• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

Interesting English tall case clock

DenisG

Registered User
Sep 7, 2003
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Hello all,

I'm currently working on a very nice English tall case clock, and had a couple of questions:

The dial is marked 'James Beckett, Dover'. Could anyone throw any light on this maker for me?

The movement is a very nice, high quality bell strike. What surprised me is the striking mechanism. I am accustomed to the typical rack and snail striking on English tall case clocks, this one operates on a countwheel between the plates attached to the first wheel alongside the winding drum. The levers operate very much like a typical American mantel or wall clock movement. Wondering if anyone has come across this type of movement before and if it is indicative of a particular maker or period of manufacture?

Any and all comments welcome as always :)

Denis
 

DenisG

Registered User
Sep 7, 2003
336
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18
Hello all,

I'm currently working on a very nice English tall case clock, and had a couple of questions:

The dial is marked 'James Beckett, Dover'. Could anyone throw any light on this maker for me?

The movement is a very nice, high quality bell strike. What surprised me is the striking mechanism. I am accustomed to the typical rack and snail striking on English tall case clocks, this one operates on a countwheel between the plates attached to the first wheel alongside the winding drum. The levers operate very much like a typical American mantel or wall clock movement. Wondering if anyone has come across this type of movement before and if it is indicative of a particular maker or period of manufacture?

Any and all comments welcome as always :)

Denis
 

tymfxr

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May 13, 2005
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Denis, Brian Loomes vol. 2 W & C makers of the world entry says 'early 18th century. That's all. Anyone out there with a better source?
Mike C. Also, I have worked on quite a few of the movements you described. If I remember correctly, most were 30 hour. Perhaps Mike Phelan can give us more info on this type of movement. Yo, Mike, howyadoin? Eh, sometimes that South Philly accent comes out. Hey, da Iggles won! Mike C.
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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Originally posted by tymfxr:
Denis, Brian Loomes vol. 2 W & C makers of the world entry says 'early 18th century. That's all. Anyone out there with a better source?
Mike C. Also, I have worked on quite a few of the movements you described. If I remember correctly, most were 30 hour. Perhaps Mike Phelan can give us more info on this type of movement. Yo, Mike, howyadoin? Eh, sometimes that South Philly accent comes out. Hey, da Iggles won! Mike C.
Hiya Mike! :biggrin: Iggles?? :confused: Can you have an operation for them?

Nearly all 30-hour British longcases were countwheel - some later ones from Lancashire had pins instead of notches and only had one lever for warning and locking.

Although Edward Barlow aka Booth invented the rack strike in 1676, most 8-day longcases kept the countwheel up to 1700, sometimes later.
The first ones were inside, usually fitted on the great wheel.

This sounds like a very early clock - someone will probably find the maker in Baillie soon.
Of course, there was no sort of standardisation anywhere at this time - clockmakers did what they wanted to do!

The warning piece is usually on a stud like a rack jobbie, the locking piece has an arbor and a hoop on wheel #3 to lock it. There is an external arm for the warning piece to raise.
HTH
 

DenisG

Registered User
Sep 7, 2003
336
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Gents,

Thank you for the information, much appreciated. Does anyone out there have a copy of Baillie per Mike's post? I must admit I had no idea that the clock dated back so far. I will take a couple of pictures of the movement once I have it reassembled and post them.

Denis
 

Ralph

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Post some pictures and you might get some more definitive opinions.

Mike, I think some of the earliest countwheels (i.e. Fromanteel et al) were outside the plate and later moved inside.

You can find countwheels on longcase movements from the 17th, 18th and 19th centurys. I have a 1740ish movement with countwheel and a Scottish mid 19th century with one.... both 8 day.

Cheers, Ralph
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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Originally posted by Ralph:
Post some pictures and you might get some more definitive opinions.

