Help Hands Too Low With Wooden Dial

George Pins

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I've recently been concentrating on getting numerous 30 hour ogees and column clocks running, and there seems to be a recurring problem with those older examples with wooden dials, which are thicker than metal dials. Often the hands do not come up from the arbor sufficiently high, so they must be bent into a sort of "Z" shape to clear the dial and not rub. Too much, and there is a problem with touching the dial glass when the door is closed. This can't be how they were originally. Shimming up the entire movement runs into the door glass issue. Perhaps the original hands (if the ones I am working with are not original, sometimes hard to tell) had a deeper shoulder on the hour hand, thus raising it sufficiently. Can anyone comment?
 

shutterbug

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About the only thing you can do is adjust the movement to push it out. If the glass of the door is that close to the hands, I would be suspecting a different issue. Different movement, different dial .... something that's not original. Do your movements sit on a seat board or screw to the back board?
 

George Pins

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Shutterbug - The movements sit on a seatboard at the bottom and are equally raised at the top by a shim which is slotted to the top of the movement and screwed to the backboard. This is standard. As to "not original," too many examples of this issue, along with no question of many clocks having labels and marked movements and dials to be substitutes. George
 

shutterbug

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Something has to be different. I can't imagine a clock maker with that issue not correcting it.
Do you mean you can't move it forward on the seat board and maybe use a small washer or two for the top?
 

R. Croswell

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Obviously the movement cannot be set forward beyond the point where the center shaft contacts the glass in the door. I would say that the first thing to check is whether the door hinges have been replaced or the screws replaced. It isn't uncommon to find that wood screw holes have been stripped out and either relocated into "good wood" of the holes plugged with wood scraps which sometimes cause the hinges to shift from the original location. Next, I would check what stops the door when it closes - is it closing too far? Sometimes adding a small "stop" can keep the door from closing into the hands.

The attachment to these seat board usually has a little "play". Make sure the movement is on the seat board in the best location. Make sure that the piece that holds the top of the movement actually fits the clock. It should not pull the movement backward, but rather stabilize it in the upright position.

All the OG type clocks that I've seen have had metal dials - dials that often shed their paint. I'm wondering if perhaps the dial of the clock in question may have been replaced?

If the movement is as far forward as it can go without hitting the door glass, and the door hinges have not been altered, and the door closes properly, and the dial is original, and the movement is original, and all these parts belong to this case, then the dial must be mounted too far forward. Can we see pictures of this clock? Is there a way to attach the dial a bit closer to the movement?

RC
 

George Pins

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Mr. Croswell - Thank you for your thoughts. As to the door hinges, yes, they have frequently been "messed with," often because the early makers of 30 hour brass movement ogees, in an effort to save every penny of cost, did not use screws, but rather tacked the hinges on. Over the years, the tacks work loose, the door wobbles, and some predecessor to me tries various ways to stabilize it. I don't think that's my problem here, but, to take your suggestion, maybe the door can be backed out just a bit on the latch side with a stop. The difference in thickness between a wood dial and a metal one is the problem. In my experience, and in my collection, many of the early 30 hour ogee makers, when they switched to brass movements, stayed with the wood dials used on wooden works clocks. Not all, but there was maybe a ten year transition period 1840's - 1850's where some made the switch gradually - perhaps to use up existing stock. I think I'll put a tiny washer inside the hour hands to keep them from bottoming quite so far, but still leaving room for the minute hand to mount and be pinned. Let's see what other thoughts or experiences are offered. George
 

kinsler33

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I love those tacks. I thought I was seeing things when I first encountered them. "Keep it authentic!" sez the owner. Yeah, right.. I replace 'em with screws.

RC speaks the truth. There's no telling how many antique dealers practiced upon an old clock, and the authentic brand-name dials can easily be reproductions. The best thing you can do is re-build the clock in a sound, sturdy, attractive manner without too much concern about period authenticity.

