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My new Colonial Mfg tall case clock

Copperdragon3

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This is my latest find - an early Colonial Mfg. Co tall case tubular clock. It measures 97" tall, 28" wide and 18" deep. Beautiful figured mahogany with thick beveled glass on three sides as well as the access doors, this clock weighs a ton! Two curious things: the case has no Colonial badging at all, except for the paper instruction on the back as well as the Colonial stencil number of 1054. Also, the clockworks are simply marked "made in Germany" with no makers mark. The finish is in remarkable condition except for some dry areas but overall, the clock is fantastic!

PXL_20201125_220118405.jpg PXL_20201123_175834332.jpg PXL_20201123_125228067.jpg PXL_20201123_122231661.jpg PXL_20201123_122221633.jpg PXL_20201123_122250851.jpg PXL_20201129_142935958.jpg
 
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Andy Dervan

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Here is 1914/1915 Colonial Mfg. Company catalog image of the clock.

Andy Dervan

Model 1054 from 1914-1915 catalog.jpg
 

Copperdragon3

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That's it for sure; thanks! Do you think that model could have been produced earlier than that 1914/15 catalog?
 

Copperdragon3

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Also, where should the leather tip on the hammers strike the tubes for the optimal sound - nearer the capped top or lower down the tube? Perhaps there isn't an optimal spot but thought I'd ask.
 

Andy Dervan

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No, I doubt it was introduced prior to 1914/1915, because it was still illustrated in 1919/20 catalog. Colonial Mfg. Co. turned over its models roughly every 3 years, so this case style appeared to be selling well so it was in product line a little longer.

Catalogs provide no information on leather tips on hammers and I have found no other early literature except the catalogs.

I don't know if all the chiming movements had them depending upon what company supplied them.

Andy Dervan
 

Copperdragon3

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Thanks again Andy - I appreciate your help. One more thing; was it typical for Colonial to make a tall case without any badging? This case has nothing to indicate it's a Colonial other than the four digit number on the back. I've looked everywhere but do not see any signs of a sticker or door badge.
 

gleber

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I have a Colonial that was sold through Fluehr's. It does not have Colonial branding other than the Fluehr's tag and I397 stencil. The Movement is stamped Winterhalder Germany.


I thought I saw something once about hammer strike location, but can't recall where. I'll have to dig around some.

Tom
 

Copperdragon3

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Interesting, Tom, thanks. Although my clock spent it's entire time on the west side of Michigan, near Zeeland where it was made.
 

Andy Dervan

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It is a difficult question - Colonial Mfg. Co. did different case labeling over the years. The most consistent was the 4 digital model number stenciled on back of the case.

Andy
 

Copperdragon3

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Thank you! I really love the height and the figured mahogany - the original finish has great patina. There really isn't anything that needs attention, other than polishing the tubes; I'm going to leave the brass as is.
 
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Andy Dervan

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Colonial Mfg. Co. offered 3 Domestic Westminster movements & dial combinations in its 1914/15 catalog. I think your clock contains 86 movement with its accompanying dial - nicest dial, so it must be the best of the 3 domestic movements. Again movement maker is not identified, but it is domestic.

Andy Dervan

Movement & Dial combination.jpg
 

chimeclockfan

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The catalog drawing looks like a Herschede two train movement, there also appears to be a crown in the moon dial holder. Compare with this live example, some detail differences among the differing construction grades but same exact setup: Herschede
 

chimeclockfan

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Domestic always meant 'Made in USA'. The catalog's Herschede 2 train movement isn't a match for your clock. Your clock would have been made before Colonial's stockpile of imported German movements ran dry and required changing to domestic Herschede movements during the first world war. The hammers should always strike close to the tube's capped end for best sound quality.
 

Copperdragon3

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Thanks for the hammer strike location; I kind of thought that was the proper spot.
 

chimeclockfan

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The engraved brass dials were usually among the lower-cost offerings but that's not to say it's lower in construction quality. It's a great quality dial and the subtle detailing is a pleasant alternative to the more common raised filigree panels.
 

