Early Seth Thomas

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Mar 31, 2011.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    I hope it's kosher that I'm actually lifting an earlier post I made to another thread on another forum. Just think it my garner more interest on the wood works forum and it seems relevant in light of Emit's posting of his lovely ST wooden works.

    It's a Seth Thomas that I believe dove tails well with earlier discussions of 1. the development of early bronze looking glass clocks (see https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=67269&page=2 for the discussion of a wonderful Jerome, Darrow & Co clock Peter acquired) 2. when clocks are made from parts intended for other uses.

    The clock at first looks more or less like a pillar and splat. The case is mahogany veneer on pine. Unusual for this case style are the rather chunky stencilled 1/4 columns rather than the 1/2 columns typically seen on this case style. The clock has what appears to be a rubbed out later shellac overcoat over the old finish which has darkened and alligatored. There are some veneer hurts on the base, a crack in the spat on the viewer's right was repaired, and the crest return on the viewer's right is well replaced. The clock otherwise survives in nice condition. The single divided door has an original clear upper glass, the lower is an old mirror with a back board with various 19th century repair dates pencilled in that wonderful Victorian script.

    The multipieced back board with a tin cover over the opening for the movement bears the label of Seth Thomas. Notice, it's a short label that covers only the lower portion...kinda like what one would expect to find in a pillar and scroll. The outer surface of the back board is covered with a sheet of what looks like wall paper. This was often done later to "seal" the clock from dust. Carefully lifting around the edges, the back boards appear to retain their original cut nailing and are undisturbed.

    I think the clock has a rather pretty polychromed wood dial with gilt gesso highlights with an inner chapter ring. Also, could fit right into a pillar and scroll or I suppose a transition clock by this maker.

    Wait a second. Look where the pendulum bob is hanging. Too high up? A short drop movement, like one might expect in a pillar and scroll or transition clock? What's going on. Everything fits, no extra rail holes, no evidence of alterations.

    Well, I had the priviledge of discussing the clock with Chris Bailey. This clock was once in his personal collection. It apparently represents an attempt to utilize available parts in a taller case style that was replacing the pillar and scroll. This is probably one of the earliest forms of this style of clock that Seth Thomas produced, probably in the late 1820's.

    RM
     

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  2. michaelf318is

    michaelf318is Registered User

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    A terrific post and what I love about collecting clocks. The historical sleuthing is as fascinating as the variety of styles, the exquisite engineering and the dovetailing with the larger story of our clocks as they change hands through the years.

    Your reconstruction of the origin is convincing and you certainly own a rare horological transition 'caught in the act'.
     
  3. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Chris Bailey has commented to me that the stenciling on these very early examples tends to be bolder, and to hold up better over the years, than just slightly later stenciling- this clock is certainly a good illustration of that idea.
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks for your kind comments.

    It's also interesting to compare the movement in my clock with that in Emit's. Some subtle differences, but would appear the the escape wheel in mine has more teeth...a difference to accommodate the difference in pendulum length?

    RM
     
  5. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Yes, as you said, probably a pillar & scroll movement, also used in short transition clocks, movement type 1.511.
     

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