Ever see an antique dealer with a load of clocks? (1) Pull movements, pendulums, keys, cases, and dials. (2) Sort into piles. (3) Soak movements in kerosene overnight, let dry. (4) Build as many clocks as you can out of the parts available without regard to what originally went where. (5) Apply fancy price tag plus bogus story to each clock. When confronted about this one dealer replied, "Hell, it's just merchandise."
 

George Pins

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Kinsler 33 - Sure, we've all seen our share of "married" or cobbed together clocks. I like to think, after years of viewing, owning, examining, and, most important, researching the makers and sharing with my fellow collectors, that I'm pretty good at spotting what is original and what is not. Yes, we can all be fooled, but not so easily. I have some examples from my early days in the hobby which must have come from your composite "antique dealer." George
 

Jim DuBois

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One thing that happens to our clocks, that is from time to time overlooked, is shrinkage of wood components. A 4" wooden side may shrink 3/16" to 1/4" from the time the case was complete, until today. We have records that suggest wood was air-dried for a few months or perhaps a year, before being made into clock parts. I suspect for many that was the best case, the needs to feed one's self and family might have driven that number lower. Air drying may yield wood as moist as 24% humidity. After further drying for 150 or 200 years, plus what happens in our centrally heated houses, it may dry the wood to as little as 5-7%. Hence the nasty shrinkage, and a problem with movements and conflicts with case glass and the like. And as suggested above, tolerances may have been a bit sloppy from day one compounding the felony so to speak.
 

R. Croswell

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Kinsler 33 - Sure, we've all seen our share of "married" or cobbed together clocks. I like to think, after years of viewing, owning, examining, and, most important, researching the makers and sharing with my fellow collectors, that I'm pretty good at spotting what is original and what is not. Yes, we can all be fooled, but not so easily. I have some examples from my early days in the hobby which must have come from your composite "antique dealer." George
I had a friend (now deceased) who ran an auction house. At the time he had two young boys. A customer came in one day as asked the boy if his father was there. The boy replied that his father was in the barn out back making antiques.

RC
 

kinsler33

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I was under the impression that sales and prices of either fake or cobbled antique clocks reached their peak around the 1970's. Right at the moment clock prices seem rather low, in general, and that there's little benefit in making a bogus antique.
 

Jim DuBois

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I was under the impression that sales and prices of either fake or cobbled antique clocks reached their peak around the 1970's. Right at the moment clock prices seem rather low, in general, and that there's little benefit in making a bogus antique.
Well, making bogus ogee clocks might not be profitable. But, in the pretty recent past, I have seen 3 bogus timepieces offered from a bit over $20K to as much as $80K. Two of the 3 were definitely sold, the 3rd may still be on the market. I was asked for an opinion on the last timepiece two years ago, it was a fake 40 years ago when I first saw it, it is now an older fake with a bit of honest age and some further "improvements." Its asking price back then approached $200K so it has not improved with age (price-wise). Sadly, the dealer who now has it has continued to offer it for sale, after he was provided with documentation on its provenance (lack thereof in this case). But, he is now offering it "with restorations." Sounds so much better than calling it a fake, or saying it was totally made up, or it is a recreation in the style of? And only a bit dishonest?

But, to the dials on ogees, earlier ones were frequently done on wood. I have a few of them at the moment. Not uncommon.
 

Bruce Alexander

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:eek:
Its asking price back then approached $200K
:eek:

To date, this has been my worst case of an "Incestuous Marriage". To me, the price wasn't trivial but it was a drop in the bucket compared to your example Jim. That should be considered criminal.

It did reveal to me that the Seller, Auction House and Online Platforms will all line up against the Buyer. I originally purchased this clock through an eBay Live Auction Listing (I haven't seen any of those lately).

I returned it under their buyer protection policies. The seller didn't re-offer it through eBay the next time and although it sold for a lot less, someone still ended up with a misrepresented clock.

Ogees, I'm not very familiar with. The nearest we have is one Column and Cornice Seth Thomas in our Collection so far.

Bruce
 

Jim DuBois

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Here are several wood dialed ogees I have sitting about now. I have more of them.