Mike, I think some of the earliest countwheels (i.e. Fromanteel et al) were outside the plate and later moved inside.
Yep - forgot about those, Ralph - think I saw one in the Science Museum with a bob pendulum and engraved back plate.
You can find countwheels on longcase movements from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. I have a 1740ish movement with countwheel and a Scottish mid 19th century with one.... both 8 day.
Cheers, Ralph
Like I said, there was no standardisation - I have seen rack strike 30-hours and a Lister 30-hour with a key wind and grooved barrel. 8-day countwheels from a late 1850ish Ballymena clock.
Variety is the spice of life!
 
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lofty

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Hi Denis, in Brian Loomes book , Brass Dial Clocks, he states that 30 hour clocks always had the countwheel outside the plates, whereas 8 day longcase clocks originally had the countwheel outside the plates but by 1690 started to have the countwheel positioned inside the plates, attached to the main wheel. Assuming this is correct, your clock would certainly be of 8 day duration. He also says that the new rack striking system was accepted faster in some areas than others. He says that inside countwheel striking was not uncommon up to 1760 in some areas. Apparently some clockmakers did not like the new rack system while others quickly embraced the new concept.
I have Baillie's book but cannot find any reference to your maker. I hope this information can be of assistance. Regards ... Lofty
 

DenisG

Registered User
Sep 7, 2003
336
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Hi Lofty,

Well, I have reassembled and lubricated this fine old movement and you are correct - it is an 8 day. No maker's mark anywhere on the movement, only on the dial. It's up and running on my test rack and seems more than happy to be back in action again :)

Thanks to all for your assistance - very much appreciated as always.

Denis
 
M

michael pearson

Have just seen your message re James Beckett of Dover.
I am particularly interested as I wrote the book on Kent Clocks and Clockmakers published by Mayfield books.I know of at least three longcase clocks by Beckett who was apprenticed in London in 1698 and moved to Dover sometime after1705.As you now know inside count wheel striking was very common on 8 day clocks at this time,sometimes with the lever working through a slot in the backplate.Two of the clocks I know of are housed in walnut cases,the other one was probably in a lacquer case and has been recased at a later date in mahogany.Lacquer cases were very common in Kent in the early 18th cent. I would be very interested to see a photo of the clock you are restoring.Firstly because i am writing a second volume of my book with a mass of additional info which has come to light during the last seven years and secondly one of the walnut cased clocks was stolen in july this year.Hopefully it isnt the one you are restoring. The stolen clock has an arch dial with a boss in the arch surrounded by cherubs supporting a crown over the boss.This would date the clock to either 1714 or 1727, the accession dates of george1 /11. quite common to commemorate dates in this way.
Any info would be very welcome.....Mike Pearson
 

DenisG

Registered User
Sep 7, 2003
336
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Hi Mike,

Thank you very much for the additional information. I also received your email, and I will be more than happy to provide you with pictures of the clock (with the owner's permission of course). He has owned this clock for many years but has no idea of its history. I know that he will be delighted with this new information, and I am sure he will be more than happy to know that his clock may appear in the new volume of your book. Incidentally, can you let me know where I might purchase a copy of said book? Thanks again.

Denis
 
M

michael pearson

Hi Dennis,
I am pleased to hear that the Beckett clock is not the one stolen in Kent in July this year.I look forward to seeing photos asap.We have no publication date for the revised copy of my book,hopefully end of next year,but i busy putting it together.its a mammoth task and much extra research needs doing not least searching through 20000 Kentish inventories from the 17th and 18th cent to try to ascertain the extent of clock ownership at that time.
There are still some copies available of the current book from Mayfield Books,Matherfiel House,Church Lane,Mayfield,Derbyshire DE62JR
tel/ 01335 344472 price 34.99 pounds
John Robey ,the publisher has a growing list of very good specialist horological books, both on provincial English makers and specialist
books suitable for restorers and clock enthusiasts generally.
I believe these titles may be available in the USA.

