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New owner of the family fusee

Matt Rock

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Just joined the NAWCC yesterday and this is my very first post.

My new found interest in pocket watches is what brought me here but wanted to share this clock that has been in my wife's family for approx. 250 years. If my very limited research is accurate then this clock dates to the early 18th century, but nothing has been confirmed. The documentation we have shows it was handed down for the first time in 1780.

The ultimate goal is to build a story/history of the English clockmaker, this specific area in England, all of the family members who have cared for it and of course the clock itself. Whatever I can find will be made into a book and stay with the clock for future generations. I reached out to the experts at the research center to see what they can dig up, hoping they can help! These pics are the best I can do at the moment. The lock on the back is seized up and was told it stopped working properly about 10 years ago. So it's going to my clockmaker tomorrow to be overhauled.

20211207_125548.jpg 20211207_130712.jpg 20211207_125608.jpg 20211207_125641.jpg 20211207_125623.jpg
 

bruce linde

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love the history... do you have the pendulum?
 

PatH

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Welcome to the NAWCC, and thanks for sharing your wonderful family clock! I'm sure others who are knowledgeable about these clocks will be along shortly to provide insight on the maker, etc.
 

WIngraham

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That's a great clock, too bad the door lock stops you from taking better movement pictures. The book Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World by Brian Loomes has some good info about this maker and his family. I think this clock is from John(II) Ogden who was working in Sunderland from 1739-1753. His widow succeeded the business and passed in 1788. Others here will be able to tell you more about the clock itself. Looks like it has a pull repeat, I can't see the bells in the pics though. Here's Loomes' entry:

20220114_221438.jpg
 

Schatznut

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I can add nothing regarding the history of your clock, but I want to say a hearty BRAVO! to you for your stewardship of the "Family Fusee." I'd love to know the history of the clocks in my collection; you have the advantage of understanding the "one-owner" lineage of this one back to Day One.
 

Matt Rock

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What I've found so far about the clockmaker is that John Ogden and his son (John Jr) lived in Sunderland between 1680-1713, were both clockmakers and a "John Ogden Clock" is displayed at the British Museum of History. Most articles I've found focus more on his religious beliefs (some family members including John were Quakers) and correspondence with American political figures such as John Adams than his trade.

Can't say for sure if this information is referring to the same John Ogden.
 

Matt Rock

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That's a great clock, too bad the door lock stops you from taking better movement pictures. The book Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World by Brian Loomes has some good info about this maker and his family. I think this clock is from John(II) Ogden who was working in Sunderland from 1739-1753. His widow succeeded the business and passed in 1788. Others here will be able to tell you more about the clock itself. Looks like it has a pull repeat, I can't see the bells in the pics though. Here's Loomes' entry:

View attachment 690068
Thank you for the info!
 

DeanT

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Lovely provincial bracket clock both the case and movement exhibit provincial features.

I would think its the 2nd half of the 18thC as it has neither half quarter or half hour markers on the chapter ring and the numerals are quite large. Likewise the pillars are neither ringed or finned. The head and mask spandrels on the corners of the dial and green man spandrels in the arch were generally earlier but they did get used later in the country.

I did note the Jane Odgen continued to run the business after John Odgen II death in 1753 until 1788. I wonder how she signed her clocks and whether she used her name or her dead husbands?

The hands may be replacements looking at their length and style.
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Asking just for my own edification.

What do folks think about the case?

In my limited experience with these clocks, not what I would expect.

Almost looks new to me. The arch of the door appears to me to be replaced with mahogany? The grain of the wood used doesn't look it matches.

If old, appears heavily refinished? If so, once ebonized, had gilt brass mounts, japanned, what?

Proportions are somewhat odd to my eye as well.

Love to learn more from the knowledgeable!

RM
 

Matt Rock

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Just got back from my clockmaker and he is not willing to work on it at the moment. Said he was to busy and this is possibly a very time consuming project, told me to bring it back in 6 months and he might reconsider. Looks like I'll have to wait or find another clockmaker willing to work on it.

A few interesting comments he made..

- Said there was only a single winding point for both the dial hands and the chimes.
- One specific part that it typically located towards the top of the movement is at the bottom on this one.
- Mentioned that this could be a marriage of some sort

I agree with RM regarding the case that it is in very good condition, almost too good. The only service records I have is a small sticker that was placed on the bottom of the case from a clockmaker in Encinitas, CA dated 6-30-93. I called them about a month ago and was told that specific service report is most likely long gone. Haven't heard back so I'm assuming that's a dead-end.

