New Dutch short-case staartklok

Jeremy Woodoff

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Jun 30, 2002
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I just received this Dutch hood clock, or Staartklok. I think it's the type known as a short-case Staartklok. It's 39" long without finials, about 10" shorter than a standard Staartklok. Notary clocks are also about 39" long, but have different proportions and a smaller movement. The movement in this one is 6 1/4" high by 5" deep by 7 1/4" wide. The dial is 9 1/2" wide.

I bought it at an online auction without seeing the inside or even a view showing the side windows. But it has a rolling moon and date aperture and the pendulum was visible through the pressed-metal decoration over the window, so I was hopeful. I also hoped it would have a two-bell movement for Dutch striking, where the upcoming hour is counted on the half hour on a higher-pitched bell. I was thrilled when I saw two bells. I've not seen pictures of this type of bell-mounting, with the smaller bell upside down below the larger one, but this seems original. The single hammer is shifted up or down by the minute wheel in order to strike the correct bell.

There are some interesting things about the clock along with some questions. I'm not sure whether all the dial paint is original. The chapter ring is unusual in not having an arcaded minute ring, but the paint is old. The dial is a heavy iron sheet, but the moon dial and date ring are a different material. They appear to be aluminum. Could it be that the moon and date were added later, like automata sometimes were? The cutouts are neatly done and have beveled edges as you can see in the pictures, so if they were added it was a very careful job and would have required fully repainting the dial. I've included pictures showing how these features are attached to the dial plate, and also the wheel that drives them.

The pendulum is oval but looks original. The cast brass hour hand is a style that I haven't found anywhere else. At first I thought the minute hand was a replacment, but I'm not sure. Some early Dutch clocks had simple minute hands. The alarm numbers on the hour hand boss appear to be hand-engraved, as the multiple 1's and 2's don't match.

There is a hole in only one side of the case to hold the sliding trunk front.

The two nicely-cast brass putti finials aren't original, as there are larger holes under the newer covering on top of the hood, including one in the center. It probably had the usual pair of trumpeting angels and Atlas. It doesn't have the usual figure-8 chain, just standard oval links. The alarm has a thick rope instead of a chain, and it appears to have been used that way on a regular basis. The weights that came with it are wrong. Getting the correct weights, chains, and finials will cost more than the clock did.

Thoughts appreciated!

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JB

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Dec 27, 2006
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I haven't looked at the message board in a long time. Can't believe no one responded to this . I have a very similar Staartklok. It looks to me to be one of the first Staartkloks when the transition from Stoeljekloks with its crown escapement to the Staartklok and the anchor was taking place. 1750
My thought would be someone has messed with the dial and not sure about the minute hand. Also don't think it should be rope. But I'm far from knowing what I'm talking about.
 

Bernhard J.

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Jan 10, 2022
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Can't believe no one responded to this
I noticed just because of your new post (and having become a forum member after the original post only). A really great clock. However, since I know virtually nothing about this clock type, I could only have made a vague guess about the age and this would have been pre 1800.

What might have been "messed" with regard to the dial? One might have expected applications in the four corners, but then there would be evidence for holes there. Eager to learn.

Cheers, Bernhard
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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Hi Jeremy,

I think these clocks always had a chain drive, never a rope. The change from a verge escapement to anchor is a bit vague, as many were changed to anchor and some changed back to verge.

Wonderful clocks and very well made. The definitive book is Ernest Edwardes' Dutch Clocks ISBN 0 9523270 1 5

Still available.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

NAWCC Member
Jun 30, 2002
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The rope is only on the alarm train. It shows signs of considerable use and works well, but could have been an expedient replacement for a missing chain. The time and strike trains have a brass chain, though it isn't the correct figure 8 type, but a standard Black Forest type chain, which fits well.

The issue with the dial is that the moon disc and calendar ring are painted on aluminum and therefore not original. Either they replaced an earlier moon disc and calendar ring or the original dial was modified from a standard one without these features and then entirely repainted. The paint on the dial looks old and authentic to me, but could have been redone, and if it was done in the mid-20th century the paint could already be 70 years old.

I don't think Staartkloks ever had verge escapements. They always had anchor escapements.

With the recent passing of Kathy Koolen, the NAWCC lost the person who seemed to know most about these clocks. Many of the Dutch styles were made for many years, and it takes a great deal of experience to authenticate and date them based on small differences.

I will have to check out Edwardes' book again. I have Sellink's book, but it has many gaps.
 

Mike Phelan

Registered User
Dec 17, 2003
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Rope vs chain - wouldn't a chain sprocket drum have cut-outs between each spike,and a rope have none? I'm looking at British longcase clocks here, not being completely au fait with Dutch.

Of course, parts could have been replaced over the years.
 

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