HOW BANJO CLOCK MOVEMENT ORIGINALLY ATTACHED?

Jim NZ

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May 6, 2021
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Hi, from New Zealand. I bought this old Banjo clock and after rebushing some pivot holes it works well. My question is ... how did this movement originally attach to the backboard. Currently it is held by short slot head machine screws and hex nuts at the bottom left and top right of the backplate. I have searched past Forum posts but cannot find a photo that gives a clear answer...some photos seem to show a long rod with a slotted head level with the front plate...other pics show shadowy screw (machine or wood screws?) images. Any comment or photo that can help me instal the historically correct type of fixture will be very welcome. And for interest...while early American clocks are very uncommon in NZ...later ones from the 1850s quite often encountered. This one arrived in NZ from an estate in the US long ago and was stored by the estate beneficiary under a bed for many years. It is better than expected clock purchase from an online auction. Thank you.

B7EAC60D-3421-49BF-8F47-706D165B7288.jpeg 9088498E-6D72-4F78-8662-61C8F4B8DE9C.jpeg 062126B8-EA85-4B48-877F-7FF2DB57901F.jpeg
 

Joeydeluxed

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Mar 3, 2007
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Hi, from New Zealand. I bought this old Banjo clock and after rebushing some pivot holes it works well. My question is ... how did this movement originally attach to the backboard. Currently it is held by short slot head machine screws and hex nuts at the bottom left and top right of the backplate. I have searched past Forum posts but cannot find a photo that gives a clear answer...some photos seem to show a long rod with a slotted head level with the front plate...other pics show shadowy screw (machine or wood screws?) images. Any comment or photo that can help me instal the historically correct type of fixture will be very welcome. And for interest...while early American clocks are very uncommon in NZ...later ones from the 1850s quite often encountered. This one arrived in NZ from an estate in the US long ago and was stored by the estate beneficiary under a bed for many years. It is better than expected clock purchase from an online auction. Thank you.

View attachment 653243 View attachment 653244 View attachment 653245
it attaches just like your 3rd photo except that originally the bolts extended through the 2 diagonal holes on the front of the plate. It proved not to be an ideal way of attaching the movement to the backboard. You have an interesting clock which may be much better than average. Can you post some photos of the dial and of the back of the 2 painted panels?
 

Jim DuBois

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your movement would have originally mounted with two long bolts with machine threads, directly into the wooden backboard. Hamfisted repairmen often twist out the wood mating threads and then repairs are done with machine screws and wrongly place nuts in the backboards. This can be repaired by knowledgeable restorers, but how to do so may be outside adequate description via these comments. And this is a very nice clock deserving of good treatment. It is what we call a "Tee bridge" banjo or properly put "timepiece." Depending on it's dial and other features it could be quite valuable even in today's depressed markets.

20191102_114527 (2).jpg
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Nov 26, 2009
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Hi, from New Zealand. I bought this old Banjo clock and after rebushing some pivot holes it works well. My question is ... how did this movement originally attach to the backboard. Currently it is held by short slot head machine screws and hex nuts at the bottom left and top right of the backplate. I have searched past Forum posts but cannot find a photo that gives a clear answer...some photos seem to show a long rod with a slotted head level with the front plate...other pics show shadowy screw (machine or wood screws?) images. Any comment or photo that can help me instal the historically correct type of fixture will be very welcome. And for interest...while early American clocks are very uncommon in NZ...later ones from the 1850s quite often encountered. This one arrived in NZ from an estate in the US long ago and was stored by the estate beneficiary under a bed for many years. It is better than expected clock purchase from an online auction. Thank you.

View attachment 653243 View attachment 653244 View attachment 653245
Congratulations upon acquiring a very wonderful American clock...in New Zealand no less! It's considered a truly original American design and good examples are very highly prized by not just clock collectors but Americana collectors as well.

From what I can see from some of the characteristics of the door and throat frame, the method of attaching the latter, the case "head", the characteristics and size of the movement, so forth and so on, you have a rather important clock.

To me, the glasses look pretty good. The lower door tablet may have had some "work". It is my understanding that these earlier banjos had more restrained geometric rather than scenic glasses with a more limited color palette and the use of gold leaf. The entire "package" reflects the restrained and best of American Federal Period (about 1790-1820, plus minus) furniture design as produced in major centers of production.

I live just miles from where these clocks were made and where they are rarely found in such a good state of preservation.

Your question about how the movement is mounted in the case has been answered by 2 of the most knowledgeable about them. Yes, please do post more pix to reveal the total clock as well as the details of the glasses, dial, case, the lower box, and so on. I am sure the more knowledgeable than me will comment and provide further insights to you and the rest of us.

There is a very fine book about about patent time pieces or banjos. It's "Willard's Patent Timepieces" by Paul Foley. Another is "The Willard House and Clock Museum and The Willard Family Clockmakers" by Robinson and Burt. Both provide much information and are well illustrated. I don't know how accessible they would be to you. It might be worth seeing if a central or university library or even a museum library might provide such access. Might be able to get used copies on Amazon?

Thanks for sharing what looks like a wonderful clock.

New Zealand!!

