American Great Inlay Tall Clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Jim DuBois, Sep 12, 2019.

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  1. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    On occasion something remarkable surfaces. I would put this American Inlay cased tall clock in that category. It has inlay just about everywhere and it is very well done. No name on the dial and nothing really unusual about the movement and or dial to provide further clues as to who made either the clock part or the case. I would guess New York or New Jersey, but would love to collect other thoughts and or information on the case in particular.

    2018-01-24 15.36.50 (2).jpg 2018-01-24 15.36.57.jpg 2018-01-24 15.37.01.jpg 2018-01-24 15.37.05.jpg 2018-01-24 15.37.10.jpg
     
  2. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I like that the dial and the case have a connection in the decoration. If the dial is English it suggests pre 1800 and at that time this sort of decoration could be found on the latest bracket clocks but not of longcase, I think that might be because longcase were out of fashion in London where this was being used on the new smaller brackets with enamel dials.

    The detail in the arch with the hot sand technique was part of longcase clocks a century earlier, and parquetry longcase appeared in the 17th century with alternating holly and ebony veneers, but overall this particular look wouldn't appear on longcase until nearer the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th.
     
  3. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Can you explain what the hot sand technique is?

    Uhralt
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    A beauty. Someone really went to town on that case!

    My first inclination would have been Federal Period NYS or, as they say there, "Joisey".

    Some of the Upstate NY clocks of that period could be heavily inlaid as is this one from Utica, NY:

    New York tall case.jpg

    But, there might be other origins.

    As I am fond of doing, I will also contribute some thoughts not encumbered by the thought process.

    PA and some of the other mid-Atlantic states produced clocks with some snazzy inlay. Maryland, especially Baltimore and environs, is known for the use of inlay in its furniture. Here's an example from PA:

    pennsylvania tall case.png

    I'll end my ramblings with pointing out that some Southern clocks went wild with inlay, too:

    virginia tall case.jpg

    Still, leaning towards NY or NJ.

    A look at the secondary woods might help? White pine vs. Southern yellow pine, so on.

    RM
     
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  5. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Jim,

    Very attractive clock. Is it your clock?

    To my untrained eye, I would guess that it is possibly New York but New England (New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Boston) would also be a possibility, due to the "fanned shell" motif that is used throughout the case.

    Regards.
     
  6. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #6 Jim DuBois, Sep 12, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    New2,

    No, sadly, not my clock. As RM, novice, and you, have commented also, veneered clocks come from a pretty wide range of case makers and locations. This one is the most complex/detailed versions I have come across.

    Uhralt, may I suggest doing a google search on hot sand veneer shading and you will find far more than you or I want to know?

    Matthew Egerton, Jr. is one possibility of the case maker, but this case is even over the top as compared to most of his work. But, he seems a likely candidate so far.

    And RM, not certain that Southern example is the worst I have ever seen, but it makes the top 10 for certain. And, yes, I am aware that is a highly thought of (and very expensive) clock, but my goodness, it is more of a court jester than regal example!


    veneer 1.jpg 19.jpg 6003howellegertonlbl.jpg 6003howellegerton.jpg 6003howellegertondtl.jpg
     
  7. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    It is amazing how a craftsman without power tools could accomplish work such as this. There are literally inlays on everything! Even places I haven’t seen inlays on a clock before such as the columns on the hood, trunk, and the fan just below the broken arch. Whoever made this one was definitely showing off. It seems too nice and clean to be 200+ years old. If it was restored(by the photos, I would guess it was), it appears someone did a really nice job on it.

    I question wether or not the dial is original to the cabinet due to the fact that the ship painting is partially obscured by the door.

    Sometimes it is difficult to determine wood species by looking at photos. I am back and forth between cherry and walnut, but have settled on the latter because I don’t see the diminutive growth rings usually present in cherry.

    It’s a true beauty.
     
  8. Joeydeluxed

    Joeydeluxed Registered User
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    Fabulous clock! My guess would be New Jersey. I've seen cases like this but not this far over the top with all those inlays. Is it for sale?
     
  9. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    The case is beautifully inlaid and looks like a specimen piece to show off the cabinet maker's skills. An English dial of this type would indicate around the turn of the 18/19th centuries.

    The front cover of Loomes' White Dial Clocks has a similar clock albeit not with anywhere near as much inlay, a pagoda top and a moon in the arch, it is dated to around 1790.
     
  10. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Joey,
    Not for sale. It is in a local collection. And its owner likes it quite a bit. I am trying to gather more information as to the most likely case maker. I was interested to see if other similar examples might be known, etc.

