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Lead weights for Charles Stratton wood works clock

Tod

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Just bought my first wood works clock. The glass is cracked, but the price was right ($50), at least to me. I've read what I can about Charles Stratton here and elsewhere. This one has an alarm feature and is probably a 30-hr movement. I've not opened the plates. Going to wait until I read a bit more about these clocks. The pics I've seen of a few of these clocks show three weights, two on either side and one smaller one near the middle. The middle one looks bon-bon shaped. Does anyone know the proper weights of these weights and where I might find them for sale? Any other comments on what you see in these pics that you think might be helpful would be most welcome. I clean and overhaul my own Chelsea clocks and Antique American time and strike clocks, but while things look familiar here, I am moving ahead with caution. Thanks! Tod wood1.jpg wood2.jpg wood3.jpg wood4.jpg wood5.jpg
 

Jim DuBois

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Weights on these clocks tend to range in the 2.5-3.5 pound area. Some are round, some are rectangular or square. They were almost always originally cast iron, not lead.
 

Tod

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Thanks, Jim. Like others, I was excited to post the pics of my clock before reading the threads. Found lots of good info. I found a couple of "lightweights" on Ebay that fall within this range. Part of the reason for buying this clock was that it was sitting on a dusty floor of a crowded junk shop in the Los Angeles area. I had seen it there for a few years, but never really considered buying it. A year or so ago, I sat through a presentation at Chapter 190 (Ventura County) on the restoration of a wood works clock. I learned a lot -- especially how much I don't know and can't do -- and came away intrigued by the aspect of American history that live in these clocks. Anyway, I rescued it yesterday and look forward to getting it going again. One other thing. The fellow at the 190 presentation said these wood movements aren't great timekeepers. Doesn't really matter. If it is close enough, then that's also part of its history, in my opinion. If I want the correct time, I've got my iphone. Regards, Tod
 

Jim DuBois

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Good you are saving this clock. That said, you may be surprised how good of time these beasts can keep. I would think a couple of minutes a week is achievable. One of the more frustrating aspects of "precision timekeeping" on these is the amount of slop in the motion works. That alone confuses setting and keeping really accurate time to some extent.
 

Andy Dervan

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Spittler, Spittler, & Bailey provided information on Charles Stratton. He was born 1809 and died 1954; he worked in Holden ca 1835 - 1841 (some basic information).

On the label - notice the printer information that is often helpful dating the clock.

Movement is 5 arbor 30 hr. Terry type movement. Closely examining and comparing its characteristics to Snowden Taylor's movement id chart can confirm who actually made the movement.

Andy Dervan
 

Tod

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Thanks, Andy. Will do the work on this. Made me think of something I saw yesterday on the NAWCC site about a label project of some sort.
 

Andy Dervan

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You have to be an NAWCC member to access the label data base. I am not sure Worcester, MA has been included in database.

I searched Cog Counter's Journal and there were a few references to Charles Stratton as a few members have acquired one of his clocks; the dating 1835 - 1841 is definitive as he moved to Worcester in 1841. By 1841 the wooden movement production had basically come to an end except for a few die hard makers and brass movement projection had taken off.

Andy Dervan
 

Tod

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Thanks, Andy. So, this clock is perhaps a last testament to the wood works era? I can't wait to get it going. An expert here in So. Cal has graciously offered to take me through restoration, so I don't screw it up. Today, I returned to the junk shop where I rescued this clock, and took home two more, including a triple decker ST in really fine shape for $125. It had hung high up on the wall for years, but I never bit. However, I have a strange feeling that the owner of the shop may be going out of business. She never discounted anything prior to this past week. She calls it a Christmas discount, but it really smells like a fire sale. Maybe not. But COVID-19 continues to take its toll on small businesses. Ebay began the strangling of junk shops and antique malls. Coronavirus may be applying the final pressure. Sad.
 

Jerome collector

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The movement is a type 9.223, based on the revised numbering/identification system of Snowden Taylor, and was made by either Chauncey Boardman or (Chauncey) Boardman and (Joseph A.) Wells. Boardman was one of the more prolific suppliers of movements to the trade. Charles Stratton is a documented user of Boardman movements.
Mike
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Just bought my first wood works clock. The glass is cracked, but the price was right ($50), at least to me. I've read what I can about Charles Stratton here and elsewhere. This one has an alarm feature and is probably a 30-hr movement. I've not opened the plates. Going to wait until I read a bit more about these clocks. The pics I've seen of a few of these clocks show three weights, two on either side and one smaller one near the middle. The middle one looks bon-bon shaped. Does anyone know the proper weights of these weights and where I might find them for sale? Any other comments on what you see in these pics that you think might be helpful would be most welcome. I clean and overhaul my own Chelsea clocks and Antique American time and strike clocks, but while things look familiar here, I am moving ahead with caution. Thanks! Tod View attachment 625449 View attachment 625450 View attachment 625451 View attachment 625452 View attachment 625453
Congrats on you first ww clock!

