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18th c English Miniature lantern clock

DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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Hopefully this will arrive in the post next week. Its 24cm high so very small for a lantern.

I can't read the name ...C Southam of Gorton, Yorton or something like that. There is a Southam listed in London before 1737.

It was a cheeky bid which I left as the auctioneer had a silly low estimate on it as he didn't have a clue what it was...or maybe he knew more than me as I bought it.. LOL

1-2669-1046451.jpg 1-2669-a1046451_1.jpg 1-2669-a1046451_2.jpg 1-2669-a1046451_3.jpg 1-2669-a1046451_4.jpg 1-2669-a1046451_5.jpg
 

Mike Phelan

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Nice clock! Gorton is a suburb of Manchester now, but would have been a village then in the 18th century.

I'm amazed that the auctioneer didn't know what it was :emoji_hushed:
 

jmclaugh

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Nice, sounds like you got a very good deal. Gorton is where the football team Manchester City was formed.
 

novicetimekeeper

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I know of no other Gorton than the one in Manchester, famous for being the home of the Beyer & Peacock locomotive works, but that's the last place I'd expect to see a lantern clock made.


Glad it arrived safely, always a bit of a worry when you don't know who packs it!
 

DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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The clock as a whole is very dirty with a reasonable amount of rust but quite fixable. It actually runs in spite of the layer of grime.

Definitely C Southam Gorton. The engraving doesn't feel too provincial.

engraving.jpg fret.jpg top.jpg
 
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NigelW

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Great work! Can you post a picture of the front plate and the back of the dial in due course? I would be very interested in seeing the ratch and other elements. I had to recreate these for my c.1685 lantern.
 
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DeanT

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Looks great. What's your method for polishing?
The brass case has corrosion in places which looks like red rust under the black surface. I have removed this by carefully sanding and filing but in some places the corrosion has left some marks and haven't removed all this pitting. Trying to get a balance between completely redoing the surface and leaving it looking 320 years old.

I have a small polishing lathe I can use (with different grades of polishing compound) but a lot was done with autosol by hand, firstly using fine steel wool (if badly tarnished/corroded) and then cloth. The fingerprint sensor on my phone no longer works which gives you an indication of the amount of time...LOL

The movement has copious amount of solder to be removed as well....so its taking a lot longer than I expected
 

DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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Great work! Can you post a picture of the front plate and the back of the dial in due course? I would be very interested in seeing the ratch and other elements. I had to recreate these for my c.1685 lantern.
Is this what you are looking for?

23B4BF28-5043-4F88-9331-B3C0E877B033.jpeg E8FA1FBB-A28F-4841-8153-A6AA0276EA87.jpeg 1C910602-926C-4E60-945C-5C32C10916D7.jpeg
 

Calvin H. Huynh

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The brass case has corrosion in places which looks like red rust under the black surface. I have removed this by carefully sanding and filing but in some places the corrosion has left some marks and haven't removed all this pitting. Trying to get a balance between completely redoing the surface and leaving it looking 320 years old.

I have a small polishing lathe I can use (with different grades of polishing compound) but a lot was done with autosol by hand, firstly using fine steel wool (if badly tarnished/corroded) and then cloth. The fingerprint sensor on my phone no longer works which gives you an indication of the amount of time...LOL

The movement has copious amount of solder to be removed as well....so its taking a lot longer than I expected
Thanks, I appreciate that, that’s really helpful information. High quality (and tedious) work equals a high quality collection!
 

DeanT

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Thanks, I appreciate that, that’s really helpful information. High quality (and tedious) work equals a high quality collection!
Cheers. Its never quite as tedious when the end result is nice....
 
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WIngraham

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Dean, that looks great. Fantastic job!

Is your polishing lathe similar to a Foredom? I was thinking of buying one, I like the size of it.

Will
 

DeanT

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Dean, that looks great. Fantastic job!

Is your polishing lathe similar to a Foredom? I was thinking of buying one, I like the size of it.

Will
It is a Foredom and it's really good. I've got 4 different grades of polishing compounds and several different polishing wheels, nylon and cloth. I use it on a slow speed.
 

WIngraham

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I think I will buy one, mixed with your handiwork the results are impressive. Thanks for the advice.

Salsa, I would use a different wheel for each different compound. I wouldn't think it was possible to really wash them. Not sure.

Will
 
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DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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How would you separate the polishing compounds on same wheels? Do you have to wash them first?
I have separate wheels for all different compounds. I've written on the side but also bought different coloured wheels as well...so the green polish has a green wheel etc...

