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Japy Freres Mantel Clock...What Material is this??

WIngraham

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Hi all, I got this clock the other day from an auction in April out of a house in Belgium. I've been starting to collect silk suspension French clocks, especially the wood cased ones. There is also a cool lined jewelery? box in the top that's a great spot for keys. Maybe this was some sort of boudoir clock.
When I bid on this clock, I assumed the carvings I saw were wood, but after getting it and seeing a few of the chips I think it is some kind of ceramic. If someone can give me some clue as to what it is, would be appreciated. I wanted to know so I could determine what was good/bad to clean it with, as the case is extremely dirty! The detail is beautiful.
The movement is in good shape as far as I can tell and runs well, there is what looks like a replacement brass bell.The dial is signed Mestdagh Meyers a Anvers, the movement is signed Paveau & Durlan A Paris and Japy Freres. From my limited knowledge I am assuming it was produced by Japy, finished by Paveau and then retailed by Meyers maybe around 1850? Am I correct with this? If anyone could let me know anymore info it would by appreciated. I enjoy knowing as much as possible about the history of each clock I adopt.
As always thanks for information and input. This forum has been a great way for me to be able to discuss and learn things that would have not been possible for me.
Will

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jmclaugh

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An interesting and attractive case with the compartment in the top. The applied decoration looks similar to the plaster moulding decoration you often seen on antique mirrors typically gilded. One source says that Japy mark was used from about 1850-58 and I would say you are correct regarding movement maker, finisher and retailer. Congrats, it is a nice clock.
 

Steven Thornberry

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An interesting and attractive case with the compartment in the top. The applied decoration looks similar to the plaster moulding decoration you often seen on antique mirrors typically gilded. One source says that Japy mark was used from about 1850-58 and I would say you are correct regarding movement maker, finisher and retailer. Congrats, it is a nice clock.
Is it perhaps gesso?
 

tracerjack

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The two distinct layers on the broken piece looks like the mold was coated with something first, then filled with a different material. On a clock case, I would think all plaster of Paris or gesso too soft and easily damaged. You may be right that it is some sort of ceramic. A fine coat as the first layer in the mold, then filled with a lesser grade clay slurry. Or perhaps fired first then dipped in gesso for a smooth surface finish.
 

tracerjack

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tracerjack

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They would. Resins were natural ones.

RM
The word resin made me think of plastics, and not the natural ones. The article stated pine rosin was the cheapest. Most astounding to me from the article was how simple the ingredients used to make it. I would never have guessed.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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The word resin made me think of plastics, and not the natural ones. The article stated pine rosin was the cheapest. Most astounding to me from the article was how simple the ingredients used to make it. I would never have guessed.
Resin predates plastic. Basically the idea was to use a substance that was soft, malleable & moldable that adhered to a surface and when hardened, it accepted any number of surface treatments.

RM
 

WIngraham

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Thanks for the ideas guys. Thank you RM for the pointer about composition. I thought it was similar to resin but didnt think that it was used in that period. The article was a good read and very enlightening. Especially the part about not using water-based cleaners (which I learned the hard way beforehand) it just softened a bit, no real harm done. It amazing how big of an industry composition was, the work is very detailed. I should have it all cleaned up soon, will post a pic then. Thanks for the help.

Will
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Thanks for the ideas guys. Thank you RM for the pointer about composition. I thought it was similar to resin but didnt think that it was used in that period. The article was a good read and very enlightening. Especially the part about not using water-based cleaners (which I learned the hard way beforehand) it just softened a bit, no real harm done. It amazing how big of an industry composition was, the work is very detailed. I should have it all cleaned up soon, will post a pic then. Thanks for the help.

Will
You is welcome!

RM
 

WIngraham

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Here is a pic of clock after cleaning and waxing. I had to touch up some areas of the composition that lost their color, it is white underneath. I used a combination of different acrylics and mohawk aerosol toners. Removed the brass and gave it a polish, I think it turned out pretty good. Thanks for the info,
Will
20200609_183040.jpg
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Here is a pic of clock after cleaning and waxing. I had to touch up some areas of the composition that lost their color, it is white underneath. I used a combination of different acrylics and mohawk aerosol toners. Removed the brass and gave it a polish, I think it turned out pretty good. Thanks for the info,
Will
View attachment 595663
Looks nice!

RM