But, back to the issue of incestuous relationships and the like, it is good Bruce that you got your money back. Often that is not the case, as both I and others have experienced. From an ethical perspective, it seems like a fair number of folks take a pass. From a practical point of view, what does one do when certain knowledge is on hand that suggests something is not right? One of the timepieces I spoke of above was built some number of years ago by someone I know. I am aware of another party who provided the rather special wood used in the case. The timepiece was then sold via a big-time auction house to a museum where it was on display for several years. It was later consigned to another auction house where a friend bought it. It was in his collection for some years but his collecting interest changed and it was consigned to a well-known auction gallery, where it was sold to another museum. Needless to say, it passed muster with a number of experts on several occasions. Could I prove any of this? And if I could who do I take that information to? And what would be done with it? If the museum believed the story, they would most like de-accession it and toss it back in an auction house with no caveats, but now the description includes "from the collection of XXX Museum." The cycle begins again.

I don't have a clear cut understanding of what can or should be done. In two of the three timepieces mentioned, and yes, all three are timepieces, I provided information to interested parties as to what they were and provided details as to who what when of their histories. In both cases, the information provided was ignored by those interested parties. On two of the three statutes of limitations have expired regarding fraud by now.

By the way, I don't deal in clocks/timepieces with the sorts of price tags mentioned. I like ogees and can afford them and I enjoy them (and others too)

20200407_135905 (2).jpg 3.jpg UMY03362120_3.jpg IMG_2682.JPG IMG_2945.JPG IMG_1312.JPG IMG_2880.JPG
 

shutterbug

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Buying is relatively safe through Ebay, but you can really get burned at auctions. Usually in their introductory remarks they'll say something like "we try to describe items accurately, but you are buying as is and all sales are final." That covers any slight of hand they do.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Interesting thread.

First, I'm not sure I would use the term "incestuous".

in·cest
/ˈinˌsest/

noun
noun: incest
  1. sexual relations between people classed as being too closely related to marry each other.
    • the crime of having sexual intercourse with a parent, child, sibling, or grandchild.
I guess I would call them marriages of convenience? Sometimes downright shotgun marriages?

Revealing such marriages and fakes can be fraught with peril for the whistle blower. That's especially true when one impugns objects orbiting in the price stratosphere and/or being green-lighted for purchase by museum curators who then convince wealthy donors to shell out their $$. It's like omerta in la cosa nostra. I speak from personal experience. I will not go into details here. There are legal issues as well as the issues of gigantic ego and that sometimes these fakes are so good and potentially profitable people WANT to be convinced that they are real.

Another thing to remember, as alluded to by Jim, is that there are many married or faked objects that were made years ago. So it's not just about today's down market and whether that faking or being the antiques justice of the peace doesn't makes economic sense anymore for certain things. The older fake is particularly difficult as it may have developed some "patina". It may also have accumulated impressive provenance (real or made up as in the case of a famous folk art secretary). Some are even pictured in standard reference books!

Lastly. Sometimes marriages were innocent. Someone bought an ogee without a dial. They married it to a dial they had lying around. Not really meant to deceive. Then the object passed through other hands over the years.

RM
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Buying is relatively safe through Ebay, but you can really get burned at auctions. Usually in their introductory remarks they'll say something like "we try to describe items accurately, but you are buying as is and all sales are final." That covers any slight of hand they do.
Safe eBay buying??

Don't believe it.

RM
 

Jim DuBois

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RM, regarding "incestuous" I was referring more to the relationships between some dealers, auction house, museums, and well-heeled patrons. It seems to more or less fit in some of those cases does it not? If I consign a clock through the auction house where I work, provide the auction description for the piece, and then a friend buys it based on the description, not knowing I consigned the piece, how do we describe those relationships? And oh, by the way, the auction description was less than forthcoming on pertinent details. A recent example comes to mind of just that.
 

shutterbug

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Some reproductions become valuable antiques in their own right too. It's VERY hard to find an original Hickory Dickory clock for example, but reproductions made in the 40's are often found. They are collectible just for their unique function and age. Another example is the fairly common Santa Fe reproductions which are also becoming collectible.
 

