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Diamond-Shape Escutcheon for Terry Clock Door

Songbill

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I inherited this Samuel Terry Pillar & Scroll shelf clock. During the many decades in my aunt's house, it was always missing its original small diamond-shaped brass escutcheon on the key hole.To alleviate the ugly hole left when the original was pried off, possibly done 100 years or so ago due to a missing key, I installed the modern one seen here. I really want to install a small diamond-shaped brass escutcheon like the 19th century original but I can't locate one for sale anywhere on the web. Any idea on where I might be able to obtain one?

20210918_101020.jpg
 

Robbie Pridgen

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I inherited this Samuel Terry Pillar & Scroll shelf clock. During the many decades in my aunt's house, it was always missing its original small diamond-shaped brass escutcheon on the key hole.To alleviate the ugly hole left when the original was pried off, possibly done 100 years or so ago due to a missing key, I installed the modern one seen here. I really want to install a small diamond-shaped brass escutcheon like the 19th century original but I can't locate one for sale anywhere on the web. Any idea on where I might be able to obtain one?

View attachment 673551
I inherited this Samuel Terry Pillar & Scroll shelf clock. During the many decades in my aunt's house, it was always missing its original small diamond-shaped brass escutcheon on the key hole.To alleviate the ugly hole left when the original was pried off, possibly done 100 years or so ago due to a missing key, I installed the modern one seen here. I really want to install a small diamond-shaped brass escutcheon like the 19th century original but I can't locate one for sale anywhere on the web. Any idea on where I might be able to obtain one?

View attachment 673551
Songbill, I’ve been searching also for the same style escutcheon and can’t find one, even at Timesavers or Merrits. All I can recommend is to keep checking EBay and Etsey. Regards, Robbie 93EC0E8F-CA18-4B2D-88FB-6CE7328623EB.jpeg
 

bruce linde

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i made one for my george marsh out of an old ivory piano key topper.... but i just noticed you said brass. if you really want brass that makes it easier.... you can buy thin brass stock and then just cut and file into shape.

image_1.jpg
 
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Songbill

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i made one for my george marsh out of an old ivory piano key topper.... but i just noticed you said brass. if you really want brass that makes it easier.... you can buy thin brass stock and then just cut and file into shape.

View attachment 673604
Bruce --
Thanks for the tip. I had assumed originals were brass but perhaps mine was ivory. I'll keep looking for an original made of either.
 

bruce linde

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Sooth

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These are indeed usually ivory or bone. Beef bones (if cleaned and treated properly) can be cut and shaped to size, but it's quite a process, a mask is recommended, and you'll have to deal with the lovely smell of burning hair.

I have cut and fitted at least 3 of these for some of my own clocks. Each one is a slightly different size/angle/shape so they all need to be custom made to fit.
 

Songbill

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[QUOTE="Sooth, post: 1492357,

Sooth,
Thanks. Think perhaps I'll go with the piano key option.
 

Jim DuBois

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While true ivory keys still surface from old pianos etc, given the general stupidity of some well-meaning governmental functions, it is best to use bone when making replacement parts. Some auction houses will refuse to put up for auction anything with ivory, no matter the age. Other auction houses have been known to pry out the "offending ivory escutcheons" doing great damage to otherwise pristine clocks. I have had several of these to repair. So, bone is my choice of replacement material. And the last group of keytops I bought from eBay was all celluloid, not ivory, so there is that too.

I use a piece of masking tape placed over the escutcheon recess, rub around the edges with a pencil, then transfer the tape to my material and cut to the rubbed line. Makes a good starting point and additional shaping will be minimized. I also CNC route some of them, but usually getting the layout and drawing done accurately is more trouble than using the masking tape approach.

These examples were all from a couple of NY auction houses 3 or 4 years ago. The auction ads showed the clocks with the escutcheon in place, so they did all this damage themselves. I have made maybe 50 of these in the recent past. So, bone yes, ivory no if you are planning to resell the clock. I have also been making parts from the faux ivory products used for gun grips and the like. Just finished making several wheels for a couple of ivory clocks, made the replacement of both bone and faux ivory. I have also used deer or elk antler material. Also, clean dog chew bones, made of steer bone, can be had at your local pet stores

IMG_2549.JPG 20170714_145132.jpg IMG_2550.JPG IMG_2548.JPG 20171023_161721 1.jpg 20211001_064958 1.jpg 20210620_180720.jpg 20210705_135959 (Large).jpg
 
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Songbill

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While true ivory keys still surface from old pianos etc, given the general stupidity of some well-meaning governmental functions, it is best to use bone when making replacement parts. Some auction houses will refuse to put up for auction anything with ivory, no matter the age. Other auction houses have been known to pry out the "offending ivory escutcheons" doing great damage to otherwise pristine clocks. I have had several of these to repair. So, bone is my choice of replacement material. And the last group of keytops I bought from eBay was all celluloid, not ivory, so there is that too.

I use a piece of masking tape placed over the escutcheon recess, rub around the edges with a pencil, then transfer the tape to my material and cut to the rubbed line. Makes a good starting point and additional shaping will be minimized. I also CNC route some of them, but usually getting the layout and drawing done accurately is more trouble than using the masking tape approach.