Whilst writing i would like to ask all subscribers for any information they may have about early Kentish clocks, particularly those by the Greenhill family of Maidstone,Ashford and Canterbury,John Wimble of Ashford,Thomas Deale of Ashford and the Barrett family from canterbury.Allof these were working in the 17th and early 18th cent.I am sure that some of their clocks have finished up in the USA or Canada etc .
There was a John Greenhill longcase in the Virginia museum many years ago but its present whereabouts are unknown.I know there is a Wimble in a red lacquer case somewhere in New York state.I sold it some 28 years ago but have lost track of it since then.
Any info about any clocks by these makers would be very much appreciated.
Regards to all,
MikePearson
 

Lawrie

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Hello DenisG,

I am custodian of a 'James Beckett Dover' grandfather clock that is a family heirloom and been in my care for 50 years and kept it in daily use throughout that time. I have an opinion by William Patrick Tyrrell of Churchill Clocks, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9BZ, England. based on photographs sent to him: he states that James Beckett is a listed maker and shown as early 18th century. In his opinion, the clock is a "Marriage", altered over the years to "Improve" it.
I am an engineer (retired) and have photos that I would be happy to share with you if that would be helpful.

Lawrie :cyclops:
 
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Periplus

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Dec 13, 2020
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Hello. I am a new member to this forum. I recently inherited my father's Tall Case clock. It was made by James Beckett of Dover in ~ 1721. I believe the case was replaced at some time. I have found very little information on Beckett and would appreciate any information that anyone can share. I have Michael Pearson's book mentioned in this thread and was saddened to hear that he passed away in 2017. I have included a photo of my clock and happy to provide more if requested. I recently had it cleaned and serviced and very glad to say it is a faithful timekeeper with a lovely chime. Any and all information about James Beckett or this clock would be most appreciated!

20190216_221724.jpg
 

bruce linde

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can you please post (lots of) photos of the dial, movement, pendulum and weights? would love to see everything... and more clearly.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Jul 26, 2015
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I didn't know that Michael Pearson had died, I spoke to him once about an addition to his book and he seemed a very nice guy.

We never got any pics of the original clock in this thread, but I think P.Hageman had a clock by Greenhill.
 

Periplus

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Dec 13, 2020
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Apologies for delayed response to the request for photos. I am not currently with the clock and am trying to dig out some more photos, but here are some for now from when the clock was reinstalled after the recent clean. Any insights in the type of movement etc, history of James Beckett etc, would be most welcome. Thanks.

71C655D9-64A1-4D3F-9979-267DF08F22EA.jpeg E7D1BCF6-97C8-4CF2-81C9-8A26001AA5AA.jpeg 8BB9EADA-4FB9-4F35-9E41-5AB56EA50185.jpeg 52470274-274B-4904-AF35-C62D9EE1F742.jpeg 99B6B72E-F4C1-4B71-A057-5847B6F13B3E.jpeg
 

novicetimekeeper

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Jul 26, 2015
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The clock dial and movement fits with the sort of dates mentioned by Mr Pearson but I agree the case is later. Was it made for this clock? It may well have been, I have never seen that swan neck look on top of a flat top before.

Is this rack strike?
 

Periplus

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Dec 13, 2020
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I had to read up on rack strikes. I do not have a photo or recall of the mechanism other than to say that I do not recall seeing a rack and snail setup and the chime count does get out of sync with the time. There is a cord to release the chiming mechanism to resume it. So I am pretty certain this is a countwheel strike.
The case may be from a different clock. There are two areas of the case gouged out to allow the pendulum to swing unimpeded that indicate to me the case had to be adjusted at some point. could it also be that the pendulum was swapped for a longer, lighter one and needed more room?
There was an earlier question about the weights. They are simple lead weights that look like they were simply made by pouring into a mould. Corners and surface indents and scratches indicate they have had a life outside the case at some time.
hope that helps.
 
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