Gideon Roberts wood works wag-on-wall

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by timeandagain, Apr 20, 2010.

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  1. timeandagain

    timeandagain Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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    I was called out to a customer's home in New Preston, CT, today to look at a number of clocks. Among the early clocks in this 1700's center chimney colonial, was a wag-on-wall woodworks clock with a paper on wood long case style dial. In a circle (glued on) between the canon arbor and the XII was written "G. Roberts" and on a second line, Bristol. A third line appears to be "No. XX (the number is unreadable). The weights are lead with brass cases, and the bob is lead with a fancy brass front. The "case" for the movement is very roughly built wood sides with a tin top. I was willing to accept this for what is was until I was ushered into another room. In that room was an early pine long case, very similar to a Riley Whiting with a simple box and cornice hood. In this case was a CT brass spring driven movement that was poorly fit into the case with a disproportionately large dial that was hand painted on wood to look like the dial on the wag-on-wall clock. It was obvious that the movement and dial did not go with this case. For the heck of it, I took the wag-on-wall clock and dial and tried to match it up with the tall case. Remarkably, the dial exactly fit the door glass. It appears to me that someone took the original woodworks movement/dial out of this case and decided to "update" the tall case clock.

    My question is this. The wag-on-wall Roberts movement is not really a tall case movement in that it has a relatively short pendulum length more in line with a typical ogee case of that period and the pendulum bob also is like one found in an ogee. The signed dial however appears to exactly match the door glass of the tall case. Is it known whether Gideon Roberts put together tall case clocks that used weight driven 30 hr woodworks movements intended for a mantle clock? Also, Roberts was known to make wag-on-wall clocks with woodworks. Are there any pictures of any of these wall clocks?
    I've attached some photos of the wag-on-wall. Sorry, no photos of the tall case.
     

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  2. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    Sorry, I don't know anything about Gideon Roberts, but that coiled gone looks to be about 70 years newer than that wooden movement. If I had to guess, I would say that someone liked to make things from parts of other clocks. Do you have a picture of the tall case clock?
     
  3. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    #3 Kevin W., Apr 20, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
    The movement looks American made, but as said about the gong.I think this clock was made up from other clocks.

    Looking at the pictures, there is newer looking wood and older looking wood, that makes up the case.
     
  4. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Great dial! It once was mated to a G. Roberts movement and seatboard and may have resided in the tall case that you mentioned (Can you post a picture of the case?) The wag set up is just a Roberts dial stuck together with a thirty hour wood shelf clock movement and an even later gong and stand, probably from a black mantle clock, circa 1910. You might ask the owners if there is a wood tall case movement remnant around the house, maybe in the attic. It would be a wonderful thing to reunite the movement with this rare dial. As far as the dial fitting the door opening of the tall case, that is not unusual, as almost all wood tall case dials from the factory production era sported 12" x 16" or so dials. Gideon Roberts used paper on wood dials much later than other makers, and died in 1813. His sons continued the business. I've attached a few pictures of a later Roberts movement and dial, from my collection.
     

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  5. timeandagain

    timeandagain Registered User

    Dec 28, 2007
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    Thanks Peter. I knew that the coiled gong was much newer and I agree that the wag-on-wall is a serious marriage. In looking at your photos of a true Roberts woodworks, it's clear that the one in my marriage is by a different maker. What threw me I guess was that there was only one set of holes in the Roberts dial and the wear around the winding arbors was substantial. But now I see that your example dial has no winding holes so it seems that when the married clock was put together the dial could have been drilled for the winding arbors. I've already asked permission to take photos of the tall case clock and will do so when I return the wag-on-wall clock.
     
  6. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

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    I'm curious. Did any American maker of wood movements make movements for tall clocks (or bare movements that were uncased) that did not have the escapement between the plates? All of the wood movements I have encountered that had exposed escape wheels were intended for shelf clocks of one variety or another.
     
  7. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Aside from Silas Hoadley's eight day wood tall case movements, I can't think of any.
    -> posts merged by system <-
    Yes, the dial has clearly been drilled, but this unfortunate and unholy arranged marriage was undoubtedly consummated long ago, hence the wear evident around the holes.

     
  8. timeandagain

    timeandagain Registered User

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    I've been back the customer's house with my camera and have taken some photos of the case. These are appended. I asked if any other woodworks clock movements might be squirreled away in the attic but they said no, the basement and attic were clean. After looking at the photos of the authentic Gideon Roberts movement from Peter, something clicked with the clock's owner. She went away and came back with the woodworks arbor and wheel also pictured. The arbor is definitely long enough to be from a tall case clock. I put the two parts together and they fit well. These parts were found in the house. One side of the wheel had a groove cut into it. It is possible that the groove was the hard stop for the strike train? The back of the case is one solid piece of pine. Mortise/tenon joinery was used in the hood. The hands were adapted to fit on the more modern brass movement, but they are of a length consistent with a tall case dial. It appears that the replacement dial was painted to resemble the original? Gideon Roberts dial, right down to the No. 187 visible in the circular makers label. What do you all think? Is this case consistent with cases built in CT around 1800?
     

