Items found in clocks

THTanner

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I am not sure what forum this should go to, but, what strange objects have you found hidden in clocks?

A 60 year old, home made, mantle clock came in for repair today. I do a quick inspection after they get dropped off and prepare a brief list for discussion with the owner for the next day.

Inside today's clock I found these eye glasses tucked into a rather secret little compartment behind the 10 inch dial and above the movement. I called the owner who knew nothing about them and had never been to Malden, Mass. He had no idea the glasses were there or who they may belong to. A search for the optometrist by name gives no results. The ear hook, chain and nose piece that holds the glasses on is 14k gold and there is almost no prescription. The best I can tell is that they are late 1800 or early 1900 reading glasses, perhaps used by whoever used to own the clock before the current owner.
 

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Kevin W.

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Interesting find, wonder the story behind that. I found a article online a few years ago about a man who left his will in his clock.
 

hemioutlaw

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Well, hardly as novel as a pair of eyeglasses, but many years ago I started just buying clocks because I liked the way they looked and they seemed like a good deal but I hadn't a clue how to work on them so if they ran I kept them wound and if not they just started gathering dust. Well this Bracket clock has always run but the right winding hole (time side?) always had this loose piece of steel inside that would drop right in front of the key and I would have to kind of move it to the side to get it out of the key's way so I could wind it. Last year I began my journey to start educating myself on the mechanic's and maintenance of movements and when I took this movement out .........WALLAH, an identical key to the original that came with the clock fell out and the mystery of the closing hole was solved...Lol!
 

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George Nelson

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Hi, All,

I have posted this before, but I found a $20 Confederate bill between the backing and the mirror in an 1838 Chauncey and Noble Jerome round sided clock a few years ago. Apparently, someone was keeping an emergency fund hidden from Northern soldiers (or perhaps the husband or wife?) During the middle of the Civil War, $20 then was worth about $377.00 today. Quite a fund in that little clock!

Best to all,

George Nelson
 

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Billy

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A few weeks ago, an older couple brought in a Simple Ingraham parlor clock for service that had been in the family since new. Once I had the movement out I noticed some paper up under the arch behind where the dial is attached. It was the complete history of the clock with family names, dates and places. I took a pic of it to show the owners (the paper was glued to the arch) and they were surprised as they didnt know the paper was in there. Thought that was pretty cool.
 

ballistarius

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Mmmh, let me see... Lots of dirt, cobwebs,...:cuckoo:
Nothing much exciting, but once I found that one of the 'idler' side door of the hood of a Morbier case was nailed fix to the case.
attachment.jpg
When I took the nails out, I discovered a little piece of paper folded and tucked below the door (just to prevent it from wobbling while it was being nailed) When I unfolded it, I saw it was just the torn away corner of a page from a notebook: it was the notebook of a money lender, listing a few sums of money.

Aitor
 

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novicetimekeeper

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one of my longcases has a label pasted on the backboard in cursive script decribing some of the history and work on the clock. The author has the age of the clock out by about a century but it is a nice additional feature to find. I think the note dates to around 1900/1910 when the clock would have been about 170.
 

shutterbug

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I am not sure what forum this should go to, but, what strange objects have you found hidden in clocks?

A 60 year old, home made, mantle clock came in for repair today. I do a quick inspection after they get dropped off and prepare a brief list for discussion with the owner for the next day.

Inside today's clock I found these eye glasses tucked into a rather secret little compartment behind the 10 inch dial and above the movement. I called the owner who knew nothing about them and had never been to Malden, Mass. He had no idea the glasses were there or who they may belong to. A search for the optometrist by name gives no results. The ear hook, chain and nose piece that holds the glasses on is 14k gold and there is almost no prescription. The best I can tell is that they are late 1800 or early 1900 reading glasses, perhaps used by whoever used to own the clock before the current owner.
Those are very old glasses. They stopped using gold in frames in the '60's, and that style of frame dates from the Roosevelt era (he wore similar frames), and yours is earlier than that. Yours does not use temple pieces, and instead uses a single ear piece with a gold chain. The bridge piece will be spring loaded to hold the glasses on the nose. I have never even seen that particular design, and was in the optical business for 32 years, starting in the early '70's. Back in those days the lenses were glass, and the holes were drilled using diamond bits and plenty of oil. Collectors like those old ones, especially gold filled, unusual ones like that.
 

