Dating my Smiths Enfield railway station clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Marc in York UK, Jul 15, 2020.

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  1. Marc in York UK

    Marc in York UK Registered User

    Apr 1, 2020
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    I have a puzzle for members who know their history.

    We have a wall clock. It was sold to us in India in the 1980s as a railway station clock - allegedly from the station master's office in Lucknow.

    It has a 12 inch diameter face with arabic numerals. It is marked Smiths Enfield, with Made in England below the 6. The 8 day movement is marked Smiths and Made in England. It has a heavy pendulum with S ---- F cast into it above a regulating nut. The face is off-white. The case is solid wood, maybe pale mahogany or good quality pine.

    Now, here's the puzzle. I have read about the history of the Enfield company and the takeover by Smiths. This should mean that a clock marked Smiths Enfield dates from around 1950. But this is after India's independence. Were the Indian railways still equipping their stations with wind-up 8 day clocks in 1950?

    Or is it a good forgery.

    The pictures attached are

    a. the face of our clock and
    b. two pictures of a very similar clock recently on sale in Australia, but without Made in England below the 6.

    WIN_20200715_07_33_45_Pro (2).jpg Smiths_Enfield_Railway_Clock_as288a298z-2.jpg Smiths_Enfield_Railway_Clock_as288a298b.jpg
     
  2. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Welcome to the board.

    India is a source of a great many 'station clocks', some are genuine, some less so. The one photo of your clock does not give us much to go on.

    It would be very helpful if we could have more photos of the one you actually have, showing the movement and the back of the case. It might then be possible to answer your questions.

    JTD
     
  3. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

    Jun 1, 2006
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    Smiths purchased the Enfield Clock Company in 1933, by around 1950 the use of the Enfield name was dropped by Smiths.

    Dial markings may not be original and therefore reliable so as JTD says pictures of the movement and details of markings on it will help answer your questions in terms of dating and also of the pendulum bob. I don't know much at all about Indian railways but I'd think wind up clocks were still in use after independence in 1947 and beyond as they still were by UK railways.
     
  4. Ticktocktime100

    Ticktocktime100 Registered User

    #4 Ticktocktime100, Jul 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
    Hi,

    I second what has been said - the movement will provide a more definite clue. But although Smiths Enfield clocks are good quality and some are rather desireable, they are not particularly rare so I would be surprised if there were reproductions made - perhaps I'm just being naive. It could just be that the dial of the other clock has been retouched/redone in the past, as suggested, but with that said, the patination is convincing, so once again, I would be surprised if it was. The "Made in England" mark is seen on many Smiths Enfield clocks, which leads me to believe that yours is original. Were some dials marked and others not so? Hopefully someone will know more. In any case, my first thought on seing your clock is that it was 1940's, which seems a sensible date in view of those given above.

    Regards.
     
  5. Marc in York UK

    Marc in York UK Registered User

    Apr 1, 2020
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    Thanks for your comments. I have taken some photos.

    The case is made of wood with a hatch only for the pendulum so the only way to photograph the movement from all sides it to remove the face and unscrew the movement from the case. That made me wonder whether the case is hand made in India and not shipped from England.

    The movement is stamped Smiths England, but I can't see any serial numbers.

    Given the travels it has been on, it's surprising it runs and keeps reasonably good time.

    Thanks again for the advice. Let me know what you think.

    P1000706.JPG P1000707.JPG P1000708.JPG P1000709_crop.JPG P1000710_crop.JPG P1000711_crop.JPG P1000714.JPG P1000715.JPG P1000716.JPG P1000717.JPG P1000718.JPG P1000721_crop.JPG P1000722.JPG
     
  6. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    The majority of schoolhouse or railway clocks have never been near either. It is just a style of clock that has survived the passage of time.Fusee dial and drop dial clocks were made from the last quarter or so of the 18th century to around the beginning of the last quarter of the 20th century,

    A round wall clock is still a style even with quartz clocks. What started as a cheaper domestic clock ended up in offices around the World.
     
  7. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    If you look closely at "Made In England" it looks very crude and letters are uneven.

    The stamped plates look 1970s - 1980s rather than earlier.

    Andy
     
  8. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    That 8 day timepiece movement is an Enfield one and was introduced in the early 1930s and made over many years thereafter with little modification. It was used in round dial wall clocks for office and commercial premises and also in domestic wall and mantel clocks. There were two versions of it, differing in one having skeletonized front and rear plates and the other a solid back plate like this one and different pendulum leaders for wall and mantel clocks. The bob is a Smiths' one and was used from circa 1938-48. The needled plate finish indicates this movement was made after the war.
     
  9. Marc in York UK

    Marc in York UK Registered User

    Apr 1, 2020
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    Thank you for the very helpful and interesting information, which is consistent with a clock exported from the UK in 1949 to 1950.

    I was half expecting the clock to be a forgery. It was sold to me in New Delhi about 1987 or 1988 by an "antiques" dealer who claimed to have bought it from the station in Lucknow where he said it had been in the station master's office until the Indian Railways replaced mechanical with electric clocks.

    Now that I have taken the movement out of the case, to judge from the colour on the inside, the case looks to me to be made of shisham - a kind of Indian hardwood which was often used for making furniture. The face could possibly have been made by hand, but if so it is a very careful use of the brush. In fact the shape of the Smiths Enfield logo is more faithful to the original than the one from Australia which mentioned earlier.

    Best wishes

    Marc
     
  10. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    I don't recall coming across an Enfield dial clock, which in itself is a pity, so i can't say to the case but I would imagine the company cased their own and also sold the movements to whoever which were then cased and of course marriages happen.
     
  11. Tim Orr

    Tim Orr National Membership Chair
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    Good evening, Marc!

    That sticker on the back that says "Thieves Beware Forensically Coded" and with "Smartwatch" in the center is kind of amusing. How did that get there?

    I am inclined to believe the whole thing is authentic, including the case, but that, as our friend from Devonshire suggests, neither very rare or valuable. It certainly could have been in a stationmaster's office, but also lots of other places. Certainly, it is not a high-precision / high-accuracy clock, but rather a day in / day out office workhorse.

    Best regards!

    Tim Orr
     
  12. Marc in York UK

    Marc in York UK Registered User

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    Tim, you caught me out. They weren't forging Smartwater stickers in New Delhi back in the 1980s. I should have taken off the anti-theft label before posting those pictures.

    I am very happy to know that I have a workaday clock, not a valuable one, which is probably authentic and what I was told when I bought it. It's still working, and it's about the same age as I am.

    Best wishes

    Marc
     
  13. chrisuk

    chrisuk Registered User

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    That movement is in my parents' wedding present mantel clock, they were married in 1951.
     
  14. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Nothing wrong with that, most clocks are workaday and mechanical clocks from this era and only a little later are the last ones you can now save.
     

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