Did Ansonia ever silver gilt (or electroplate) steel cases?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by shetalksaboutclocks, Aug 31, 2016.

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  1. shetalksaboutclocks

    shetalksaboutclocks Registered User

    Aug 20, 2016
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    A specific question for a specific clock. This is what it looked like when it arrived from the eBay seller:
    image.jpg
    After ultrasonic cleaning, lots of Brasso, and lots of research, I am fairly certain that this is the clock piece of the Ansonia Dance shelf clock circa 1906.
    image.png
    Down to the filed off hand of
    the dancer, this is exactly what my clock looks like - except this clock is brass with gold gilt and mine is steel with silver gilt (I'm pretty sure). This is what my case looks like right now.
    image.jpg
    Could this be a genuine Ansonia Dance clock casejust made with a different metal? Did Ansonia ever do that? I will hopefully learn more when my Tran Duy Ly inter library loan comes through.
    Let me know what you think. Regarding the clock itself: definitely Ansonia.
     
  2. John Arrowood

    John Arrowood Registered User
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    The clock case was likely made of spelter/white metal/pot metal and then plated with other metals to achieve the final finish. It would take a lot of expensive machining to produce a steel part with that much detail and pot metal lends itself to being a good medium for casting.
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    gilt is the gold, so silver gilt is silver with a coating of gold. Gilt being derived from gilded. I agree spelter would be the usual choice when an alternative to bronze is required.
     
  4. shetalksaboutclocks

    shetalksaboutclocks Registered User

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    Thanks. So it seems that perhaps this could be a spelter case with silver electroplate (not gilt, thanks). What makes me hesitant about it not being steel is the following close-up of the back of the case. I'm not an expert on metals but this does feel like steel to me. It has the expected hardness of steel, where spelter sounds soft. I also think I see traces of glue though. Perhaps the ornamentation is spelter (with something shiny and silver colored played on it for sure) and the back of the case, the hollow cylinder, is a replacement. Again, this is an exact match for the unique shape of the Ansonia Dance shelf clock, including a filed area where the figurine's hand/arm should be. Sounds like spelter was common in art nouveau early 20th century sculptures and clock cases, and that it was known to break at vulnerable corners.
    image.jpg
     
  5. jacks61fd

    jacks61fd Registered User

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    #5 jacks61fd, Aug 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
    At the start of the novelty clock section in Tran Duy Ly's Ansonia Book (Arlington Book Co.) it states "Most white metal and brass clock cases and metal trim were gilded or silver plated. The thin layer of gilt or silver can easily be removed while cleaning these surfaces.
     
  6. shetalksaboutclocks

    shetalksaboutclocks Registered User

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    image.jpg
    This is part of the reason I'm so sure it's silver plated. This one section has chipped off revealing the metal (also vaguely silver in color) underneath. I am of course being very careful to stop further chips from occurring. Thanks for your help all!! A few more pictures of the case for
    those interested: (Hey, it's a lovely case without all that tarnish!)
    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
     

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  7. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    if you think it might be steel try a magnet, it seems very unlikely to be austenitic stainless so should be a reliable test.
     

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