RM
 
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Jim DuBois

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As RM suggests the clock is wonderful, and in my estimation too. It is of the "Simon Willard school". It may well be a Simon Willard timepiece, the creme de la creme of these clocks/timepieces. But, additional photos and details are needed to better pin that down. The glasses look good and should not be "improved". They are fine as is. Some of what we can see so far suggests it is not of the very earliest period of Willard school, but I would think it to be 1810 or a bit more early.
 
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Jim NZ

Registered User
May 6, 2021
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As RM suggests the clock is wonderful, and in my estimation too. It is of the "Simon Willard school". It may well be a Simon Willard timepiece, the creme de la creme of these clocks/timepieces. But, additional photos and details are needed to better pin that down. The glasses look good and should not be "improved". They are fine as is. Some of what we can see so far suggests it is not of the very earliest period of Willard school, but I would think it to be 1810 or a bit more early.
your movement would have originally mounted with two long bolts with machine threads, directly into the wooden backboard. Hamfisted repairmen often twist out the wood mating threads and then repairs are done with machine screws and wrongly place nuts in the backboards. This can be repaired by knowledgeable restorers, but how to do so may be outside adequate description via these comments. And this is a very nice clock deserving of good treatment. It is what we call a "Tee bridge" banjo or properly put "timepiece." Depending on it's dial and other features it could be quite valuable even in today's depressed markets.

View attachment 653310
2648F38A-67AD-4CDB-96BC-51ED2034A8B7.jpeg 1EEA6B66-DDA2-4DA4-A702-6D414E10B1B0.jpeg 1DEA35A7-35D8-4878-AEE2-F36827CCA0CF.jpeg 42B8CE33-863C-4A12-8776-75E7229E878D.jpeg 178C0589-19ED-4BD3-8705-F5E9CA7A2EAE.jpeg 13845F3D-4E19-4276-9FDC-BEE262507274.jpeg 556035E4-6824-4353-B1E8-C2C03F3914B9.jpeg
 

Jim NZ

Registered User
May 6, 2021
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Many thanks to Forum members who have given such helpful information about the clock and the fixture. in response to some questions asked...the dial is 1mm steel and the 4 is the wrong way around...curious. The Throat glass is very wavy and has some evidence of the Sun picture being been touched up from the reverse, but not the part with the Willards Patent words. The bottom glass is flat and the centre section had a 1990s painting inside the gilt border. i removed this and painted in a design that I thought looked better on the clock...this is the only alteration I have made to the clock as it arrived, I suspect that the painting it had was a reason people like me thought the clock was a some king of repro at first sight.
 

Jim NZ

Registered User
May 6, 2021
12
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3
71
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Hi Jim thanks for those photos; the S Willard glasses are works of art. Incredible how they could survive with a large pendulum Bob behind that could crash into the glass. The throat glass on our clock is obviously very thin and of variable thickness so presumably bottom glasses were the same material and fragile. Of course I do not know who made our clock but the mahogany frame woodwork looks the same as the ones in the photos.
 

Jim NZ

Registered User
May 6, 2021
12
3
3
71
Country
your movement would have originally mounted with two long bolts with machine threads, directly into the wooden backboard. Hamfisted repairmen often twist out the wood mating threads and then repairs are done with machine screws and wrongly place nuts in the backboards. This can be repaired by knowledgeable restorers, but how to do so may be outside adequate description via these comments. And this is a very nice clock deserving of good treatment. It is what we call a "Tee bridge" banjo or properly put "timepiece." Depending on it's dial and other features it could be quite valuable even in today's depressed markets.

View attachment 653310
Great photo and information. Thanks. This fixing system seems prone to failure but I will now try to reproduce those bolts. The L shaped one in the photo looks like the slotted turn bolts for the dial at the 11 and 5 positions. That looks like a better system.
 

Jim NZ

Registered User
May 6, 2021
12
3
3
71
Country
Congratulations upon acquiring a very wonderful American clock...in New Zealand no less! It's considered a truly original American design and good examples are very highly prized by not just clock collectors but Americana collectors as well.

From what I can see from some of the characteristics of the door and throat frame, the method of attaching the latter, the case "head", the characteristics and size of the movement, so forth and so on, you have a rather important clock.

To me, the glasses look pretty good. The lower door tablet may have had some "work". It is my understanding that these earlier banjos had more restrained geometric rather than scenic glasses with a more limited color palette and the use of gold leaf. The entire "package" reflects the restrained and best of American Federal Period (about 1790-1820, plus minus) furniture design as produced in major centers of production.

I live just miles from where these clocks were made and where they are rarely found in such a good state of preservation.

Your question about how the movement is mounted in the case has been answered by 2 of the most knowledgeable about them. Yes, please do post more pix to reveal the total clock as well as the details of the glasses, dial, case, the lower box, and so on. I am sure the more knowledgeable than me will comment and provide further insights to you and the rest of us.

There is a very fine book about about patent time pieces or banjos. It's "Willard's Patent Timepieces" by Paul Foley. Another is "The Willard House and Clock Museum and The Willard Family Clockmakers" by Robinson and Burt. Both provide much information and are well illustrated. I don't know how accessible they would be to you. It might be worth seeing if a central or university library or even a museum library might provide such access. Might be able to get used copies on Amazon?

Thanks for sharing what looks like a wonderful clock.

New Zealand!!

RM
Thanks for that information and comment..I will look for that book.
 

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