Dating plain brass 10 inch dial

rstl99

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Oct 31, 2015
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I just purchased an English clock movement as a restoration project, which is being shipped to me. It's a 30 hour single hand plain brass dial movement (no spandrels). No minute outer chapter ring. Quarter hour inner chapter ring. Hand is either not original or has been seriously modified/repaired.
The seller said the dial is 10" wide.
I have another 30 hour movement from the same family of makers (Hedge in Colchester) whose plain brass dial is 11".
Is there a general rule of thumb to determine which decade in the eighteenth century a 10" or an 11" dial would originate in, in the country (i.e. Colchester)? I've looked in Mason's book on Colchester clockmakers, and in Barder's book on country grandfather clocks, and can't easily find information on when one would expect to see a 10" dial on such a clock.
Thanks for your insight.
Robert
 

Steven Thornberry

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I wonder whether pictures might help us in answering your query.
 

rstl99

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This is the only photo I have.

nath hedge dial.jpg
 

rstl99

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In refreshing myself with Mason's book, I concluded that my new clock movement acquisition is by Nathaniel Hedge 4, who signed "Nath(l) Hedge" to differentiate himself from his father's firm (Nathaniel Hedge 3) who signed simply "Hedge", following NH4 starting his own business in 1765, in Colchester.

I have to assume the seller got the measurement wrong, and that this recently acquired movement is really an 11", which would match the 11" "Hedge" 30 hour movement I already own. It probably dates from 1765-1780.

The Hedges were known to produce a great number of these "cottage" clocks (11" plain brass dial, one or two hands, birdcage movement), which according to Mason featured well-made sound movements, made in their own small factory.

Anyway, the Nathaniel Hedge 4 one-hand movement will look quite nice, once restored, displayed beside his father's 2-hand movement in my collection.

Robert
 

jmclaugh

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Afaik by the start of the 18th C the typical dial size was 12" but the earlier sizes of 10 and 11" were no doubt still used thereafter especially on provincial longcases.
 

rstl99

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Afaik by the start of the 18th C the typical dial size was 12" but the earlier sizes of 10 and 11" were no doubt still used thereafter especially on provincial longcases.
Thanks Jonathan. Yes, in flipping through Barder's book I was reminded that older clocks (late 17th early 18th) had smaller dials, and as you say later ones generally get larger (12-13"). In the latter 18th, Hedge was supplying these modest 30 hour single or double-handed clocks to cottages and farms around Colchester, and I suppose that having smaller dials would be a way of keeping costs down.
Regards.
 

novicetimekeeper

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10" is pretty common for thirty hours in the brass dial period, and smaller too. As the only hole needed in the dial is for the hand(s) then there were not the limitations that winding arbours could bring so smaller dialled longcase are found too, I have a 9" longcase and another as a hooded clock that would once have been a longcase. I've seen hooded and hook and spike down to 5".
 
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