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  9. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

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    Attached are some photos of my clock, with a pine case made by David White, a cabinet maker local to Longmeadow, MA. He worked from about 1775 to 1820 or so. My clock was originally owned by my great-great-great-great grandfather, David Booth, Schoolmaster, of Enfield Connecticut. There is another tall case made by him at the Longmeadow Historical Society, in the downstairs front hall. They also have a chest of drawers he made, which is, as I recall in one of the upstairs bedrooms. If ou call ahead, I am sure Linda Abrams (the curator) will be happy to have you study them. I intend to be in LOngmeadow to repair their clocks sometime in July, and will take lots of documenting photographs, as I disassemble and repair their clocks. I will also document the cases as well as I am able and time allows. (NO pun intended.)

    Incidentally, the back stencil reading 1805 was placed by David's grandson, Samuel Colton Booth, or his great grandson, David Booth II, and is the birth and death dates for his father, David Booth, Jr.. The clock appears in the inventory of estate taken upon the death of David Booth, Schoolmaster, in 1827. "WHite made the case for $7.00" is in the handwriting of David Booth, Schoolmaster. I do not recognize the handwriting inside the door that reads, "Calvin Toland [Polard?, Tolard?] New Britian Conn"

    The movement in the clock is a thirty hour wood movement. I have been unable to identify the maker.

    My avatar is a 1:12 scale model of this clock that I made for my mother's doll house.
    -> posts merged by system <-
    Attached are some photos of my clock, with a pine case made by David White, a cabinet maker local to Longmeadow, MA. He worked from about 1775 to 1820 or so. My clock was originally owned by my great-great-great-great grandfather, David Booth, Schoolmaster, of Enfield Connecticut. There is another tall case made by him at the Longmeadow Historical Society, in the downstairs front hall. They also have a chest of drawers he made, which is, as I recall in one of the upstairs bedrooms. If ou call ahead, I am sure Linda Abrams (the curator) will be happy to have you study them. I intend to be in LOngmeadow to repair their clocks sometime in July, and will take lots of documenting photographs, as I disassemble and repair their clocks. I will also document the cases as well as I am able and time allows. (NO pun intended.)

    Incidentally, the back stencil reading 1805 was placed by David's grandson, Samuel Colton Booth, or his great grandson, David Booth II, and is the birth and death dates for his father, David Booth, Jr.. The clock appears in the inventory of estate taken upon the death of David Booth, Schoolmaster, in 1827. "WHite made the case for $7.00" is in the handwriting of David Booth, Schoolmaster. I do not recognize the handwriting inside the door that reads, "Calvin Toland [Polard?, Tolard?] New Britian Conn"
    -> posts merged by system <-
    IN order to upload some photos of clocks at the Longmeadow Historical Society, I had to open a new reply. We'll see if the system merges them.

    Here are two photos of the case by David White that is owned by the Longmeadow Historical Society, and a couple of a case attributed to the Enfield, Conn shaker community. It is also owned by the Historical Society. These are two of the six clocks they own that I will be repairing this coming Summer.
     

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  10. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    That's a very nice case, typical of what was being made to house wooden movements during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. I would guess that the doors on the sides of the bonnet are later additions, as they are atypical. It is certainly likely that the dial once resided in this case, along with its original movement. At some point, someone decided to "improve" it, probably once some teeth broke in the original. That's all speculation, of course, but a likely scenario. You might counsel the owners to keep both the wag setup and the case together for the future, in case someone decides the whole is worth restoring sometime in the future.
     
  11. Dave B

    Dave B Banned

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    Judging from the one photo inside the hood, I have to agree with Peter that that door, at least, is a later addition. I say that for two reasons: First, no cabinet maker of the era would have used a piece of wood with a knot in such a prominent location; and, second, the inside back of the door is a very different color from the rest of the inside of the case. The wood looks much newer to my untrained eye. I also suspect that, had the hood been designed to have doors, they would have been flush-fit, to match the front door of the case.
     
  12. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    ...also case has been skinned and dial looks like it's been rather extensively retouched, too.

    RM
     
  13. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Bob, the dial in the last few pictures is a reproduction... the original Gideon paper on wood dial is depicted earlier in the thread. These are rare-ish dials.
     
  14. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Whoops! My bad.

    RM
     

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