I do wash the part being polished in shellite when changing wheels to limit cross contamination as well.

The Foredom would make this lantern clock too shiny if the finer grades were used but its great if you have a bracket clock and want the bling. Likewise longcases don't need much other than the rouge polish. I prefer the shine AutoSol gives with hand polishing for those.
 
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Calvin H. Huynh

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Thanks. What is “Shellite”? I might have to consider this Dordom lathe now lol.

Edit: does it have to be a Fordom lathe or be a older lathe?
 

DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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Thanks. What is “Shellite”? I might have to consider this Dordom lathe now lol.
Its hydrocarbon lighter fuel called Naphtha I think in the USA (also R55 here). Its very good for washing parts and it evaporates super quickly. It also removes water from parts.
 
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NigelW

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Is this what you are looking for?
Thanks Dean - that is it exactly! These are the bits I had to make for mine. It was the first time I had done anything like this. I used modern brass. If I was doing again I would have used yellow brass. The blue disc is the blank for the wheel which engages on the pinion. I filed the ratch by hand (second pic is in progress) and had to do quite a bit of hand filing of the pinion too. You can see in the second pic that the brass is too pink.

20170411_093338.jpg 20170329_165856.jpg
 
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DeanT

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I think the brass lever in my minature lantern is unusual...this one is from 1680-90's standard size verge lantern.


F085B1EE-398F-4333-8D90-A3D829B5E50F.jpeg
 

DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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And the pinion....if you ever need photos of parts let me know.

96C60975-48C3-453C-96B0-DCC388C569F2.jpeg
 
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zedric

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The brass case has corrosion in places which looks like red rust under the black surface. I have removed this by carefully sanding and filing but in some places the corrosion has left some marks and haven't removed all this pitting. Trying to get a balance between completely redoing the surface and leaving it looking 320 years old.

I have a small polishing lathe I can use (with different grades of polishing compound) but a lot was done with autosol by hand, firstly using fine steel wool (if badly tarnished/corroded) and then cloth. The fingerprint sensor on my phone no longer works which gives you an indication of the amount of time...LOL

The movement has copious amount of solder to be removed as well....so its taking a lot longer than I expected
I was browsing an old copy of the Horological Journal (March 1887 to be precise) and found that the question of how to polish tarnished brass movements was not a new one.. The advice in the Journal may not meet current Health and Safety standards, but just for interest, I copy it here...

Question: "Tarnished Clock Movements.—Will some one kindly inform me of the best method of removing the tarnish and restoring the polish of French and carriage clock movements, English skeletons, & c ? Rugby. W . C. "

Answer: "Immerse the tarnished pieces for a few moments in a solution of cyanide of potassium (-1 oz. of cyanide to a pint of water), and rinse at once in hot water. The articles may then be dipped in spirits of wine, and dried in boxwood dust. The cyanide solution should be kept well corked and used with care, as it emits a poisonous vapour. Greasy articles should be cleaned in benzine before dipping in the cyanide.—B. A . S."
 
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DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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LOL...I was reading George White's book on Lantern clocks this morning and he mentioned they used to use cyanide for cleaning.

White also says "however attractive an 'antique' appearance may be, the corrosion which causes it, whether rust, verdigris, old metal polish, old oil or even finger prints will inflict permanent damage on the metal."

I can see this clearly on the clock where the uncontrolled corrosion has left damage on both the brass and steel components.
 
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Mike Phelan

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LOL...I was reading George White's book on Lantern clocks this morning and he mentioned they used to use cyanide for cleaning.

White also says "however attractive an 'antique' appearance may be, the corrosion which causes it, whether rust, verdigris, old metal polish, old oil or even finger prints will inflict permanent damage on the metal."

I can see this clearly on the clock where the uncontrolled corrosion has left damage on both the brass and steel components.
A few random comments:
Rust has already removed some of the metal.
Using metal polish won't leave anything if you wash it off immediately.
Cyanide of what? The word cyanide refers to a salt of a metal using hydrocyanic acid - sodium, potassium or calcium? All very lethal and toxic :emoji_scream:
 

DeanT

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Mar 22, 2009
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A few random comments:
Rust has already removed some of the metal.
Using metal polish won't leave anything if you wash it off immediately.
Cyanide of what? The word cyanide refers to a salt of a metal using hydrocyanic acid - sodium, potassium or calcium? All very lethal and toxic :emoji_scream:
The point the White was making that the antique appearance was in fact corrosion and the rust etc will damage the metal. Also that old metal polish will cause corrosion if not removed.

Zedric say cyanide of Potassium in his post. Its no longer used obviously.
 

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