THTanner

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One of my saddest clock stories involved the replacement of a Takane battery movement in a simple round wooden wall clock with a dial, damaged bezel and the problem that the owner had to pull nails out of the wooden back to change the time or the battery. They wanted a door cut into the back to access the new movement easier. They had bought the clock at a garage sale about 20 years earlier for 50 dollars.

The case needed a bit of work so I pretty much took it apart to cut in a nice door and get everything glued tight. When I took the old Takane out I could see some writing under the large mess of masking tape that had been applied to the back of the dial to help secure the battery movement.

I carefully removed the old tape and found a hand signed dial with the inscription "August 20, 1870 John Smith" and below that "John Smith Clock Co." Further down under the same tape "Richard O. Smith, Palermo, NY June 1972"

I tried to buy the dial from them, but they refused. I added fake winding arbors, fixed the bezel, installed a new Takane in such a way that the signatures were no longer covered, and added hidden hinges to the back so they would stop damaging the old square nails that held it on and swapped the hands for something a lot closer to a time and strike of the 1870s.
 

lpbp

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I guess most know the story of using a chicken to clean a movement using kerosene, found a well used one in the bottom of a kitchen clock, man what a mess to clean up the movement, also some put a tin in the bottom of the clock so that the evaporating fumes would lube it, doesn't work, found a couple of those still in bottom of cases, I guess the best one I got a statue clock from an estate to get it ready for auction, there were four new $50. bills inside, could have made a nice profit if I had kept them.
 

JTD

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Larry, I hope you meant to write 'a chicken feather'.........!!

JTD
 

THTanner

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Perhaps they will help offset the cost of the repairs. I had to take a vacuum cleaner to the case before bringing it into the shop. I am not sure where it had been, but it was full of sand and is broken in several places.

Those are very old glasses. They stopped using gold in frames in the '60's, and that style of frame dates from the Roosevelt era (he wore similar frames), and yours is earlier than that. Yours does not use temple pieces, and instead uses a single ear piece with a gold chain. The bridge piece will be spring loaded to hold the glasses on the nose. I have never even seen that particular design, and was in the optical business for 32 years, starting in the early '70's. Back in those days the lenses were glass, and the holes were drilled using diamond bits and plenty of oil. Collectors like those old ones, especially gold filled, unusual ones like that.
 

bruce linde

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my clock mentor has a gorgeous lange clock... photos in this thread: https://goo.gl/AJEgEz

on his SECOND ultrasonic cleaning of the movement he found a note inside the winding barrel:

San Francisco Oct. 1, 1910
Bought from J. C. Pascoe who loaned the clock to the
playground cafe of the Golden Gate Park. The woman
wanted to through (ed. 'throw') us out when we wanted
to do for it total cost of clock LKF.AL Clock originally
made for OHM by Adholphe Lange of Dresden
the note is about a third of the size of a fortune cookie fortune... here's a zoomed-in version and how it compares in size to a seth thomas regulator 2 label.


attachment.jpg attachment.jpg


i believe there's another thread on the forum about stuff found in clocks...


 

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lpbp

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Larry, I hope you meant to write 'a chicken feather'.........!!

JTD
Yea it was a feather, the whole chicken would have really made a mess.
 
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zedric

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Along the lines of this thread, I purchased a copy a book "Old English Clocks: The Wetherfield collection" from eBay a while back. It turned out that this was an original edition, from 1907 - and the book was numbered 16 in the series. Even more, tucked inside the book was a letter from Mr Wetherfield himself, in his own handwriting, addressed to a major US clock collector and thanking him for his interest in the collection. Later editions of this book note that Wetherfield did not want his collection broken up and sold to the US, so this is an interesting historical artefact!
 

zedric

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Just checked the letter and the collector it's addressed to is Walter H Durfee, if anyone knows anything about him? It mentions that Wethersfield was sending him three copies of the book.
 

