FOUND THIS BRASS DIAL LONG CASE CLOCK YESTERDAY WITH MOST ORNATE CASE I'VE SEEN

Chris Klausen

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Feb 17, 2020
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Hi everyone. Just looking for some insight into this clocks possible history. I believe It's an 18th century English dial by William Womersley. The case looks German to me and sadly when I got there I discovered the movement is a later Seth Thomas 1880's?. In those days did Germany import English dials tout in their cases? I have it laying down because I'm repairing the bottom of the case.Thank you in advance.

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bruce linde

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Looks like someone drilled new holes in the dial to accommodate the S. Thomas Movement
 

Chris Klausen

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I agree. It's a beautiful clock but I was obviously very disappointed after driving 4 hours to pick it up. I didn't pay much, the owner was very nice but didn't know anything about clocks. Thank you
 

Chris Klausen

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Yes. I'm just hoping that there's a chance the dial and case started out life together. If that's true I'd feel a lot better about the later movement.
Thanks for replying.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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I believe the usual opinion is that carving of this sort on old English cases is almost always a later alteration. The full animal carvings on the corners of the trunk would have been applied; possibly also the figure in the center of the trunk door.
 

Chris Klausen

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Thank you. So you feel it's an English case? As I did my research today I was turning away from my thought that it was German and also thinking it's English.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Hi everyone. Just looking for some insight into this clocks possible history. I believe It's an 18th century English dial by William Womersley. The case looks German to me and sadly when I got there I discovered the movement is a later Seth Thomas 1880's?. In those days did Germany import English dials tout in their cases? I have it laying down because I'm repairing the bottom of the case.Thank you in advance.

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Someone got creative.

RE: the case. We used to call these Victorian "carve-ups". In the later 19th and early 20th centuries, people would take relatively unadorned furniture, typically made from oak, and add all sorts of often fussy carvings as this is what sold. Yes, whether this carving is "right" and original has been argued here and elsewhere repeatedly. I think if you compare much of this type of thing to legitimate period carvings and the motifs used on English furniture, and I say it is English, I think you will find much is NOT original. I maintain that is the instance here. It is a Victorian perception of an early style.

By the way, this type of thing is not restricted to English stuff. A relatively early American but unadorned oak 6 board blanket box, bible box or other piece of furniture was/is a prime candidate for morphing into a Dennis-Searle school carved piece. A REAL shame because any American furniture that early is super rare. My vague recollection is that there is/was a Willard tall case @ the museum in Grafton, MA where the case was carved up, too.

At least you got dead beat escapement ST movement. Shame they removed the stop works.

RM
 

jmclaugh

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An interesting and unusual dial especially the small aperture top right of the dial centre with what looks like 15 showing.

Loomes lists a William Womersley Halifax pre-1785 and later at Huddersfield. It is an uncommon surname but there are a few listed in Huddersfield earlier and later and so perhaps a family concern. The notes for two, not William, say the dial was signed with no place name.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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I think the aperture with the "15" at upper right is the day of the lunar month and connected with the penny moon aperture. 15 is about right for a full moon. The date wheel below the hands is interesting, as it seems most of the engraving that's visible just turns with the date and always looks the same. Unfortunately, it appears that wheel was destroyed as it would have been in the way of the new winding holes. At the very least it must have been notched out to accommodate them.
 
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Chris Klausen

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Feb 17, 2020
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Thanks Jeremy. You're right! The dial is notched. Can you tell me why they replaced movements back then? Like I said I think the movement is 1880's which is the same time they would have added the carvings to the case. I wonder if the movement wore out or whether it was part of an overall Victorian update. Chris
 

novicetimekeeper

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People have always preferred 8 day to 30 hour clocks. That's why many brass dial 30 hour clocks had dummy winding holes to fool house guests into thinking the owner had a better more expensive clock. 30 hours stopped being made in London by the first few years of the 18th century but they continued to be made and sold in the provinces till beyond 1830.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

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It's true, 8-day clocks are more convenient than 30-hour clocks. Also, 30-hour longcase movements can be noisy, especially as they strike. But I find that 30-hour clocks are often quirky and have interesting features (like yours did) and unusual escapements or other animations.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I love 30 hour clocks, far more variation and inventiveness, lots of quirky individual provincial flourishes. Some makers rarely made anything else. Some made by blacksmiths who knocked a few out in the winter when they were a bit low on work, others made by specialists with respectable outputs over long careers.