Agree with comments made so far. Most old mass produced earlier 19th century clocks like this I believe were never precision time keepers and should not be expected to be so 180 years later. Remember, most of the country at this point rose with that ultimate time keeper, the sun, worked say the farm, and rested after it set. Few trains to catch on schedule. Most people didn't have to punch a time clock at the beginning of their shift. All that would come later as the nation industrialized.

I know you just asked a simple question about the weights. I hope you don't mind some comments including those about it's current condition. Not meant to be critical, demeaning, to make you feel bad, etc., but as teachable points as you seem to be eager to learn something about your clock, to hopefully help you to develop your "eye", and possibly suggest future restoration...though it's fine the way it is and ready to enjoy as you should.

The point is, there's lots to learn from just this one clock if you're receptive.

You don't want me to give you repair advice. Jim D., absolutely yes, me no.

Nothing really to add about dating except a date given in a previous posting on this thread says 1964. Think that was a typo. Your very nicely preserved label appears to have a printer's credit at the bottom. This may help to "date" the clock. Based upon whom the printer is and the address listed, this can sometimes really narrow down the date as some of these firms tended to move around. Nice tool for potentially dating other clocks.

My recollection was that there were a # of small "makers" in the central MA area. They seem to share similar cases. You also will find similar case styles in S. Central NH. Must have been a common source? Finials are later and not of the correct style. If it did have them, would most likely have been carved pineapples. I suspect it never had had them. Probably didn't have feet originally either. Leave them. No pressing reason to remove. Those beveled pieces of wood above and below the turned 1/2 columns bug me some. Haven't seen that before. I wonder if the columns are replacements and they were needed to make the current ones fit? Maybe not. What do others think?

I may be misstating the history, but this overall style of case with "bronzed" (stenciled) columns and splat is based upon Jerome's bronze(d) looking glass case. Today, most refer to it as a "pillar and splat". The stenciling is redone. Rather exuberant and busy. Actually probably of somewhat better quality that what was originally there? Look around the ww forum for many examples posted.

That leads me to the lower glass or "tablet". It may have been reverse painted originally. I suspect that it may have had a simple mercury mirror. Mirrors were still something of a luxury item in those days and thus desirable. However, in the 20th century, people valued reverse decorated tablets more. The current tablet while bright and cheerful is late and, well, a bit jarring for me in an old clock. Rather inauthentic. Again, look around this forum for other examples of original reverse painted tablets. Just for fun, here's the personal favorite from my own collection. Will also give you a sense of original stenciling, though in this instance, somewhat more primitive than typical (and for me, part of its charm):

langdon 1.JPG

This tablet is a veritable compendium of the techniques used. Free hand, stenciling and a lithograph applied to the back and then hand colored. Check out Paul Henion's postings on the Forums. They're a search away.

Someone heavily varnished or shellacked the dial and it is now yellowed, crackled and may even be starting to lift the paint. That's why that should not be done. Still, a nice dial. My advice would be to leave it be.

Love that it has an internal weight driven alarm! The bridge holding the escape wheel is a replacement, but if it works, leave it be! In my experience, ww alarm movements are not as common as those with just time and strike. There are ww clocks with alarms but without the hourly strike, e.g., by Hoadley. Some ww clocks have a separate weight driven wooden alarm movement. Again, look around this forum. There are Bulletin articles about ww alarm movements, too. But you have to be a member to access them. There is also a classification system of ww that will help to id the maker of the movement who often is not whose name is on the label.

Again, the point is, there's lots to learn from just this one clock if you're receptive.

Might consider joining the NAWCC which would allow you to access much info in the Bulletin.

RM

PS: re: ww classification and id, I see Mike responded while I was typing.
 
