my Great, Great Grandfather, who was a British sea captain for the majority of his adult life. I was interviewing him for a school project assigned as "The oldest person in your family." In my notes, I found reference to a paragraph about him describing the shipment of wooden goods on his ships. He said that these types of goods were double crated, with the inner container tightly sealed with wax, and the outer container tightly packed with salt to act as a drying agent. He mentioned that the shippers had their costs severely increased by the added weight of double casing and the salt, and found it a bit amusing that he made extra money for this inclusion of common wax and salt. He told of one case of wooden "objects" (too bad I didn't ask what the objects were!) being dropped upon unloading after a long voyage from the United States, and seeing "hard seized" sheets of salt break out of the container. He reported that the salt proved to be quite effective for long voyages: the thickness of the salt "walls" being adjusted for the length of the voyage. I have never seen any other reference to this type of shipping method, save for my eighty nine year old Grandfather's comments made years ago (I was a high school freshman at the time, and cannot for certain substantiate the accuracy of his information. He was, however, quite lucid until he passed, and had many fascinating stories about sea life in the mid 1800s.)

    I would love to hear if anyone has knowledge or thoughts about this particular shipping method!

    Best to all,
    George N.
     
  25. dlb1052

    dlb1052 Registered User
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    What a fascinating thread, and a beautiful clock, nice find. George, I really enjoyed your history lesson on shipments abroad. As an owner of a number of Pratt, Pratt and Frost clocks, I believe it to be a later Pratt clock, say 1843 and later. The Pratt, Pratt and Frost early clocks I have are all groaner movements. About 1837-38 Pratt started dating his labels until around 1843. And also started using the "terry" type movements. The size of the clock also indicated a possible shift toward the shorter transition style clocks. All of my early Pratt clocks are a towering 34-35 inches tall. But having ventured to help, love the label. Good luck with your clock.
     
  26. George Nelson

    George Nelson Registered User
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    Hi, DLB1052,

    Thanks for your kind comments. I must point out, however, that the clock in this thread belongs to Rockin Ronnie, not me. (I would LOVE to have a clock like his, with that very interesting label.) Thanks, too, for pointing out that Pratt must have started his wooden works offerings with the groaner style movements, a fact I seem not to have picked up on earlier. It makes perfect sense, however.

    Best to all,

    George N.
     
  27. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Unhooked the weights today. Will set the clock aside to determine next steps regarding servicing as the clock runs for 5 minutes and stops; strike side does not function. Thanks all for your comments.
    Ron
     

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