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Metcalfe Longcase - Winter Project

Garfield

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Just snagged this clock. Marriage snobbery aside it is a really nice looking piece, I am reckoning on the movement being circa 1750's and I believe the case may be earlier. I'm in the process of getting it moved. These pics aren't mine but I will put up some once I get it on the bench.

The clock face states Mark Metcalfe I believe the movement and the face are originals, the case I don't think I've ever seen a Metcalfe in such a case, on the whole it seems in really good overall condition, I'll be servicing it and cleaning up the face etc. Comments and ideas re age etc welcome.

Image 1.jpg Image 3.jpg Image 4.jpg Image 13.jpg Image 14.jpg Image 15.jpg Image 16.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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I think it was originally a 30 hour single handed clock.
 

jmclaugh

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The chapter ring sure ain't for a two handed clock. There's a Mark Metcalfe listed in Askrigg, Yorkshire, born 1693, married 1739, died 1776.
 

Garfield

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How do you identify that the chapter ring isn't for a two handed clock ? I'm not massively bothered that it is a marriage I like how it looks I would like to identify the various parts a little better though, there are no marks on the movement. There are many many books and sources of information but which ones are the better ones.

I knew it wasn't all 'original' when I went into this, it wasn't bought as an investment but as part of the hobby - it looks nice and will look better - besides I'd rather learn on something that isn't a 10k clock.
 
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jmclaugh

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How do you identify that the chapter ring isn't for a two handed clock ? I'm not massively bothered that it is a marriage I like how it looks I would like to identify the various parts a little better though, there are no marks on the movement.

I knew it wasn't all 'original' when I went into this, it wasn't bought as an investment but as part of the hobby - it looks nice and will look better - besides I'd rather learn on something that isn't a 10k clock.
No minute band and quarter hour markers on the inside of the chapter ring indicate it was for a single handed clock. Longcase movements are rarely marked. The movement looks to be in good nick and the chapter ring should clean up with some cream of tartar. It's a nice clock and most importantly you like it.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Also, the movement appears to have unused mounting holes with the dial feet going into other holes. It does look like there are 3 dial feet, which is usual for 30 hours, not 8 day. You may find that the arbour for the escape wheel protrudes from the front plate, indicating it originally supported a seconds hand.
 
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leeinv66

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It has been my understanding that conversion of 30 hour clocks into 8 day clocks was quite common at one time. And, that it actually saved a lot of longcase clocks from being scraped. While the experts are posting here, can you guys confirm or deny that proposition? Nice clock by the way!
 
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Garfield

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I would also like to know. I'd like to know more about how to gain the knowledge on the history of these things. A lot of stuff I have looked at seems obsessed with the clocks as investment propositions and doesn't really discuss that these were day to day items subject to repair and modification, to the point where some publications are down right snobbish and disregard anything not 100% original, my car's barely 8 years old and it isn't 100% original.

I don't know if the date on this clock works - I kind of hope so but perhaps that can be one of those project challenges - in order to take that challenge I really need to know much more about the mechanicals of the various clock makers, which comes back to the history stuff where somebody can probably tell who made it without any markings simply because they know that makers work - bit like spotting a painting by a master.

Dating or identifying a case maker - as I see it with this particular clock everything would say mid 1700's - I'd love to be able to figure this stuff out.

I'd love to know the sequence of modification from single hand and 30 hour to an 8 day with two hands - for all I know it could be Metcalfe himself that did this such is my ignorance.

For me it is an old clock and marriage or not is worthy of TLC.
 
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novicetimekeeper

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It has been my understanding that conversion of 30 hour clocks into 8 day clocks was quite common at one time. And, that it actually saved a lot of longcase clocks from being scraped. While the experts are posting here, can you guys confirm or deny that proposition? Nice clock by the way!
I'm sure it did save some, much as fitting 19thC fusee movements in 17thC lantern clocks has preserved the history of some lantern clock makers who otherwise would be forgotten

I would also like to know. I'd like to know more about how to gain the knowledge on the history of these things. A lot of stuff I have looked at seems obsessed with the clocks as investment propositions and doesn't really discuss that these were day to day items subject to repair and modification, to the point where some publications are down right snobbish and disregard anything not 100% original, my car's barely 8 years old and it isn't 100% original.

I don't know if the date on this clock works - I kind of hope so but perhaps that can be one of those project challenges - in order to take that challenge I really need to know much more about the mechanicals of the various clock makers, which comes back to the history stuff where somebody can probably tell who made it without any markings simply because they know that makers work - bit like spotting a painting by a master.

Dating or identifying a case maker - as I see it with this particular clock everything would say mid 1700's - I'd love to be able to figure this stuff out.

I'd love to know the sequence of modification from single hand and 30 hour to an 8 day with two hands - for all I know it could be Metcalfe himself that did this such is my ignorance.

For me it is an old clock and marriage or not is worthy of TLC.
I don't think the original clockmaker was involved, as I think they would have added the minute divisions required to read it as a two handed clock.

You get single handers converted to two hand with the original 30 hour movement. This one has gone straight to 8 day I think, and using a second hand movement so quite a late conversion I think.
 