Andy Dervan

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I looked again more closely at 1914/15 catalog and all the chiming movements were 2 weight domestic Westminster chime only. Supply of German movements was already cutoff.

They might have had some German movements in stock or some in transit - Grand Duke was assassinated on June 28th, so 1914 was half over. However, European tensions probably alerted Colonial that its might lose its movement source - difficult to determine.

You were lucky to get a 3 weight German movement rather than the 2 weight Herschede movement as it did not preform well and was eventually phased out.

Andy Dervan
 

Copperdragon3

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That makes sense Andy, as most production companies typically have a reserve of parts. I just noticed something odd; if you zoom in on the picture of the back of the case, just below the four digit number, there is a sideways 1 and an upright 0 stamped into the wood. What do you make of that, and have you ever seen this on other Colonial cases? Could it be a date code of some sort?
 

brian fisher

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i'm guessing that is probably a winterhalder & hoffmeier(which would indeed be a very good thing) but its hard to tell with the pics you have provided. as justin suggests, it is best for the tube and for the sound to hit the edge of the cap. you should really get those leathers replaced asap.

congratulations on your find. i know you have been looking for a good while. this is a great example of how patience pays off in the end.

can you please post a pic of the top end of your tubes? what is the diameter of them?
 

Copperdragon3

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Thanks Brian, I appreciate the comments. Although it isn't a nine tube I'm still very happy with the find. Plus, I only paid $500 for it so that is a deal! I did replace the leather the other day, as all were pretty thin. There are no marks on the tops of the tubes and they are 1.25" diameter.

PXL_20201203_144301592.jpg PXL_20201123_185406606.jpg PXL_20201123_180049967.jpg
 

Andy Dervan

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That is the normal way the company stenciled its cases. They used these same stencils for years.


Colonial Mfg. Co. probably had a "few" German movements leftover. but It is expensive sitting on large amounts of inventory.

Company would order movements based on clock orders not just issue "blank" orders.

Andy Dervan
 

Copperdragon3

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Andy, I'm referring to the tiny 10, with a sideways 1, just below the normal stenciled number on the back. If you zoom in on the photo of the stenciled number I posted, you can see this tiny stamping.
 

Andy Dervan

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I have no idea what that means and there is no one living that could provide an answer. I would avoid speculation as likely it would be incorrect.

Andy
 

Andy Dervan

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Here is something you might find interesting. Images from undated special catalog (I have no idea of the year possibly about 1920 ish (?).

The catalog does not describe the movements; the higher the movement number - higher quality and number of tubes. A couple of movements
are described in other catalogs.

The catalogs illustrated selected case models and case cost and movements costs. Case model 1265 is similar to your case and the case equipped No. 100 movement (possibly best 9 tube imported movement) cost $ 220 (wholesale cost)

The suggested retail cost would $ 440 - that gives some indication these clocks were very expensive.

Andy Dervan

Case 1265 - undated catalog.jpg Model 1265 case & movment cots - undated catalog.jpg
 

Copperdragon3

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Thanks again, Andy - much appreciated. Have you ever seen that tiny two digit stamp before? Just curious.
 

Andy Dervan

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I already replied saying that I have never noticed them before and have no idea what they might be for. There is no one living that could offer valid explanation.

Andy
 

Copperdragon3

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Tom, what year was your Colonial made? I wonder if it's only on the pre WWI cases?
 

Copperdragon3

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If there's anyone else who has a pre-WWI Colonial tall case clock, I'd be interested in knowing if your case has the tiny two digit stamp under the stenciled number.
 

Andy Dervan

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I sent a photograph to former Colonial designer from late 1970's and early 80s. Here are her comments:

That is indeed very curious, I'm not sure I've ever seen that before.

I doubt very much it was a movement designation, as most models are listed in price lists with 5-6 different options, and clocks were outfitted according to orders placed. Could it be a more "special" order, for someone in the company, stamped early in the process to keep track of the specific case? I do know of one such instance from 1911, but the person used a crayon to mark their initials on the back.
.
When I get a chance this weekend I will dive into catalogues and price lists to look for a clue.


