Hotchkiss and Benedict (Munger)

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Raymond Rice, Mar 13, 2017.

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  1. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User

    Feb 14, 2011
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    My newest acquisition is a Hotchkiss and Benedict with an Asa Munger works. I attended a local “Americana” auction which listed about 35 Federal period American clocks. There were 4 Munger clocks and I came home with one. There were a number of interesting clocks which were tempting but I was saving my strength for a Crane Patent 30 day clock which was late in the auction. Unfortunately, I was the under bidder and lost out to a phone bidder.


    This clock seems to be pretty much original – 3 of the 4 pulleys are the correct cast pewter, eagle pendulum, wallpaper lining, and correct glass knobs on the doors. I believe that the mirror is a replacement and I'm a little puzzled by the absence of the “hand pointer” for the seconds bit. This one has a brass “starburst” for the seconds bit –and I haven't seen another like this. (But then again, I haven't seen that many Mungers, up close.) The veneer is intact but the old varnish has got to go—it really looks dingy.


    The weights didn't come with the clock. I know they should be tall and slender, but I'm not sure what the weight should be. I doubled up a couple of pairs of OG weights and it seems to run and strike OK.
    The works are missing a couple of brass pins on the pillars – they are larger than ones I have in stock so I'll have to order some. (Everything about this works seems to be heavy duty – I suspect Mr. Munger was not in the business of making cheap clocks.) The movement is stamped “No. 1349”
    Ray Rice, waiting for the blizzard, in Rifton
     

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  2. Jim Burghart

    Jim Burghart Registered User

    Jan 27, 2004
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    #2 Jim Burghart, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Beautiful clock. I was bidding against you :) I did manage to get a couple of clocks. Some great and rare pieces there Saturday.

    I have the same clock with a plain splat and no bulls eye carving, a symmetrical winding arbor version, but not in as nice original condition. My understanding is they were made with prison labor at the Auburn prison in Auburn NY. The serial number on mine is very late, 3000 something.

    I will post some pictures tonight of my weight, not original but work, and the seconds hand.

    Here is a great article with info on the company and Asa Munger. http://docs.nawcc.org/Bulletins/1990/articles/1991/275/275_636.pdf
     
  3. Jim Burghart

    Jim Burghart Registered User

    Jan 27, 2004
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    I was looking closely at your movement, and it looks better made than mine. Heavy brass, but on mine it is clearly hand filed and a bit coarse looking.

    I have seen the star wheel on these clocks before. I try and remember where.
     
  4. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User

    Feb 14, 2011
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    Jim, thanks for posting the link to the Munger article--some new information there, for me. Glad to hear you were successful at the auction! I'm suffering from "bidders remorse" -- there were a number of clocks for which I should have bid more aggressively.
    Did you find it a little bit unusual the number of clocks which had the ivory escutcheons removed? I realize that many clocks lose their escutcheons when people misplace a key and then "jimmy" the lock, but it seemed a little odd to me, considering the number of clocks missing the ivory.
    Ray Rice, still awaiting the blizzard, in Rifton
     
  5. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Super Moderator

    Mar 3, 2006
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    Mr. Rice, I hope you will think long and hard before damaging that good original finish. It will respond well to cleaning and a coat of paste wax, if you feel that you must do something with it. It's exceptionally lovely just the way it is. Thanks.
     
  6. Jim Burghart

    Jim Burghart Registered User

    Jan 27, 2004
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    Hi Ray,

    I agree, both the clocks I purchased are missing the ivory, and the weights? It didn't seem like the auction house was that familiar with handling clocks like this? This was my first time buying from them.

    Below are the two I bought. First is a Spencer, Hotchkiss & Co. Salem Bridge and the other is an E. W. Adams, Seneca Falls, NY.

    I also added pictures of my Hotchkiss and Benedict. The serial number is 3015, rather late in production. You can see how the movement is not as well made as the earlier ones.

    The weight is not original, but works well. It weighs 8 pound 6 ounces. The strike weight is 7 pounds 14 ounces.