These examples were all from a couple of NY auction houses 3 or 4 years ago. The auction ads showed the clocks with the escutcheon in place, so they did all this damage themselves. I have made maybe 50 of these in the recent past. So, bone yes, ivory no if you are planning to resell the clock. I have also been making parts from the faux ivory products used for gun grips and the like. Just finished making several wheels for a couple of ivory clocks, made the replacement of both bone and faux ivory. I have also used deer or elk antler material. Also, clean dog chew bones, made of steer bone, can be had at your local pet stores

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Jim,
Thanks. Your comment and photos of what happened at the auctions is appalling. I believe the ivory escutcheon on each of those 19th century clocks would have met the antiques exemption of the law. Not sure what the dealers were thinking. Mine is a multi-generation family clock which will eventually go to my nephew. So, no auction but still pause for thought about using ivory. I'll see what I can do with an attempt at bone or perhaps just leave it as I've got it now. Really was hoping to get the clock back to its original appearance.
 
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Bill K

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Jim's post pretty well covers it. I have used old piano key ivory many times on old American Empire furniture, the original ivory or bone escutcheons always seem to be missing. Done several clocks as well. Old ivory can be brittle so proceed carefully when cutting, drilling or sanding and it does smell when you do, but no worse than the hide glue that works well and is appropriate to secure your old/new escutcheon. A good source for a little ivory is your local piano repair person. Usually when you tell them what you are doing they will be happy share a little of the ivory "stash" most of them maintain. A little goes a long way if you are careful. I can't speak for any legalities concerning the very justified "ivory trade" regs. since I don't sell my furniture or clocks. I have never run into issues buying such however. The ignorance and lack of responsibility illustrated by the vandalism performed by people who should know better on some of the clocks shown on this thread is disheartening. Considering the age of what we're dealing with I would hope we'd be "legal" at least here in the States, internationally might be a wholly different bag o' worms. Good luck with your repairs!
 

Songbill

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Jim's post pretty well covers it. I have used old piano key ivory many times on old American Empire furniture, the original ivory or bone escutcheons always seem to be missing. Done several clocks as well. Old ivory can be brittle so proceed carefully when cutting, drilling or sanding and it does smell when you do, but no worse than the hide glue that works well and is appropriate to secure your old/new escutcheon. A good source for a little ivory is your local piano repair person. Usually when you tell them what you are doing they will be happy share a little of the ivory "stash" most of them maintain. A little goes a long way if you are careful. I can't speak for any legalities concerning the very justified "ivory trade" regs. since I don't sell my furniture or clocks. I have never run into issues buying such however. The ignorance and lack of responsibility illustrated by the vandalism performed by people who should know better on some of the clocks shown on this thread is disheartening. Considering the age of what we're dealing with I would hope we'd be "legal" at least here in the States, internationally might be a wholly different bag o' worms. Good luck with your repairs!
Bill,
Thanks for you reply and experience with ivory. That's great info.
 

bruce linde

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found this:

Endangered Species Act and African Elephant Conservation Act

As of February 25, 2014, instruments and bows containing ivory were not permitted into the USA. American musicians who were performing intercontinentally were not allowed to bring back their instruments while returning home. The original law pertained to instruments purchased since February 26, 1976. Therefore, even if the instrument was made and sold legally, the new law forbade the return of these instruments to the states.

These new restrictions were placed because the Endangered Species Act recognizes African and Asian elephants as a highly threatened population. Legislation has stated that ivory over one hundred years old is classified as "antique" and is considered legal. Therefore, the only ivory that can be considered antique and legal is mammoth ivory or fossil ivory. However, any instrument or bow containing ivory will be confiscated at the US border until it is proven (by the musician) to be antique. If proof cannot be given immediately, the instrument in question will be confiscated and eventually destroyed. This new law states that selling an instrument with ivory, or replacing a broken part with ivory is charged as trafficking an endangered species. This crime can result in large fines and even jail.

On May 15, 2014, an important revision was made to the ivory regulations. The revision stated that it was permissible to travel with instruments and bows containing ivory purchased before February 25, 2014. Although this solves the previous issue, it complicates the job of instrument makers and musicians for the future.
 

Bill K

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A very informative thread. Made me do some research. Musicians and various people in the antiques trade were supposedly involved in the writing of the latest version of the "endangered species" trade law so it seems that the law's intent is to try to discourage the use of ivory by collectors and small time restorers not "working for the public" while going after those who trade in these materials with a vengeance. Certainly not a bad thing. Even though almost all the ivory we encounter is over 100 years old, and while it disturbs my "purist mentality," I believe that I will follow Jim DuBois' advice and rely on bone, or maybe try deer antler, for these damaged and missing plates and "avoid possible hassles." I know I'm preaching to the choir but If anyone out there feels the need to remove their ivory key hole plates.... for heaven's sake use gentle heat (hide glue) or the proper glue solvent (for more modern adhesives) and dental picks. Don't just rip them out like was perpetrated on the clocks in Jim's Oct 1 post. Old veneer is brittle and not fun to replace. It was someone's craftsmanship from ages past, respect them and it!
Thanks everyone for the good information, that's what these threads are all about!
 

Jim DuBois

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And then we have little potential problems like this......so far I have not ever had an issue with this, most likely because none of the various sycophants have bothered to look at any of these? Good ideas taken to extremes serve no one well?

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Bill K

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Legislation with good intent resulting in unforeseen and unintended consequences for citizens not originally intended to be the focus of the law. Intent is one thing, application/enforcement is something else all together. Probably was a problem in Babylon and ancient Athens but the more complex society becomes (and things have gotten way too complex) the worse such seems to get. My wife says I was born well after my time...I believe she's correct (or maybe I'm just too old)!
Songbill, best of luck on what you decide to do, the rest of us will face this quandary sooner or later with our old clocks and furniture. Again, enjoyed this thread, thanks for posting.
 

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