    And my thoughts are similar; it seems most likely from the New Jersey area, or close thereabouts. Also, I would think that it could be as early as 1790 or as late as 1820. Some of the inlay details are similar to the work of John and Thomas Seymore, but their known work was more subtle, by far than this clock case. It still seems that Mathew Egerton is the most likely suspect for having done the case, but still speculation, and no more than that.

    The primary case wood is mahogany and the secondary woods are northern pine.
     
  11. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It's what we might call Sheraton style, but although it was popular in furniture here in the late 18th century it didn't appear much in clocks except as I sad in bracket clocks. However it appeared again as Sheraton revival in the late 19th early 20th and they then included clocks in a much bigger way.

    I was bidding on a sleeper once that most people assumed was edwardian as it had that fluted fan motif on the case but closer inspection would show the brass bezel didn't open, it was fixed in the whole hinged front panel like the ellicott cases, and behind was a verge movement.

    Sadly I wasn't the only one to notice but it still went for much less than if it had been listed correctly.
     
  12. Joeydeluxed

    Joeydeluxed Registered User
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    #12 Joeydeluxed, Sep 13, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    I'm still of the opinion its from New Jersey (or NY) as I've seen this basic case carcass many times but with far less inlay. For some unusual reason, some of the very best high style inlaid cases similar to this contained unsigned dials. However, as I'm certain you know very few (if any) clockmakers made cases which was a completely unrelated skill as compared to the clockmaker who made the mechanism only. This is an absolutely wonderful example of a skilled case maker! Quite a few unsigned clocks believe to have been made by Joachim Hill of Flemington have been found in highly inlaid cases.

    I no longer collect but would make an exception for this piece and would enjoy it for the rest of my life. Fabulous clock!
     
  13. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Northern pine narrows things down.

    I am leaning even more towards NY/NJ, especially the latter. Read on.

    Oddly, I've seen a number of these wonderful tour de force inlaid clocks that were unsigned. Like a lot of furniture, folk art, more formal art, etc. Seems strange to our modern way of thinking that so much artistry is anonymous.

    Just doesn't say "Seymour" to me. I may be a bit parochial in my opinion on this, but this is what comes to mind for their clocks which were Boston products:

    seymour.jpg

    Hill is an intriguing suggestion. See this link to a SOLD clock:

    Joakim Hill of Flemington, New Jersey. Signed, dated and numbered No. 77. An inlaid case tall clock. @ Delaney Antique Clocks

    Compare the scroll configuration, the inlaid rosettes, other features of the hood, the trunk door corner fan inlays with a central oval, the 1/4 columns of the trunk, the base and it's inlay other little details.

    Joey D. may be on to something.

    RM
     
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  14. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #14 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Sep 13, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    PS: To clarify, Hill was a clock maker, not a case maker.

    According to one source, his cases may have been made by Matthew Egerton, John Scudder, John Tapper, and/or Oliver Parsell

    Here's a Bulletin article about the Egertons:

    https://docs.nawcc.org/Bulletins/2010/articles/2010/389/389_666.pdf

    Sperling, the author of the above article has written some nice stuff about NJ makers. Do a Bulletin search using his name.

    Just to be troublesome, see this Bulletin article about some interestingly inlaid NYS clocks:

    https://docs.nawcc.org/Bulletins/2010/articles/2010/386/386_285.pdf

    RM.
     
  15. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Here are a couple of loose movements I have on hand. Not certain that either really adds to the questions around inlayedcases, but, the movement on the left has no extension for a seconds hand. It was sold to me as a dwarf clock movement, but it is not, weight fall is similar to tall clocks, not dwarf clocks. It uses a shorter pendulum than the typical 1 meter clocks, it also has initials engraved on its backplate, uncommon for makers by the time this clock movement was made. It is smaller than a normal movement, like the one on the right.

    And RM, thanks for the links, I had read them but have forgotten them completely. Since Ralph is local I will chase him down and see if his investigations have gone any further. His was close with Tom Spittler so I suspect Ralph would be aware of Tom's thinking also.

    20190913_090430.jpg 20190913_090454.jpg 20190913_090459.jpg 20190913_090503.jpg 20190913_090515.jpg
     
  16. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    An aside, but why do you think that US movements tend to smooth barrels and UK grooved? I wondered again after reading the putting out thread on the pocket watch forum. Perhaps grooved barrels were something you bought in, from specialists, and they weren't initially available to makers in the US so it never became a tradition?
     
  17. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    My thinking on the smooth vs. grooved barrels has more to do with the specialization of the crafts seen in England, as you mention, and not seen here. Barrels with grooves were the standard product produced by English barrel makers IIRC. The degree of sophistication was markedly less hereabouts, and grooving machines were not common. I can't recall ever seeing any American grooving machines. While we bought a lot of "clock kits" from England, it seems they were more commonly pinion kits. The brass parts were more likely produced here in those case, but there are also examples of rough brass castings being brought in also.