JTD

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Walter H. Durfee was a famous maker of long case clocks in the late 19th-early 20th century. There is quite a lot of information about him on line and in books. And I think there was quite a comprehensive article on him in the NAWCC Bulletin.

JTD
 

musicguy

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I am having a lot fun reading through this thread. Keep posting!!
My father gave me a Junghans German Wall clock(late 19th century). He always kept stuff inside the clock.
When he gave it to me, strangely it had a bunch of chiquita banana stickers
inside it (from countries around the world, I remember him collecting them). I keep a few guitar pick in it now,
and the Chiquita banana stickers are still there.

Rob

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shutterbug

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Yea it was a feather, the whole chicken would have really made a mess.
Several years ago, after someone mentioned that his neighbor cleaned his clock by dipping a chicken feather in kerosene and rubbing it on the pivots, I mentioned that I like to just dip the whole chicken in kerosene and let it loose in the case. This thread was born from that comment.
 

THTanner

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If you use banana peel instead of leather in the hammers you get a very Mellow Yellow sound according to Donovan ;)

Musicguy, perhaps your father used banana oil to lubricate the movement.Nutjob
 

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jpbaun_clock_service

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About 2 years back my Daughter found a saved human molar (tooth) and a small glass vial labeled as Black Leg serum in the bottom of a 30 day cottage clock. They were stuck in the gap between the lower front case and the case bottom. Those were returned with the clock, shown to the owners and tucked back into the case as they had been for some time, although without as much lint.

I have seen a nice hand built "German Box Clock" style wall clock that rotates out a security style pump shotgun when a portion of the side case is manipulated... Glad the owner didn't think I overcharged or anything. Kind of took me by surprise when it was demonstrated, it was very clever and looked well made.
 
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jpbaun_clock_service

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Took the back board of a Black columned mantle clock to investigate it's condition today & found what looks like mouse poison inside, reminded me of Hickory Dickery Doc, Mouse won't revisit this clock.
4" dia. round hole in the back board, with no provision for a cover evident.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I have found the occasional interesting source for bits that people have used to repair clocks. Bits of printed tin can for instance.

I have been looking for a bracket clock for a while and the nearest I have got is the use of bracket clock mounting straps to form stirrups for gut pulleys and movement mounts for longcase.

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Firegriff

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Maybe somebody hid the glasses from their sibling or parent and forgot they did it or was to scared to tell dad that they did it.
 

owen.or

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JTD

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Nice clock. I think the name in the dedication is Theo Schafer, but I may be wrong.

JTD
 

THTanner

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RAK

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I have been in "temporary housing" for three years now so looking at 95% of my clock collection has consisted of opening a large storage closet, staring at a stack of boxes... saying to myself "yup, they're still there" and closing said closet. Finally our new digs have been completed and I have been able to start unpacking and hanging my collection. I just finished hanging one of the few larger "regulators" I have (actually just a New Haven 8 day spring wound affair in a 5 ft. tall case) and when I looked in the bottom of the case I had to chuckle. There were two small circular labels for "GENESEE VALLEY RYE"; one red and one blue. Now according to an ad in The Geneva Daily Times newspaper from 1902, GENESEE VALLEY RYE sold for 50c a pint; $1 a quart; and $3 a gallon. I thought to myself, what a great place to hide your pint bottle for those cold winter days in upstate New York :chuckling: Bob
 

jacks61fd

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In the early 1990's I bought a Seth Thomas tall case clock from a local collector this clock had door on the base. At home setting up the clock I found an envelope with a list of items the previous owner had sold to an antique dealer many years ago along with the $2500.00 she got for the items. I returned the money the next day, she had no idea the money was their. I bought more clocks from her over time at very good prices, definetly paid to be honest.
 
