Hiram Welton miniature timepiece with alarm...

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Peter A. Nunes, Mar 1, 2011.

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  1. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    #1 Peter A. Nunes, Mar 1, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
    While responding to the Welton posting below, it occurred to me that I might post another Welton from my collection.

    (The following is pasted from my other post...) When Hiram purchased E. Terry Jnr.'s shop in 1841, he inherited several miniature half column cases, with interestingly painted and stenciled cases. While Terry installed short drop time & strike movements in these, Hiram developed a neat time and alarm movement (two versions, actually) and so produced miniature timepieces, with alarms. These are quite hard to find, and have gotten pricey. Note that the case is grain painted, then stenciled here and there over the graining, including the splat and plinths. I've seen maybe 5 of these over the years, and each is decorated differently- all feature smoke decorated half columns (done by holding the work over a burning candle). One I know of has smoke decorated sides, most others have grained sides. They are very beautiful little timepieces, and I feel privileged to own one. Mine unfortunately has an old mirror replacing the original reverse painted tablet, but otherwise it is in excellent condition. I have been searching for a wrecked ogee with a suitable tablet that would replace the mirror, but have not yet succeeded in that quest.

    The beautifully painted dial is original and in great condition, the hands are original, and the alarm disk, which is missing from many of these, is present. It is quite nice in that it is blued steel, with bronze powder numbers applied.

    The picture of the movement was sent to me by the auction house, and led me to believe that many of the alarm actuating parts were missing. It turned out that they were in an envelope that came with the timepiece, which was a nice surprise. I'll try to post a better picture of the complete movement.

    The diminutive case stands 24 3/8" tall, and 13 3/4" wide.

    Hiram and his brother Heman ran into trouble with Chauncey Jerome when they marketed clocks, early in the brass movement era, featuring movements that were too much like those made under the Noble Jerome patent. They worked with Eli terry to design and manufacture a patent busting movement for their shelf clocks, and apparently succeeded in doing so. The firm failed in 1845. 85685.jpg 85686.jpg 85689.jpg 85690.jpg 85691.jpg
     
  2. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    For comparison, here is another example, owned by a friend, that features smoke decorated sides. This is an extremely unusual decorative treatment, seldom seen on early clock cases. There are a few, much later (1895-1920), square eight day mantel clocks that have smoke grained cases (made by Gilbert?)

    The second picture is of the same timepiece, showing the beautiful original tablet. Now if I can only find a similar tablet for mine...
    -> posts merged by system <-
    For further comparison, and to illustrate the variation in decoration that these cases feature, here is a poor photo of an E. Terry & Co. time and strike version, this one at our own National Clock Museum, in Columbia, Pennsylvania. This example features a stunning tablet, which I think is original (though I am not sure).

    The American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut has two or three of these, all in excellent condition. For some reason neither museum owns a Welton timepiece with alarm. 85692.jpg 85693.jpg 85694.jpg
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    What a great clock!!

    I remember seeing it in person.

    Smoke "graining" was a method of decoration used on many household furnishings of that period, including tall case clocks, blanket chests, chests of drawers, boxes, wash stands, chairs, etc. Often done over a chrome yellow ground. As mentioned, the decoration was applied using a lit candle. I believe it worked because the tallow candles used in those days were rather "sooty". My understanding is it was done before the surface was completely dry. Sometimes the smoke graining was used alone, often with other methods employed in this period including faux graining, stencilling, free hand decoration, and so on.

    For chuckles, I'm posting a Terry miniature with a 30 hour time and strike weight driven wood works movement. It has a few "problems", including the stencilling is gone from the splat and the painting is replaced with an old piece of mirror. However, notice the smoke grained sides of the case and I think the dial is killer. Like the theorems of the period.

    I also like that the original owner signed the lower edge of the front of the dial in graphite. The line of descent of the clock is on the back of the dial (sorry, not too clear in the scan). Notice it was purchased in Ohio. These clocks made the rounds.

    For a clearer picture of the little Terry from the ACWM, see Sumpter Priddy's wonderful book, "American Fancy", page 128, figure 220. What's nice about this book is that it places this in the broader context of American decorative arts.

    Also see Tran's "American Clocks", volume 3, page 81, figure 181 for another little Terry with a dial like mine. In the same reference, see page 62, figure 114, for a little H. Welton timepiece alarm, alas, with a stripped case.

