Edward Ball, Newport Pagnell Chinese lacquer longcase 30 hour.

Chris Radano

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Feb 18, 2004
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Edward Ball is listed in Loomes only "early 18th c.". No doubt about that with this example, a good case which appears to be original to the dial/movement.
So this being my first longcase, I was very leery about having 'beginner's bad luck". This clock looked good in the photos. I thought this clock checked all the boxes. I didn't view this clock before I bought it. So I went to pick it up from the auction. I saw this clock across the room....absolutely stunning! Looks very imposing and original. Now we know the hands are later replacements, no big deal. It is an 11 inch dial, so it may not be super easy to find more correct hands.
It wasn't until after I got home and looked at the movement, that I didn't see any strike work (rack striking). Which is funny because I hope to have this near the bedroom so I wouldn't have it strike anyway. But even if I viewed the clock before the auction, I may have missed this...the bell and hammer are present.
Also, there is no means to advance the calendar wheel. It's a lovely earlier dial otherwise. There is wheatear border engraving. I have the calendar wheel moved to show the flat topped "8".
And the case is excellent and original. One of the side glasses fell out of the hood but I have it. Not bad for a case going on 300 years old.

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Chris Radano

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Here are some more pics of the dial and movement. The movement is very robust for a 30 hour. Obviously it was built to last, an upscale 30 hour movement if you will. There are 4 wheels in the time train, and the escape wheel is relatively small. Also, I tried to get a good pic of the click (last pic), but not easy. It's an 8 day style click that ratchets on the spokes of the strike train main wheel. So I would like to keep the clock, because an original caddy top case doesn't come along every day. But how complete the movement will ever become again is up in the air. It's the price of someone complaining about the loud bell 100 or so years ago, for all we know.

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novicetimekeeper

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It's a great first English longcase a nice early 30 hour. A shame the rack strike has been removed but you can have fun putting it back. Those toggle clicks on such an early clock suggest a mod to chain from rope, they were sold as kits. That may be when the strike was removed.

It has a lovely dial and some nice early features like the finned and knopped pillars and the wheatear edging. Rack strike 30 hours are unusual though not rare, but this is an early one. Darken and Hooper say it was only done for a repeater, so you may find evidence of that too. Often the repeat is removed.

I only have a couple of plated rack strike, one has repeat, the other has a strike/no strike lever, another reason for having rack strike on a 30 hour.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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That's a very handsome clock. The calendar wheel is easy to replace; you can measure from the existing post and install the pin yourself to engage properly with the calendar ring. I think a fourth wheel in the time train of a 30-hour clock so a seconds dial can be fitted is pretty uncommon. By the time the maker added that, the calendar feature with a date ring, and the rack striking, it was practically an 8-day clock. I've had one of these lacquer cases for a long time, and the stability of the lacquer finish is a long-standing problem. I had it restored once and it's ready for another restoration, as the lacquer continually flakes. Yours looks pretty sound.
 

WIngraham

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Very stately clock, I really like this style. Most longcase I see, that I like, are not in pickup range. Nice find in great shape, that auction house gets some good clocks. Do you plan to silver the chapter ring?

Will
 

Chris Radano

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Thank you everyone for your comments.
It looks like one of the small motion work wheels is missing a tooth, I will look at that again.
So I have a lot to consider. Would having an 18th c. 8 day donor longcase movement be a candidate for restoring the strike work? Could any rack and snail from a longcase do?
It does bug me the strike work is missing, even though it would be silenced most of the time if it were running.

This is my second 18th c. clock with a Chinese lacquer case. Both are unrestored. I plan on applying plenty of Renaissance wax to the finish and leave as is. That will take me some time and money.
I suppose restoring the dial would be nice, too. It is sleepy the way it is now. I noticed one of the spandrels has a replacement screw, and that screw head is broken and the spandrel is loose.
And yes I have been looking for a longcase for several months, and one of the criteria I looked for was pick up range. Picking up the clock was a bit of an investment of time and money.
So Here is another project in the queue. I rarely acquire clocks that are ready to run. They seem to always need a little something. Also I tried to acquire a longcase as if I would just have one. This is it. I was also considering local made, would not be as early, would be more likely to have height issues for our lower ceiling, and likely be more expensive to purchase. In the end, I wanted something decent and mostly original. This clock fills the latter requirement although there are missing strike parts. The case is certainly impressive.
 

novicetimekeeper

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you can buy blank racks over here and gathering pallet blanks too. It might be easier to get to fit the positions available on the dial that way though you would have to cut the teeth.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I'll take the dial off one of mine today so you can compare, it isn't as early and does not have a repeat trip
 

daveR

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Hi Chris, a nice looking clock particularly, as you say , with its pagoda top. You would need to be more than very lucky to find a strike mechanism from another long case that dropped in! They were all pretty much individually made and fitted, with the relationship of the rack to the snail fairly critical according to where the pin is. Laurie Penman has done a few recent articles in the "Clocks" magazine about this. As for the calendar wheel, it is fairly easy to calculate based on your individual clock and you will find people like Cousins and others have pre cut wheels in different diameters. I think you still need to turn a mount according to the height of the calendar and fit it. Indeed the calendars are a bit difficult to advance manually which may suggest why so many have gone. People found at the end of the year that the date was always seven days behind (or six in a leap year!!)
David
 

Jim DuBois

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I suspect most of the missing strike parts will have to be custom-made. As others have noted 30 hr rack and snail strikers are not common. Finding a donor is not likely, at least one that has parts of a necessary size etc. Having done such projects in the past, but never on a 30 hr R&S, I can testify it isn't a walk in the park. You will need a fairly uncommon sort of restorer and it will not be cheap to do. Here is one I still own, but other than being a 30 hr R&S strike, it has nothing in common with your clock. This one is key wind and that makes it a really weird example. Recreating a rack, snail, gathering pallet and all the lift levers, as well as replacing missing wheels, pinions, and arbors is an extensive process and in my experience often painful.

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novicetimekeeper

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This is the only plated rack strike 30 I have that would be similar. It has a strike silent lever but a lot of unexplained holes and pins, plus the casting quality is poor.

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novicetimekeeper

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Although later, and not great quality like yours, it does have the through the plate slot of yours and also the earlier style axe head on the lever.
 

Chris Radano

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Luckily all the wheels and opinions between the plates are still there. It's the strike work behind the dial that's missing. Which is why it was not easy to spot. I may have found a donor already, but not certain. But I found a movement that isn't too far off from mine, maybe 10 years younger.
 

Ralph

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Chris, congratulations on another nice pick up. You really know how to find them.

Cheers, Ralph
 

Chris Radano

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The clock was sold in our local area.
Going back to a possible donor movement, I think I found one that was made from the same kit or blanc. The wheel configuration looks the same from the back plate. And it's a 30 hour rack. Only problem, it's expensive. I have to sit down and do some real close up comparing. Maybe it wouldn't work, but I'm amazed I found a similar movement at all. It's not a common movement for sure.
 

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