Jim DuBois

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Some of the most reputable eBay sellers may well be those parting out clocks. It is difficult to completely misrepresent pieces and parts. They can still be wrong, the movement they say is a Seth Thomas is in fact a New Haven, but with a bit of care the potential buyer should be able to at least understand what he is bidding on. Not so certain on whole clocks. Sometimes the sellers don't know what they are selling, but all too often they do know, and when something arrives not as the buyer expects then the fun begins.

Trying to reconcile with eBay and or PayPal is no walk in the park. We wasted more than 3 days 2 weeks ago over a PayPal issue, never did talk to a human, had to cancel our checking account to keep a PayPal hacker out of it, on and on. And yes, I associate PP and eBay as co-conspirators by their lack of customer service and difficulty in resolving anything. And PP did finally reimburse the nearly $1000 in false charges, no admission of anything, and we still have a closed bank account where our power company has now bounced a check 4 times, $30 per bounce, even though it was paid by us directly. Of course, PP doesn't understand why that might be an issue of their making. Rant over.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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RM, regarding "incestuous" I was referring more to the relationships between some dealers, auction house, museums, and well-heeled patrons. It seems to more or less fit in some of those cases does it not? If I consign a clock through the auction house where I work, provide the auction description for the piece, and then a friend buys it based on the description, not knowing I consigned the piece, how do we describe those relationships? And oh, by the way, the auction description was less than forthcoming on pertinent details. A recent example comes to mind of just that.
Okay, I understand. I think the earlier post I was also responding to used it to indicate a made up clock??

Whatever one calls it, someone is getting screwed?

RM
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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You can still get bit, but at least Ebay will try to negotiate a refund ;)
Really? Good luck. Make sure you maximize your dose of Tagamet before you embark upon that saga.

Some of the most reputable eBay sellers may well be those parting out clocks. It is difficult to completely misrepresent pieces and parts. They can still be wrong, the movement they say is a Seth Thomas is in fact a New Haven, but with a bit of care the potential buyer should be able to at least understand what he is bidding on. Not so certain on whole clocks. Sometimes the sellers don't know what they are selling, but all too often they do know, and when something arrives not as the buyer expects then the fun begins.

Trying to reconcile with eBay and or PayPal is no walk in the park. We wasted more than 3 days 2 weeks ago over a PayPal issue, never did talk to a human, had to cancel our checking account to keep a PayPal hacker out of it, on and on. And yes, I associate PP and eBay as co-conspirators by their lack of customer service and difficulty in resolving anything. And PP did finally reimburse the nearly $1000 in false charges, no admission of anything, and we still have a closed bank account where our power company has now bounced a check 4 times, $30 per bounce, even though it was paid by us directly. Of course, PP doesn't understand why that might be an issue of their making. Rant over.
Yes.

Amongst the multiple valid points raised, the belief that talking to a robot with some lousy voice recognition software and a female voice is good customer services is totally delusional. Not just paypal. Have you ever tried to resolve something with Bank of America and a bunch of other institutions. Then they have the nerve to send a customer satisfaction survey. Please.

RM
 

Bruce Alexander

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First, I'm not sure I would use the term "incestuous".
In my case, I used the term because the marriage was between an Ansonia Royal Bonn Case and an Open Escapement movement which appeared to me to be from a different style of case, perhaps an Ansonia Enameled Iron Mantel.

Safe eBay buying??
"Safer" than some other online platforms like Liveauctioneers, ArtFact/Invaluable, or AuctionZip. Based upon my experience I think it's safer for buyers than it is for honest sellers. Ultimately the buyer pays for their "Money Back Guarantee" since eBay and PayPal fees hover around 15%, shipping charges included. Is it onerous? Yes. Probably because of fraud. Ever file a shipping insurance claim with UPS, for example? What a time sucking nightmare that can be! If it was easy money, organized criminals would probably be knee-deep in claims to be filed.

Bruce

Edit: Come to think of it, the 15% eBay-'Pal' fees aren't too bad compared to the Buyer's Premiums (around 25% these days) which these Auction Houses are charging on top of whatever fees they are collecting from their sellers. Highway Robbery.
 
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