    RM 85720.jpg 85721.jpg View attachment 445973 85724.jpg 85726.jpg 85728.jpg 85730.jpg
     
  4. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    Excellent bits of early horologica Americana, Peter and Bob, and some good history behind each. For the record, RM, what are the dimensions of your Terry? Similar to those of Peter's?
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    To the highest point on the splat, it's about 24 1/2 inches tall, about 14 inches wide, and about 4 inches overall depth.

    RM
     
  6. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Bob, is there any difference between this movement and a conventional Terry Jnr. short drop movement? I have wondered if, since these little clocks were made so late in the wood movement era, he found himself stuck with extra short drop movements, a few years after Pillars & Scrolls had gone out of style, so came up with this novel version of the then popular half column and splat, as a way to unload them.
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Would have to do some comparing and research to see.

    What's your take?

    RM
     
  8. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    I have no idea! I suspect you'll find it is a standard short drop movement, but I have no way of knowing. Speculating, with no evidence whatsoever, is lots of fun, though.
     
  9. ClocksCollector

    ClocksCollector Registered User

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    Peter, When I bought the H. Welton & Co. "flat front" shelf clock ( I posted a photo of it a few days ago) it came with a wood Terry movement the seller said was a 1.125 (see photo). Would Welton have used a Terry movement like this in his clocks? Or a movement similar to yours with the alarm feature but minus the alarm? 85774.jpg
     
  10. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Here is a picture of the movement in the Welton case that I sold. It appears to be the same as yours, or nearly identical. They do have all the characteristics of E. Terry Jnr. movements. I don't know if Hiram was making his own movements at the beginning of his proprietorship of the Terry Jnr. shop or not- perhaps he was using up existing Terry movements that came with the deal. I do think he was actually manufacturing the timepiece with alarm movements- no examples have appeared bearing Terry's label (though that in itself is not conclusive proof). He abandoned wood movements within a year or two of 1841, along with just about everyone else, and concentrated on brass movements, which he used in his own clocks, and sold wholesale to other makers, such as Sperry & Shaw.

    There has been quite a lot written in the Bulletin over the years regarding Mr. Welton- you might go to the index at nawcc.org (or just click on the NAWCC banner at the top of this page) and go poking around in the Bulletins a bit. They are, without a doubt, the best source of general and specific information regarding American clocks that exists. 85788.jpg
     
  11. ClocksCollector

    ClocksCollector Registered User

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    Thanks for the info Peter, I'll have a look in the Bulletins in the NAWCC library. I have one Bulletin from 1985, no. 238, vol. no. 5 that mentions an article on H. Welton & Co. in the Timepiece Journal 2, 171, 1983. Can not find it in the library. Do you by chance have that article?
     
  12. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Also may wish to check out Roberts and Taylor, Eli Terry and the CT Shelf Clock, second edition, pages 333-8 for the transition from Eli Terry, Jr & Co -> M.E. Blakesley -> to H. Welton & Co. This was occurring during a period when due to the work of the Jeromes, wood movements were seen as obsolete and on their last legs. Of note, wood movement production by Welton didn't cease until 1842, with wooden works clocks being sold until 1844.

    Do you mean John Hunt?

    RM
     
  13. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    If it is not in the Library at NAWCC, it will be in the library at the ACWM, publisher of the Timepiece Journal.

    http://clockandwatchmuseum.org/Home.asp
     
  14. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Bob, thanks for this reference, which points out some of my misconceptions. I had read those passages a couple of years ago, but have clearly forgotten the gist of them- most importantly, the the "H" in H. Welton & Co. was Heman, not Hiram, who apparently was the "& Co.". Heman (Hiram's brother) was noted to be a merchant and trader, so he could afford to provide capitol. It is also pointed out that Hiram was one of the primary movement makers in the E. Terry Junior & Co. shop.

    There is a picture a wood movement by H. Welton & Co. on page 335 that is considerably different than the two depicted here (the time and strike mvts.)

    Hiram Welton is noted as having been producing clocks on his own during the 1830s, and the miniature timepiece with alarm, the actual subject of this thread, was more probably produced then, rather than during the time of H. Welton & Co.

    The label printer in the Hiram miniature is "John Russell, Printer, Hartford"... this may be a clue as to the date of manufacture.
     
  15. ClocksCollector

    ClocksCollector Registered User

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    Thanks Peter!! I'll look for the Bulletins in the NAWCC library. I have a Bulletin that mentions an article on H. Welton & Co. in the Timepiece Journal 2, 171, 1983. The library doesn't have it. Do you by chance have a copy?
     
  16. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    No, I don't. Give the Museum in Bristol a call, they may have back issues in the gift shop.
     
  17. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    I was at the museum this evening for a Board meeting, and they do indeed have a good supply of back issues.
     

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