- Nov 6, 2012
When were they introduced, and what are the most notable characteristics of the early steeple clocks - case design and movement types.
Not sure about the absolute limits but I believe the American ones became popular mid 1800s after wooden works movements gave way to brass. The early ones ran one day and had brass springs. Steeple clocks characteristally have, well, two or more steeples. Lots of different variations.When were they introduced, and what are the most notable characteristics of the early steeple clocks - case design and movement types.
Early steeple clocks are also found with ripple moldings on the cases, and, in double-steeple cases, with movements powered by "wagon springs" (aka "lever springs"). I think the earliest steeples more commonly had simple cone-shaped finials, with the later standard being the more ornately turned variety.
I had a Terry and Andrews in for service a few years ago. It was a 1-day clock and it had brass springs and the sharp pointed steeples. The sharp points are easily broken so it seems entirely possible and reasonable that during the past 170 years that some steeple clocks would have had their broken steeples replaced. It would also seem reasonable that clockmakers soon realized that this style was very fragile and opted for something different. I have no idea when the earliest example of each style was.I have a Brewster and Ingraham's 30-hour, brass-spring steeple, which must be one of the earliest ones. However, it has the fancy steeples. I don't know whether they were replaced long ago or whether this style finial was available early on, even if not common.
I think 1845 is generally considered the beginning of this style.
Informative article - thank youThere is an interesting but undocumented (and possibly apocryphal) story (mentioned by Roberts in his Contributions of Joseph Ives, that Elias Ingraham designed the sharp gothic case, whittling it out on a return voyage from Venezuela where he had gone following his 1840 bankruptcy. A bit horologically romantic, I suppose, but I also suppose that Ingraham, who was an early major figure in designing and manufacturing clock cases, may have played a role in the development of the sharp gothic.
That aside, an interesting place to start looking at the development of early steeple clocks is Joyce Wahler's article in the June 1986 NAWCC Bulletin, pp. 195 ff.
Thanks for mentioning the supplement by Dr. Shaffer, Jim. Just FTR, this is one of the supplements that are available on line. Here is a link (I hope it works).[/QUOTE
Yeah, I wish all the supplements were on line. I didn't link to it as I was thinking that non NAWCC members who read this thread can't access that part of the library? Is that correct, or not? I still personally prefer paper copies but recognize the value of on line resources, more and more. Much easier to find, and much easier to search.
It is completely beyond my comprehension why people with a serious interest in clocks and or watches avoid joining up. I am a 40+ year member and I owe much if not all my knowledge to either the NAWCC or the people I have met because of the NAWCC. The resources available are beyond the pale. However, many are greatly underutilized I fear.Jim, Columbia is getting some new website software that "might" be more easily navigated. It is just one more reason to join, to access what is on line. The reason some are not on line has to do with permissions and copyrights.