    Sorry for high jacking you post :)

    Jim, also waiting for the blizzard, in Berne.
     

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  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User

    Nov 26, 2009
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    Very nice, indeed.

    Love the clock you bought.

    That was this past Saturday's Stair Auction.

    Some interesting clocks. Most with some condition issues but worthwhile none the less.

    Yes, please just wax it and don't do anything else to the finish.

    I was the under bidder on this one:

    http://auctions.stairgalleries.com/asp/fullCatalogue.asp?salelot=031117+++369+&refno=++110186

    Stair got the name wrong. It is a clock by James Collins NOT Coffin.

    This clock sold through the now defunct Bourne's Auctioneers in 1988. I have the catalog somewhere. At that time it was cataloged by none other than Peter Sawyer who sang its praises and called it "possibly unique". It sold for $4,500 at that time.

    I was very tempted to go one more bid...but didn't think it was prudent. I was thinking of buying it for resale (yeah, right) and once I paid the premium, shipping and then for someone to go through it mechanically, I was nervous about the return on the investment.

    I suspect I know who bought it...I'll watch for it at this Summer's NHADA Show in Manchester to see if my hunch is correct.

    RM

    Two more very nice clocks!

    Glad someone had some luck.

    RM
     
  8. Jim Burghart

    Jim Burghart Registered User

    Jan 27, 2004
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    Ohhhh, I was lusting after the James Collins clock, what a great case.

    The estimates were a bit off.

    I just got word our offices are closed tomorrow. I will be spending the day in the workshop!
     
  9. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User

    Feb 14, 2011
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    RM, the Coffin, New Hampshire, clock was a beauty! A gentleman came late to the auction and only bid on that clock. He was sitting next to me, and when he started to waiver, I encouraged him to continue. (Sorry about that!).
    When I previewed the auction on Friday, two gentlemen were pushing a cart loaded with weights, pendulums, pendulum leaders, etc.,(all unmarked) through the gallery and were attempting to match the parts with the appropriate clocks. I have to believe that there were a lot mismatched parts--and a few left over. (At least they advertised the one I bought as "missing weights".)
    The Coffin clock was a beauty, but at $3750, plus 20% buyers premium, plus shipping, plus any repairs --there wouldn't be much meat left on the bone for resale.
    Jim, I agree with you, the pre-sale estimates were wildly underestimated.
    Ray Rice, my 'office' is always open, even in a blizzard, in Rifton
     
  10. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User

    Feb 14, 2011
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    #10 Raymond Rice, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Peter, what would you recommend for "cleaning"? Some of the finish has aligatored--I'm open to any suggestions.
    Thanks, Ray Rice
     
  11. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Super Moderator

    Mar 3, 2006
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    #11 Peter A. Nunes, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Ray, I use some lanolin based material that is available to the trade, called Wool-wax:

    http://www.mohawk-finishing.com/catalog_browse.asp?ictNbr=243.

    I apply it to a piece of flannel, and rub away. It takes off all the dirt, but stops at the shellac. The shellac crazing you describe I find very appealing, like the lines on an elderly person's face. It took decades for them to appear, and with a bit of alcohol and 4-0 steel wool, you can remove that look in five minutes- to me it's like plastic surgery- artificial, and undesirable. It took a long time for the finish to get to look this way, and it is still entirely unmolested. I'd just clean it and leave it be. It's earned it.

    There are other cleaners,too, including citrus based hand cleaners, that restorers use. I am not familiar with those, however.

    I always look to go with a reversible, do-no-harm approach. I try to leave it to future owners to ruin things.
     
  12. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User

    Feb 14, 2011
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    Peter, I appreciate your advice and counsel! I will give it a try and post the results.
    Ray Rice, snowed in, in Rifton
     
  13. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User

    Nov 26, 2009
    3,210
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    Will try it, too.

    I have also used a product called "Spruce it Up"...made right here in W. Townsend, MA.

    Behaves similarly. Have had some very nice results. Helps scratches, stains and surface blemishes blend in, too.

    Cherish those old surfaces!

    RM
     
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