They confound the books often too, there are plenty of rack striking ones out there, quite a few rolling moon. Single handers are not an indication of age and nor are posted frames. Just part of the fun of collecting them.
 

jmclaugh

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One feature of 30 hour over 8 day longcases is the Huygens endless rope/chain system used in them provides maintaining power which is unusual on 8 day clocks so 30 hour clocks, all other things being equal, keep better time as 8 day ones lose power and therefore time when winding.
 

P.Hageman

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What a most interesting 30 hour clock this must have been!! What a pity someone in the past seperated it from its original movement. This dial shows so much individual style, just like Novicetimekeeper says: That why I love 30 hour clocks so much! These early 30 hour clocks are mostly so full of character.
 

novicetimekeeper

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One feature of 30 hour over 8 day longcases is the Huygens endless rope/chain system used in them provides maintaining power which is unusual on 8 day clocks so 30 hour clocks, all other things being equal, keep better time as 8 day ones lose power and therefore time when winding.
Never really thought of it like that but one of my 30 hours that was run continuously was accurate to a minute or two a month. I corrected it perhaps every six weeks.
 

Room 335

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Hi Chris, it is a nice clock, super dial as others have said and the case is impressive even if later modified.

I am intrigued by the position of the moon disk and 'age of moon' inset... if the disk sits vertically above the dial centre there surely would not be enough room to the dial centre... perhaps it is offset or has some more complicated drive? Do you have any pictures of the rear of the dial?

thanks,
Richard
 

novicetimekeeper

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Hi Chris, it is a nice clock, super dial as others have said and the case is impressive even if later modified.

I am intrigued by the position of the moon disk and 'age of moon' inset... if the disk sits vertically above the dial centre there surely would not be enough room to the dial centre... perhaps it is offset or has some more complicated drive? Do you have any pictures of the rear of the dial?

thanks,
Richard
That's normal for a penny moon, it only has 59 teeth and is driven by the same flag that drives the date usually
 

Room 335

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That's normal for a penny moon, it only has 59 teeth and is driven by the same flag that drives the date usually
Yes but if the 'age of moon' calibration is part of the same disk it does not appear to have enough room... I know sometimes pictures can be deceptive though.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Yes but if the 'age of moon' calibration is part of the same disk it does not appear to have enough room... I know sometimes pictures can be deceptive though.
Ah yes, sorry I see what you mean. I would think the moon disc drives that date wheel separately, we need a pic of the back of the dial.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Must be a perspective thing then, I measured off the picture of the front and the lunar date seemed too far out to be covered by the penny moon disc, but now when you look at the back it clearly isn't.
 

Room 335

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Thanks Chris,
yes the small offset just allows enough room for the moon disk and lunar date although it seems unlikely from the front.
The moon disk should work ok if there is a suitable pin/ tab from the hour wheel? shame about the calendar disk though... could be repaired but currently locked by the winding arbour (I think this came up earlier in the thread).
 

novicetimekeeper

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As the date is trapped by the arbour and the same flag drives both I would think that unless you remove the top teeth to enable the calendar to be missed by the flag it won't be possible to restore the lunar dial operation.
 

Room 335

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As the date is trapped by the arbour and the same flag drives both I would think that unless you remove the top teeth to enable the calendar to be missed by the flag it won't be possible to restore the lunar dial operation.
Yes good point. It may still be possible though if the date disk is very close to the dial and the moon disk further back so that the pin engages one and rides over the other. Depends on the tolerances really, there would be a risk of locking perhaps, personally I would give it a go.
 

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