American Jeromes, Gilbert & Grant Ogee Dials

George Pins

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My question has to do with clocks by Jeromes, Gilbert & Grant. I have two ogees by this firm, which only lasted two years, 1839-1840. One dial is bare zinc, no white background, with the numbers, chapter ring, etc. applied to the bare metal. The other had a paper dial pasted on, and when I removed it, it was apparent that the original dial finish had been the same as the first clock - numbers and chapter ring on bare metal. May I assume that all JG&G ogees were originally this way? Photos of other examples I have seen have bright, white background dials that appear to be too good to be original.
 

Jerome collector

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I agree with you that white dials on JG&G clocks are suspect. Three types of dials were definitely used: plain zinc with black chapter ring, brass with raised chapter ring and black numerals, and zinc with gold-painted background for chapter ring (with black numerals). For the latter, it is only the chapter ring area that is gold; the rest of the dial is plain zinc. The order that I've listed them is likely the order in which they were used, although there may have been overlap.
Mike
 

George Pins

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Thank you, Mike. This will be of great assistance. A couple more things, if I might: 1. What about keyed door latches vs. not keyed? Are the keyed doors earlier? 2. What about mirrored tablets vs. reverse-painted ones? Any logic there, or just different prices when new? George
 

Jim DuBois

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I have a couple of these clocks at the moment. I don't know that I can assign any time line to the various details. It seems they were a bit indiscriminate in their use of brass vs zinc, as well as the various door locks. The slightly earlier "roundsides" that bear the C.&N. Jerome labels seem to have the keyed door latches, so it might be the keyed latches in OG cased versions are earlier? Conversely, the roundsides had the zinc dials and some of the OG's of course have the brass versions. But, not certain that tells us much at all. Just adds to the confusion?

It is interesting that Joseph Ives was also using brass dials in his hourglass clocks of the same period (1840-1841). There are evidently more ties between Ives and the Jerome family than we were previously aware. One of our most dedicated researchers has found written records of Noble Jerome working for Ives as early as 1818. A book with that information is currently awaiting publication, not that it adds to this conversation and George's questions.

Back to the dial question one of the clocks I have also had the overpasted and much later paper dial over the zinc with the painted numbers....

2018-08-08 10.12.32.jpg 2018-08-08 10.12.50.jpg IMG_3157.JPG !BlP9P-wB2k~$(KGrHqQOKjYEtj+EChokBL,3Wpebng~~_12.jpg DSCN0973.JPG jeromes door latch 2.jpg
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I actually do find the discussion of types of dials on American clocks of this general period rather interesting.

I don't have much to add to the comments already made re: Jerome et al's brass and zinc round dials with large center openings which clearly indicate the presence of a brass movement. I believe that feature was important during that time of transition from wooden works clocks to smaller brass movement ones.

To expand the discussion a bit, I will also mention the use of "raw" zinc dials by the E.C. Brewster firms. They also had a wide center opening to declare "brass movement" (but with the further improvement of being spring driven movements in even more compact clocks). You could also see the escapement so adding an element of animation to the dial and permitting one to see if the clock was still running as there was often no oculus for the pendulum bob. The numerals and minute ring were also painted directly onto the zinc without a base coat as were those by the Jeromes firms. E.C.. Brewster dials differed in that it was square. The square shape permitted for painted spandrel decoration on the dial plate itself rather than with the use of a reverse painted glass which served that purpose on the Jeromes clocks. The spandrel decoration was applied to a base coat which could be white, robin's egg blue, yellow, etc. I do think it's interesting to note that both treatments of the area surrounding the central field of the dial produced a rather similar visual effect?

Previously discussed on the MB were some "last gasp" wooden works with zinc dials (but no central opening!) similar to those used by E.C. Brewster.

Which is earlier, the brass or zinc ones? Not sure. One thing that is often brought up is that the availability of brass and the technology to roll that brass into sheets then stamp it into plates, gears, etc. was limited until advances occurred in this country leading to wide spread mass production. I also believe that CT was a center for tin ware production. So, I wonder if given those considerations, for clocks intended to be of relatively low cost/unit, the zinc dials might have made more sense and when rolled brass was more widely available and less expensive, that would then come into use for the dials?

The lock and key to me is an earlier feature, e.g., widely used on the older wooden works and earlier brass works clocks. A lock required that a key and escutcheon (bone or pressed brass) be supplied. They were also inconvenient. Keys got lost, locks stopped working, etc. With the desire to control the cost and complexity of construction, I would suggest that the transition was made to more simple latches. These even became more basic as they went from cast to basically a bent wire.

Mirror vs. reverse painted tablets. They occur simultaneously on wooden works and brass works clocks. I don't think one was earlier than another on mass produced clocks, per se. The standard teaching is that early on, mirror plate was considered something of a luxury item. To modern collectors, an original hand painted reverse decorated tablet is more desirable. However, on the earlier mass produced clocks, then, the use of a mirror might have been seen as a value added feature? You get a clock and a mirror.

RM
 
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Jim DuBois

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Zinc dials left natural surface with only applied numerals and on occasion corner decorations were a short term dial offering I think, maybe 10 years. The earliest I have been able to more or less date is the dial used on the 1836 Ives movement clocks sold by Jerome and Joseph Ives. We have examples of labeled clocks with both names. We also have examples with no labels but still with the Ives A frame movement. This sharing of movements between Ives labeled and Jerome labeled clocks last for a very short period, apparently less than a year as C & N Jerome were offering their rack and snail movement in the same cases at about the same time. Cases with the A frame movement and the R&S labels have been found as well as R&S movements in roller pinion movement labels (Ives) have been found suggesting they were pretty much concurrent products and both Ives and Jerome were not as concerned with accuracy of their labels as they were about getting product out the door.

Below is one of these 8 day A frame movement Ives/Jerome OG clocks. The 8-day OG clock dial is much larger than the 30-hr version, but it does not have the larger cut out of later zinc dials, in spite of the rather unusual movement. It is unlabeled. The last photo is that of one of the A-frame movement in a Rodney Brace case with a cut out dial that shows the movement quite well.

080817-3-3.jpg IMG_3202.jpg IMG_3204.jpg 20180523_073645.jpg
 

George Pins

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Thanks for the education to all who responded to my initial question. If I am ever on "Jeopardy" and this is one of the question topics, I am prepared. George
 
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