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Pat L.

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This very old screwdriver was found in the bottom of an American woodworks clock a year or two ago. There weren't any screws in the clock, but there was a screwdriver (at least that's what I think it is). It's approx. 3-3/8" long.

DSC08524.JPG DSC08525.JPG
 

George Nelson

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To me, it looks more like a tool for prying rather than a screwdriver. It is very similar to an antique paint can opener I have around here somewhere. It was found in a collection of antique tools and hardware we found in the shed of a circa 1910 home we bought years ago. Our old clocks sometimes have wonderful things in them!

George N.
 

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I found a penny from 1937 that had one side missing on it. Found it in a mantel clock many years ago
 

THTanner

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I collect old bottle openers for fun. You will see all kinds of these tool versions including some with little hammers, open end wrenches and specialty tools for carpenters, heating and air conditioning, etc. That exact tool is part of a collection of bottle openers for sale on eBay at the moment (not mine) along with several other multi use openers. One of my favorites has a hammer and a spike on the other end to use to break up ice when ice came in large blocks.
 

shutterbug

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I found several dried up lizards in an old Budweiser Beer clock a few years back. Those critters don't live in this State, so no idea where the clock had been.
 

Ralph B

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Not a clock but an old wind up phonograph.
The top plate unlatched and tipped up in order to gain access to the mechanism.

When I did so was surprised to find an old plastic bag full of some strange, and rather dry, herbal material.....
The phonograph owner remembered that his college days flatmate 30 years ago had an interest in such things !
 
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THTanner

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Not a clock but an old wind up phonograph.
The top plate unlatched and tipped up in order to gain access to the mechanism.

When I did so was surprised to find an old plastic bag full of some strange, and rather dry, herbal material.....
The phonograph owner remembered that his college days flatmate 30 years ago had an interest in such things !
Great phonographic memory
 

musicguy

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Chris

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I was preparing to remove a modern grandfather clock movement from its case but had to remove several things from the bottom of the case to avoid damage; an unopened beer, an angel figurine, a photo, and, yes, her dead husband's ashes! He loved the clock, so she put him in it!

Another time I was repairing an antique grandfather clock and felt things rolling around inside the weight. Knowing some yankee fixers add weight to overcome worn pivots. I decided to remove the excess weight to restore the proper amount of weight to the movement and found they used live bullets to add weight!
 
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THTanner

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I live in rural, farm, cow, sheep, and llama, country with many old barns and family farms that have been handed down since about the 1860s. The street past my house is the old Pony Express trail from the Virginia City silver mines into Sacramento and the route Snowshoe Thompson traveled to get the mail through in the Winters. I was presented a clock that had been in the hay loft of a local barn for about 30 years according to the owner, who claimed her grandfather had made the clock sometime in the 1940s. The case was open under the movement and the pendulum swung freely with no protection. Up in the hay loft it became a nest for who knows what all. After extracting the nesting materials and countless little critter carcasses, I gently removed the movement. Normally I would have said no to such a job for fear of hantavirus, but decided to proceed. Rolled up inside the movement I found a five dollar silver certificate that had been partially consumed. It was positioned to keep the escape wheel from turning. I guess the old guy was working on the clock, didn't finish, and it went to the hay loft to be forgotten. It was completed last week in time for a Christmas present from the granddaughter to her family and will be hung tomorrow by the family room fireplace in the old farm house where it used to hang. It basically needed a new spring, a bit of work to straighten the EW pivots from when the spring broke, a good cleaning and a couple of bushes. I left intact the awful solder job the old man had done to keep the verge spring clip in place. The granddaughter was okay with that since it works fine and was done by her grandfather at some time in the past.

BarnClock2.JPG BarnClock3.JPG BarnClock1.JPG BarnClock.JPG
 
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THTanner

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Was there enough of the Silver certificate to make it worth framing?
They may do something with it. I left it in an envelope for them. About a third of it was gone along with one serial number area.
 
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