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French clockmaker or factory marked GAY and a strange datewheel construction

P.Hageman

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Jul 20, 2014
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While I was disassembling my newly accuired French portico clock for a good cleaning and oiling, I noticed the frontplate of the movement is marked "Gay" or "Cay" , does anyone know what these letter mean?
Furthermore I found that the date wheel on this clock is driven by the springbarrel teeth of the striketrain!! I have never ever seen that before, why would you not choose the goingtrain for that? See the red arrow on the second picture.

Gay merk.JPG datum aandrijving.JPG
 

P.Hageman

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Ralph, thanks! There seem to have been a lot with that name. Indeed that could be the maker of the roulant!
 

zedric

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There was also an Emile Gay who worked in the 19th century. He partnered with George’s Lamaille to make clocks under the marks EGL and GL, and later had a partnership with Vicarino to form Gay, Vicarino and Co.
 

zedric

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This promotional piece from “The Watchmaker and Jeweller, Silversmith and Optician”, 1894, describes the shop of Gay, Lamaille and Co in Charterhouse Street (they were trading from at least 1861, initially based in Red Lion Square).

The same entrance hall leads us to Messrs. Gay, Lamaille and Co., an old firm long celebrated for every description of the better-class English and French clocks. Here may be seen grandfather's clocks, of superb design and construction, with every modern addition ; elaborate bracket clocks, which peal away like young "Big Bens," French clocks of every period of art, old Empires, the Louis, buhls, bronzes, marbles, ormolus, and art chinas, while the difficulty in describing the carriage clocks would perhaps only be exceeded in a similar attempt at a catalogue of what one might call the novelties. The whole of the goods are such as one sees in the very best houses in the trade…..

…Turn, for instance, to the interesting display of novelties one can always find at the gallery of Gay Lamaille and Co., of Charterhouse-street. I never go there without being struck either by the beauty of some of the old Empire or Louis pieces, or more often by the entirely novel productions of the firm. One of the latest productions, which I am informed by my West End friends is taking well, is a remarkable admixture of the Occidental classics and Japanese.

There is one set called " the Shakespeare," in which the body of the clock is of classic design in a lovely dark copper bronze, the capitals and bases, together with the panels, being polychroic metal-work. In the centre panels of the clock is displayed a charming representation of the well-known play scene in "Hamlet," executed in a style that only the Japanese turn out. I will not say can, because I believe that when the demand is raised Occidentals will be able in a short time to do this work just as well as the Orientals, especially after what has recently taken place in connection with the enamels. But to return to the " Shakespeare " set. The two vases are also bronze, and upon the medallions are scenes from " Romeo and Juliet." Altogether they are the most delicate, beautiful, refined productions of the kind I ever remember feasting my eyes upon.
 

P.Hageman

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Zedric, thanks for this most interesting piece of history which can be linked to my clock. Fascinating to read about " an old firm long celebrated for every description of the better-class English and French clocks " I already knew by only looking at this clock it was outstanding quality, but the Gay firm was more or less known for theyre quality then.

grootte.JPG
 

Ralph

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The Charterhouse firm sounds like a retailer, and in operation much later then when the clock was probably made. I don't think they would have marked the movement, but who knows??

Googling Comminges clock comes up with a number of top notch clocks. One I mistook for yours, until I scrutinized it bit more.

Ralph
 

zedric

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Gay Lamaille and Co were both manufacturers and retailers. Emile Gay ran the manufacturing business in Paris, while Lamaille was a businessman. I doubt they made all the clocks they sold though.

They used various marks on clocks they made, including EGL, GL, GLC, Gay Vicarino, and I’m sure that at some point when Gay was between partners they would have used Gay (possibly when Lamaille was in Australia, first representing the French clock industry at the Melbourne International show, then trying to set up businesses in Australia and New Zealand).

Their marks are seen mostly on carriage clocks, but also on other clocks including longcase clocks, so they certainly made a wide variety. Lamaille also visited the US international expos as a representative of France later in life.

of course, I can’t say for sure that they made the clock in question, but they were an interesting firm, most known today for the carriage clocks marked “patent surety roller”
 

Ralph

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I'd be interested in seeing more detail on the calendar mechanism. Back of the dial, the barrel or strike, whatever drives the calendar pawl.

Ralph
 

P.Hageman

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Ralph, I already have the clock assembled after cleaning and oiling, so I had to take a picture while the movement was in situ. As you can see on the picture the arbor that drives the calender pawl is driven by the springbarrel of the strike train. I have been thinking why the clockmaker would do this, assuming that he had a good reason, Then I was thinking, this clock is a high precision clock, so anything that would interfere with the going train needed to be avoided. Hence the calender is driven by the strike train. That could be a (the) reason to construct it this way:???:??

datumaandrijving.JPG
 
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Ralph

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Thank you. It sort of confuses me, how it advances the calendar. I have a French clock with a day/month off the center, that I have not had apart and thought yours might give me some insight.

Ralph
 

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