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Garfield

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I have been hunting for sources of wisdom for this clock type and I'm drawing a blank, there are a few books but they seem to be more individual notes, one book I found about English long case clocks was quite frankly ridiculously expensive with no preview available. This forum seems to be one of the better sources.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I have been hunting for sources of wisdom for this clock type and I'm drawing a blank, there are a few books but they seem to be more individual notes, one book I found about English long case clocks was quite frankly ridiculously expensive with no preview available. This forum seems to be one of the better sources.

There are so many books out there, I have spent a lot of money collecting books as well as clocks. As well as general reference books there are regional maker reference books.

There is an excellent book on 30 hour clocks by Darken & Hooper, though yours is not a thirty hour any more you may like to read that.

Loomes has done more general book titles as well as regional books, he has one on brass dials, one on white dials, and another grandfather clocks and their cases. Richard Barder did an excellent book English Country Grandfather Clocks.

Most of these books are available 2nd hand, ebay or world of books, or abe books for single books. Auctions are places to pick up mixed lot collections of books. A good way if just starting out.
 
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Room 335

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Not sure if I would qualify as an expert exactly but I have seen (and owned) a lot of longcase clocks exhibiting various degrees of originality...

My belief is that it was long considered a legitimate upgrade to modify a 30 hour clock and turn it into a 'luxury' 8 day model.

F W Britten devotes a section to this in "horological hints and helps" and suggests that, by so doing, the clock would be in greater demand and worth at least £5 more (which of course makes it worthwhile) His method is to modify the existing 30 hour movement by a somewhat complex procedure... while I have seen this on occasion the more common solution is simply to transplant the entire movement as with the Metcalfe clock.

Richard

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Garfield

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Thanks guys, I shall put the mentioned books on the shopping list. I've bought a few so far and been disappointed by the content detail.
 

JimmyOz

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Thanks guys, I shall put the mentioned books on the shopping list. I've bought a few so far and been disappointed by the content detail.
Before you go out a buy a load of books I would research this forum as most of the information is already here, just use key word searches and keep your own book of relevant information.

Novicetimekeeper, maybe it is time to write your own book sort off a 1.0.1 "Things to Look out for Before Buying a Grandfather/Long Case Clock".
 

Garfield

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I don't think that is a bad idea, but from which perspective?

I have read countless documents on what to look for in long case clocks, too many of the guides available try to belittle and almost vilify the 'marriage' based on the precept that everyone buys a clock for investment or monetary gain of some description. I have yet to read one that takes things based on their merits, where had the marriage not occured then all components would likely have long since been scrapped. I preserve old machinery, common sense it isn't, the world seems obsessed with monetary value, I prefer aesthetic or historical value. I often look at my 'old stuff' and think about the history it has seen, wonder about the builders and users.

This site is my go to for information I have yet to find any publication elsewhere with so much horological wisdom, the challenge however isn't finding stuff it is knowing the question to ask.
 

JimmyOz

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I would think most of these books and other information are to guide people or collectors what to look for if they are looking to buy a clock. The more authentic the clock the more value it has.
An example; About 10 years ago I repaired a Thomas Tompion long case, the owner asked me about the value, I did not know enough about his clocks and whether it was all original or not, I took photos of the case, dial and the movement and sent them off to the Clockmakers Company and they replied that it was all genuine, however if the movement was not his then what would the value have been?
My point is that everything has a value just how much depends on what has changed through the years. Marriages are many, however they still have a value, maybe just not as much as an original. The information in these books just helps others to asses what they are paying for.
 

Garfield

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I think that's the problem, it is all aimed at assessing from a monetary value perspective, you are correct everything has value and I do agree that such information is necessary to prevent the uninitiated getting ripped off by the unscrupulous.

I would love to read a disspasionate review of movements, faces and cases by an enthusiast with zero reference to $, instead to look at quality of manufacture or aesthetics, to discuss the various makers and techniques now that would be something, some of this is available but in a single location not really - case manufacture and dating is particularly scarce, I believe even the dials in many cases were 'contracted out' for engraving etc - how many of the engravers are known - or the face painters - or the spandrel casters or hand makers etc.

I knew all the theories, I knew this clock was a marriage, didn't know how much I admit, I do now, the learning has value, but I don't like it any less. It is a clock that I will not be uncomfortable tearing down and building on the skill sets - do I intend to harm it no I do not - am I skilled enough to tear into a 10k clock - nope and likely never will be - and if I mess something up then I will figure out how to fix it, for me there is value in the journey. It is still a composite of items from an era long gone, each has history and a story that I can only wonder about.
 

JimmyOz

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Most of the people in the forum do it for the reasons you describe as a love/hobby.

each has history and a story that I can only wonder about.
The provenance of clocks may never be known, how dose Tompion and Ebsworth long case's end up in a semi-rural town in Queensland only a few kilometers apart given they were both made in London in the late 1600's, 'if clocks could only tell more than time'.
 

jmclaugh

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Barder's book which Nick refers to is very good book and has a chapter "Rightness, Restoration and Faking" that should be of interest as it covers marriages and is not expensive. The chapter acknowledges that antique clocks are bound to have had alterations over their lifetime and the only real issue with this is if they have been done to fake something purely for financial gain.
 

Garfield

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I got Barders book and am somewhat made up - it is in fantastic condition and signed by the author.

It is an interesting read for sure and plenty to go at - I've not got past chapter 1 yet ...

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