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Jerome collector

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RM,
Perceptive analysis, as always. With respect to the the beveled pieces at the base and top of the pillars, did you see that that the pieces capping the blocks retaining the splat have the same shape? If this represents the hand of a much later "craftsman", at least he (or she) was consistent throughout, but it is less graceful than period Connecticut equivalents. However, didn't some of the Northeastern clockmakers (Pratt? Frost?) deviate from typical Connecticut styles by using beveled pillars on the front? While I agree that it seems more likely to be a later addition, might it not be a quirky period deviation? Closer study is probably needed.
Mike
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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RM,
Perceptive analysis, as always. With respect to the the beveled pieces at the base and top of the pillars, did you see that that the pieces capping the blocks retaining the splat have the same shape? If this represents the hand of a much later "craftsman", at least he (or she) was consistent throughout, but it is less graceful than period Connecticut equivalents. However, didn't some of the Northeastern clockmakers (Pratt? Frost?) deviate from typical Connecticut styles by using beveled pillars on the front? While I agree that it seems more likely to be a later addition, might it not be a quirky period deviation? Closer study is probably needed.
Mike
Yes, some makers, including the Central MA and NH guys, used columns that were off the beaten path. Some were basically like a triangle in cross section, flat pilasters and so on. See this thread:

David Dutton | NAWCC Forums

It's about Dutton but the info is germane here as these makers seemed to use similar cases. See the first posting for scans from the CCJ about the types of "columns" used. Also see the pix in posting # 8.

For something really different, see this Rawson from when he was still in Holden before removing himself to VT. I know I posted this somewhere on the MB but can't find it:

stratton.JPG

Rather different beveled columns, if you can call them that. But the bevel is in the wrong direction.

RM
 

gleber

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I have a Charles Stratton that I posted about when I got it. https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/first-wooden-what-have-i-gotten-myself-into.131857/

I've attached some photos here. It is more in keeping with the angular bevels. I added the top, which was completely missing when I got it. I saw a post afterwards that showed caps very similar to yours. I may eventually remake my top to match what I suspect was correct - all angles, no curves. I agree the finials should not be there. I wonder if the columns were also add-ons?

My label clearly says 1839, so I suspect yours is 1836 from what you can see.

Here are some photos starting with the as -found condition in Merritt's Clock Shop.

20160304_130740.jpg 20160315_074754.jpg unfinished.jpg primary.jpg

Here is one of the movement as a reference. Note - the lower lifting lever should be above the small pinion, not below it. I figured that out before final assembly. And, it may not match yours exactly.

20160325_090204.jpg

Good luck with your restoration.

Tom
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I have a Charles Stratton that I posted about when I got it. https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/first-wooden-what-have-i-gotten-myself-into.131857/

I've attached some photos here. It is more in keeping with the angular bevels. I added the top, which was completely missing when I got it. I saw a post afterwards that showed caps very similar to yours. I may eventually remake my top to match what I suspect was correct - all angles, no curves. I agree the finials should not be there. I wonder if the columns were also add-ons?

My label clearly says 1839, so I suspect yours is 1836 from what you can see.

Here are some photos starting with the as -found condition in Merritt's Clock Shop.

View attachment 625932 View attachment 625933 View attachment 625935 View attachment 625934

Here is one of the movement as a reference. Note - the lower lifting lever should be above the small pinion, not below it. I figured that out before final assembly. And, it may not match yours exactly.

View attachment 625936

Good luck with your restoration.

Tom
Just like my clock above.

RM.
 

Tod

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Yes, some makers, including the Central MA and NH guys, used columns that were off the beaten path. Some were basically like a triangle in cross section, flat pilasters and so on. See this thread:

David Dutton | NAWCC Forums

It's about Dutton but the info is germane here as these makers seemed to use similar cases. See the first posting for scans from the CCJ about the types of "columns" used. Also see the pix in posting # 8.

For something really different, see this Rawson from when he was still in Holden before removing himself to VT. I know I posted this somewhere on the MB but can't find it:

View attachment 625847

Rather different beveled columns, if you can call them that. But the bevel is in the wrong direction.

RM
Thanks, RM, Tom, Mike and Andy for your observations and advice. The small details matter, and it is good to get a sense of what I have, from where it came, and how it may have been altered over its nearly 200-year lifespan.

I went back to the junk shop where I got the Stratton, and bought a Seth Thomas triple-decker in really nice shape. Today, I happened by there again and found two more -- a pillar and scroll by Ephraim Downs (similar to one pictured in fig.117, pg. 69 of Brooks Palmer's "A Treasury of American Clocks), and a Jerome & Co. OG (similar to fig. 193, pg. 108, same book). Got the pair for $160.

Both clocks were buried in back of a weird-looking half wine barrel-chair thingy that totally blocked them from view. Initially, I resisted the urge to buy both. Went back to my car and in the midst of congratulating myself on exercising self-restraint, two other cars pulled up. Some large people got out of one with a small dog on a leash. The other was a woman who also had a dog. The aisles in the store are extremely narrow, and stuff is literally falling out of everywhere, like an old barn in American Pickers.

Those clocks were on the ground, and I imagined the dogs and the people knocking, clawing and pushing those two clocks aside to get to some other crap, like that wine barrel chair. So, an immediate rescue was initiated and both clocks are now home, safe and sound. I will post pics of these in the next few days.