    Both the movements shown above are what I think are American and both have smooth drums. Both these movements have three holes for dial mounting, which suggests the dials to have been painted dials with no false plates. More common in American 8-day clocks than English I would think.
     
  18. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    So it is as I suggested then? I had been coming to that conclusion over time and the putting out thread sort of crystallised it. Many of the smaller provincial makers here made mostly 30 hours and very very few 8 days so it stands to reason that they could buy in those specialist parts.

    3 dial feet here suggests 30 hour, in brass dials sometimes two but in white dials always three I think.

    There is no record I have seen of 30 hour white dials ever having falseplates, but yes they were a feature of 8 days from the beginning with white dials though they went again later on though they were in use in all three of the dating periods of white dials from the latter part of the first period to the early part of the third.
     
  19. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #19 Ralph, Sep 16, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
    Jim,

    Ed Lafond had a grooving tool allegedly belonging to Martin Schreiner. A local collector bought it from his family and since has decided it was not Schreiner's. He told me who he thought it belonged to originally, but i can't remember at the moment.

    Here's an image of one we had on display at the last Midwest Regional in 2012. It also belongs to the aforementioned collector, but is not the La Fond unit. If I remember right the La Fond unit is more primitive looking.

    IMG_4958.JPG

    Ralph
     
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  20. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I was thinking someone had decided the Ed LaFond tool was most likely Black Forrest in origin? That seemed a bit strange to me as to how many Black Forrest grooved barrel clocks have we seen? Something about the wood on it being beech. Since it was incomplete when I saw it I was thinking it more likely to be a fusee cutting frame than for grooving barrels, if we are talking about the same tool. But, that was a long time ago, so I may be confused. I like the one you picture above but I am pretty certain that one is not American <grin>

    One of my larger tool mistakes was selling Ted Crom an American wheel cutting engine, for cheap money. It had engraved initials on it of a Vermont maker and I can't for the life of me remember who it was. After he bought it Ted confirmed it was as I thought and he was most pleased.
     
  21. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    That's great, I always wondered how they did that back then.
     
  22. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #22 Ralph, Sep 17, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
    Bruce Forman, sent me this TER pdf, the publication for the special interest Tool Enthusiasts Chapter. To spur interest and/or let some know that such a chapter exists, I'm attaching the TER in it's entirety.

    In this TER, an article about a drum groover used by the Mullikens, an American clockmaking family, as well as some other of their other tools are discussed.

    View attachment TER no. 22 final.pdf

    Bruce also told me that the alleged Schreiner drum groover was actually William Fraser's, a Pennsylvania clockmaker.

    Ralph
     
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  23. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Great information Ralph. Also, the attachment is great also. I need to join than chapter I think! And I can no longer claim to have never seen an American barrel grooving device!
     
  24. Raymond Rice

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    Ralph fascinating tool information. (I'm a bit of a tool freak.) Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
    Ray Rice
     
  25. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    This is about as wild as they get in New England with inlay.

    nebase4.jpg nehood5.jpg newaist.jpg

    Ralph
     
  26. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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  27. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Here is a country New England clock with some inlay, more than we normally see. This clock, by Samuel Foster, was from Amherst NH and had a printed cabinetmakers label in it. And I don't have a photo of the label, or any other photos of the movement, or more details of the clock. I owned it a long time ago, and that was for just a few days.

    Scan0289.JPG
     
  28. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #28 Ralph, Sep 24, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
    I should have mentioned, the maker of the clock I posted earlier, is Nathan Edwards, a clockmaker from Acton, Ma.

    On another identically cased Edwards clock, the case is attributed to Jason Richards, Woburn.

    A sidenote, all (3) of the Edwards clocks I have seen, have moon dials All three, their hemispheres, instead of the usual maps, one has a landscape and the other a seascape scene.

    nedwardshemis.jpg

    Ralph
     
  29. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Well, kinda depends upon what period you're referring to.

    Folk marquetry.jpg

    Here's an inlaid secretary created by Frederick Hazen (1829-1908) made in Massachusetts between 1862 and 1869. It contains 21,000 pieces of wood.

    Now this is about as wild as they got in NE with inlay!

    RM
     
  30. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    OK, got me,...lol. I was stuck in the horological lane.

    Ralph
     
  31. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Jim,

    Here is Bruce's, William Fraser's drum grooving tool.

    upload_2019-9-28_21-25-26.jpeg

    Ralph
     
  32. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Very nice! Thanks Ralph.
     
  33. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    What is a drum grooving tool used for?

    Tom
     
  34. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    putting cable (gut) grooves in winding barrels
     
  35. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    Thanks Brian.

    Tom
     

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