Stay tuned... Andy Dervan
 

Copperdragon3

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Wow, very interesting! Thanks for doing more research - I'm anxious to see if she comes up with something. I just thought it was I usual.
 

Copperdragon3

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Andy, do you know where I can buy the small brass thumb screw that tightens the clamp that holds the hammer string? I'm not sure what the correct name is, but I've included some pictures.

PXL_20201208_005750823.jpg PXL_20201208_005921780.jpg
 

Andy Dervan

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Unfortunately, I have no idea. Remember the part is 110+ years old and the company (?) that produced the movement has been out of business for 90+ years.

Some machinist could make one, but it would be expensive.

I don't know the screw thread count so I don't know if a modern small brass screw might work.

Andy Dervan
 

Andy Dervan

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Colonial designer got back to me about numbers stamped on the case. She found nothing in her old catalogs, so she is as stumped as I am what they mean.

Andy Dervan
 

Copperdragon3

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Too bad about the dead end, but thanks for trying. I also need to replace the hammer leather on the heads - where would I find thin enough leather for that? Do the parts suppliers carry it?
 

JTD

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Too bad about the dead end, but thanks for trying. I also need to replace the hammer leather on the heads - where would I find thin enough leather for that? Do the parts suppliers carry it?
Yes. But you can use other things - some people use leather boot laces, others use thin scraps of suede rolled up, seems everyone has their favorites.

JTD
 

Copperdragon3

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This isn't the round leather for a typical mantle clock this is a tubular chime clock with larger, round brass heads: I need a thin flat piece of leather to cover the head.
 

JTD

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Hobby and craft shops often have thin leather in sheets, if that is what you need.

JTD
 

Andy Dervan

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Here is crazy suggestion.

When we acquired our ca 1800 tall clock - the hammer hitting the bell it was so loud that it was annoying so I put a bandage on the hammer and it dampened it just enough so it was not annoying.

Andy Dervan
 

JTD

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Here is crazy suggestion.

When we acquired our ca 1800 tall clock - the hammer hitting the bell it was so loud that it was annoying so I put a bandage on the hammer and it dampened it just enough so it was not annoying.

Andy Dervan
Was the OP worried about the strike being too loud? If so, I guess I missed it.

JTD
 

Andy Dervan

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I bought the clock from a dealer who came from MA to MI and setup it for us. It was the first striking clock that I had ever bought and it was loud; the bandaid trick just muffled it just enough.

Now we have a number of them including 8 bell Sonora Chime clocks, striking banjo clock, and 9 tube chiming hall clock and we just got used to them. The tall clock sound was annoying.

Andy Dervan
 

Copperdragon3

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I ended up using a chamois cloth pulled tight over the hammer heads instead of the deer skin leather - much better results! The deer skin was much too thick and the chamois worked perfectly. Thanks for all the input!
 

AlpineTime

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Regarding you inquiry about the thumbscrews at the tips of the hammer drawbars: Herschede movements used similar thumbscrews for many years. The threads may be different—metric vs. SAE, but eBay is a possible resource. Prices vary from reasonable to outright robbery, but keep your eyes open. Also FYI, I have seen Colonial tall clocks with cases made by Herschede.
 

Andy Dervan

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Colonial Mfg. Co. did not purchase cases from Herschede; Colonial was a very competent case manufacturing concern that was incorporated in 1906 but clockmaking began in Zeeland in 1899.

I need to see some verifiable examples to believe it.

Colonial Mfg. Co. did purchase some movements from Herschede particularly during WWI.

Andy Dervan
 

brian fisher

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i don't believe i have seen any colonial cabinets built by herschede, but i have seen more than a couple colonials with starkville era herschede movements.
 

new2clocks

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FYI, I have seen Colonial tall clocks with cases made by Herschede.
Just curious - how would one know that a Herschede case was used in a Colonial clock?

i was under the impression that Colonial did not make movements.

Regards.
 
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