I am a member of NAWCC Chapter 190. I cut my clock chops, such as they are, as a pupil of the late Ron Bechler, a master of a lot of things, most notably of Chelsea Clock Co. clocks. Add to this a few Chapter 190 classes, and feel that I am growing in experience every day.

I will look at the references you made to various posts and other materials. I also see referenced Splitter, Splitter and Bailey. Is that a book? And what about Snowden Taylor's movement ID chart? Is that somewhere in the forum or website?

Thanks again. Tod

Congrats on you first ww clock!

Agree with comments made so far. Most old mass produced earlier 19th century clocks like this I believe were never precision time keepers and should not be expected to be so 180 years later. Remember, most of the country at this point rose with that ultimate time keeper, the sun, worked say the farm, and rested after it set. Few trains to catch on schedule. Most people didn't have to punch a time clock at the beginning of their shift. All that would come later as the nation industrialized.

I know you just asked a simple question about the weights. I hope you don't mind some comments including those about it's current condition. Not meant to be critical, demeaning, to make you feel bad, etc., but as teachable points as you seem to be eager to learn something about your clock, to hopefully help you to develop your "eye", and possibly suggest future restoration...though it's fine the way it is and ready to enjoy as you should.

The point is, there's lots to learn from just this one clock if you're receptive.

You don't want me to give you repair advice. Jim D., absolutely yes, me no.

Nothing really to add about dating except a date given in a previous posting on this thread says 1964. Think that was a typo. Your very nicely preserved label appears to have a printer's credit at the bottom. This may help to "date" the clock. Based upon whom the printer is and the address listed, this can sometimes really narrow down the date as some of these firms tended to move around. Nice tool for potentially dating other clocks.

My recollection was that there were a # of small "makers" in the central MA area. They seem to share similar cases. You also will find similar case styles in S. Central NH. Must have been a common source? Finials are later and not of the correct style. If it did have them, would most likely have been carved pineapples. I suspect it never had had them. Probably didn't have feet originally either. Leave them. No pressing reason to remove. Those beveled pieces of wood above and below the turned 1/2 columns bug me some. Haven't seen that before. I wonder if the columns are replacements and they were needed to make the current ones fit? Maybe not. What do others think?

I may be misstating the history, but this overall style of case with "bronzed" (stenciled) columns and splat is based upon Jerome's bronze(d) looking glass case. Today, most refer to it as a "pillar and splat". The stenciling is redone. Rather exuberant and busy. Actually probably of somewhat better quality that what was originally there? Look around the ww forum for many examples posted.

That leads me to the lower glass or "tablet". It may have been reverse painted originally. I suspect that it may have had a simple mercury mirror. Mirrors were still something of a luxury item in those days and thus desirable. However, in the 20th century, people valued reverse decorated tablets more. The current tablet while bright and cheerful is late and, well, a bit jarring for me in an old clock. Rather inauthentic. Again, look around this forum for other examples of original reverse painted tablets. Just for fun, here's the personal favorite from my own collection. Will also give you a sense of original stenciling, though in this instance, somewhat more primitive than typical (and for me, part of its charm):

View attachment 625830

This tablet is a veritable compendium of the techniques used. Free hand, stenciling and a lithograph applied to the back and then hand colored. Check out Paul Henion's postings on the Forums. They're a search away.

Someone heavily varnished or shellacked the dial and it is now yellowed, crackled and may even be starting to lift the paint. That's why that should not be done. Still, a nice dial. My advice would be to leave it be.

Love that it has an internal weight driven alarm! The bridge holding the escape wheel is a replacement, but if it works, leave it be! In my experience, ww alarm movements are not as common as those with just time and strike. There are ww clocks with alarms but without the hourly strike, e.g., by Hoadley. Some ww clocks have a separate weight driven wooden alarm movement. Again, look around this forum. There are Bulletin articles about ww alarm movements, too. But you have to be a member to access them. There is also a classification system of ww that will help to id the maker of the movement who often is not whose name is on the label.

Again, the point is, there's lots to learn from just this one clock if you're receptive.

Might consider joining the NAWCC which would allow you to access much info in the Bulletin.

RM

PS: re: ww classification and id, I see Mike responded while I was typing.
Thanks, RM and
 

Jerome collector

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Glad to help. Snowden Taylor's movement identification scheme was published in the October 1980 NAWCC Bulletin (No. 208). It has gone through many revisions over the years. There's an Excel version of the ID table that can be found on the Cog Counters chapter website. I also have a version that I'd be happy to share, but there are errors in it. Spittler, Spittler, and Bailey refers to the book Clockmakers & Watchmakers of America by Name & by Place, published in 2011 by the NAWCC.
Mike