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French Lantern Copy

Burkhard Rasch

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Jun 1, 2007
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bought this not expensively as the seller stated it was a copy,made probably in the seventies.I liked it anyway and an original 18th.cent. french lantern wouldn´t be affordable for me.When cleaning I found multiple signs of former repair,both well and badly done.E.g. I found pivot holes punched and bushings inserted more or less correctly.No oil sinks.Hard soldering repair of the bent arms bearing the verge´s pivots ,soft soldering with a piece of cooper applied where the bell mount was broke once a time.Both "clicks" /ratchet systems for the going and striking train are constructed in a different way.The teeth of the wheels-see motion work and great wheels-apear to be cut in the old way,allmost rectangled flancs with broad spaces between them;pinions with 6 leaves.One flag of the verge missing allmost a third of it´s width,but still functional.Alltogether it looks like a lot of wear and tear for this beast being only fourty years old.Any opinions?After a full teardown it´s running and striking verry nicely!Enjoy!
Burkhard
 

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Ralph

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What are the telltale signs that it is a copy? It looks pretty good from here.

Ralph
 

Burkhard Rasch

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This is what my impression was when I took it apart:Who ever copied this must have had detailed knowledge of how the originals looked like and were made .And no labour and efford was avoided to copy it close to the original.(look at the way the platines are "wedged" into the lantern cage.)Or could it be.....? I know nothing about this type of clock and hope that more knowledgable members chime in,maybe with pics of their own clocks,to compare!TIA
Burkhard
 

Chris Radano

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Feb 18, 2004
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Looks old to me, there is even a punched hole as evidenced by wear from use. Looks 18th c. typical construction. Nice porcelain numbers on the dial, many times there is damage.

Depending on what "affordable" means, with this economy you can find them for less than 10 years ago. The English lantern clocks are more expensive. If you are looking for a more affordable lantern clock, the French versions are a bit more reasonably priced when they are sold.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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I phoned the seller back yesterday and asked where he had aquired the clock and if he knew more about it´s history.He told me he bought it years ago at an estate sale of an old pharmacist (with lots of other antics) and didn´t know nothing about it.He doesn´t trade clocks regularly and made the statement that this was a copy only for the reason not to be made resposible for any complaint a buyer might have! So by now I´m pretty sure I bought an original- for 150€!
One must have luck sometimes!
What´s about other pics of lantern clocks to compare?
Burkhard
 

Kevin W.

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Apr 11, 2002
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I have a similar clock which is a Chinese copy, and it looks like a copy.Your clock Burkhard looks old to me.Either way i like it and glad its working dispite the problems it may have in past repair jobs.
 

Chris Radano

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I used to have a French lantern, but I sold it. Here are some photos of an unrestored 18th c. miniature English lantern from the computer files. Won't be of any help, but good to look at anyway.:cyclops::)
 

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Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks for the pics so far! As I´ve no experiance with this kind of clock I have to ask:I see some with ropes,other with chains.Where´s the difference,how can I know what my clock needs? And:some have side doors or panels,also on the back side,others-as mine- dont.Did all have a closed case and the panels got lost over the time or are there open and closed versions.I know there are books on english lantern clocks,but I don´t find info on the french counterparts in my books at least.Any recomendations?TIA
Burkhard
 

Chris Radano

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The clock uses ropes it the going wheels have spikes. The clock had side panels if there are holes to hold pins (that extended from the top and bottom of the doors) in the top + bottom plates. Many clocks that had side doors are missing the doors.

Your clock doesn't need much from what I can tell. These are not factory clocks. The clockmakers built these clock to certain standards (especially England), but really there are a lot of variations. If your clock was missing something, there may be an open area where there appears something is missing- I have one that is missing alarm work, but also there is an alarm disc on the dial so easy to tell it had an alarm. Some holes, or odd shapes cut out, on the plates that don't appear to be for any purpose may have been for casting purposes.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks Chris for Your infos.One-hopefully last-question:What weight do they need? I don´t believe that the weights that came with the clock are original.The bigger weights 1220g and is not able to pull the going train through,the strike works fine with 690g.Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Burkhard
 

Chris Radano

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Hmmmm. Are you sure the clock is not supposed to use Huygen's endless rope? It could have been designed use one weight for each movement train, being a French clock. Did you clean the movement? How smooth are the pivots? If everything is clean and smooth, try a replacement comtoise weight. Maybe Ralph can add more.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Chris,I cleaned the mvmt.,it´s running smoothly without the escapement,maybe the escapement needs adjustment.How can I see wether it takes Huygen´s endless rope?
Burkhard
 

Chris Radano

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If both going wheels have a ratchet gear for winding, then it does not use the endless rope. If one going wheel is fixed (can't remember offhand if it's the time or strike), then it's Huygen's endless rope.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Both first wheels have clicks,allthough of different design,so I´d guess it´s two ropes with two weights.What´s about the weight of each(gramms)?
Burkhard
 

Chris Radano

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Well, I have what I believe is an original lantern clock weight. 9 lb. 11 oz (4394.2 grams). However, the clock is an endless rope....so, I'd guess there is more weight required for endless rope. The older clock weights are also probably heavier that the minimum required to run the clock, to account for dirt and old lubricants (that are not as good as new oils). I suppose you have 2 counter weights as well?

If your clock has 2 different clicks, that's further evidence your clock is old. How many reproduction clocks have 2 different click designs, and punched holes?
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks,Chris,by now I´m realy convinced that this clock is old,compared it with many on the net,allthough only few are pictured in my books.But thanks to GOOGLE there is loads of pictures avaliable.I think I should take the weights as they are and play a little with the escapement,decrease the depth of the interaction of the verge flags,of cause without doing harm to the original substance,and if I don´t achieve a good result or lose patience I´ll give it to my clocksmith.And Yes,I have two counter weights!
Burkhard
 

Kevin W.

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Another nice find Burkhard, does your family like it too.
 

eskmill

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Burkhard asks in part: "I see some with ropes,other with chains.Where´s the difference,how can I know what my clock needs?"

Inspect both sprockets with a keen eye. If only one has a ratcheting pawl, then the movement was designed to use "Huygens endless rope or chain." Chain and rope sprockets both may have sharp pins. Chain sprockets usually have a recessed "nest" for the flat laying chain link.

Many rope driven movements were fitted with chains because few could splice rope and that the frayed thread from the rope over many years use mixed with the then available lubricants making an awful dirt in the pivot holes.

This is not to say that chains were better and that the conversion to chains from rope was better....chains wear terribly on both the chain and the sprockets in the same way as with motorcycle chains and the engine and wheel sprockets !
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Kevin, "like" is the wrong word for it :D but they do understand why I couldn´t let this one pass.When I come home with a new clock,my doughter´s (15y) comment usualy is: "Oh,little papi has another toy to play with..."
Burkhard
 

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