Another side note...several past family members served in military. To my knowledge this has only been in either England or the US but if one of the previous owners was in fact military, it could have been serviced in a different country.
 

Matt Rock

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Lovely provincial bracket clock both the case and movement exhibit provincial features.

I would think its the 2nd half of the 18thC as it has neither half quarter or half hour markers on the chapter ring and the numerals are quite large. Likewise the pillars are neither ringed or finned. The head and mask spandrels on the corners of the dial and green man spandrels in the arch were generally earlier but they did get used later in the country.

I did note the Jane Odgen continued to run the business after John Odgen II death in 1753 until 1788. I wonder how she signed her clocks and whether she used her name or her dead husbands?

The hands may be replacements looking at their length and style.
Dean, thank you for this information!
 

Matt Rock

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The oldest document I have refers to this clock as "The Ashton Clock"
-Belonged to Grandfather Capl or Capt Thornhills (I'm not the best Old English translator) and passed it down to his daughter in 1780-1785.
-Last record of it being handed down in England is "Mother to daughter in 1866 at Whitley or Whitlay"
-Next date given is in 1922 and I believe that individual was already in the US

Another piece paper in this envelope of history has this written on it "English Fusee Bracket Clock, Single Barrel Spring w/chimes"
 

novicetimekeeper

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It is a pull repeat, so that you can tell the time in the dark. That's why it only has one train. Perhaps your clockmaker isn't experienced enough for this job.
 
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Ralph

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They're called silent or dumb repeaters. Not striking, but having the repeat function.

Ralph
 
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claussclocks

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Just joined the NAWCC yesterday and this is my very first post.

My new found interest in pocket watches is what brought me here but wanted to share this clock that has been in my wife's family for approx. 250 years. If my very limited research is accurate then this clock dates to the early 18th century, but nothing has been confirmed. The documentation we have shows it was handed down for the first time in 1780.

The ultimate goal is to build a story/history of the English clockmaker, this specific area in England, all of the family members who have cared for it and of course the clock itself. Whatever I can find will be made into a book and stay with the clock for future generations. I reached out to the experts at the research center to see what they can dig up, hoping they can help! These pics are the best I can do at the moment. The lock on the back is seized up and was told it stopped working properly about 10 years ago. So it's going to my clockmaker tomorrow to be overhauled.

View attachment 690055 View attachment 690056 View attachment 690057 View attachment 690058 View attachment 690059
Beautiful clock.
Welcome to the NAWCC forums
DPC
 

zedric

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As this is a provincial clock, I am not surprised that the case has some unusual features - provincial bracket clocks are rare enough that the case maker probably only made one or two in their life. And given your clockmaker can’t tell a striking clock from one that doesn’t strike, I’m not sure I would give any value to his assessment that the clock might be a marriage.
 
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Matt Rock

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I don't want my comments to take away from my clockmaker's ability because he is well respected in the area. He didn't have a lot of time to look at the clock and was mostly thinking out loud mostly. Also possible that I didn't relay the information properly.

Does anyone have a clockmaker in mind that would be a good fit? I'll apologize in advance if that type of question is frowned upon.
 

Matt Rock

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As this is a provincial clock, I am not surprised that the case has some unusual features - provincial bracket clocks are rare enough that the case maker probably only made one or two in their life. And given your clockmaker can’t tell a striking clock from one that doesn’t strike, I’m not sure I would give any value to his assessment that the clock might be a marriage.
Zedric, what makes this rare and why only 1 or 2 in a lifetime? Was it not popular during that time period?
 

zedric

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Bracket clocks were much more expensive than long case clocks. At the time this was made, the average country maker spent their careers making 30 hour longcase clocks, and lantern clocks - the cheapest type of clock you could get. Still, a clock would have been the most expensive purchase a household made, much like a car today. If you had the money to buy a bracket clock, you would usually buy one from a London maker, so ones made in country areas are quite uncommon.
 

Matt Rock

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Here is a clock that I found online and was sold at an auction house in 2020 (pic attached and description below). There are differences but the overall look seems to be very similar to mine. What I find really interesting is both clockmakers were 18th century Quaker's (John Sr. was a Quaker so I'm making the assumption his son was as well) and located outside of London. I believe I read something discussing the "minimalist" design styles of 18th century Quaker clockmakers and many of them would never sign their work in a viewable area. This example and the family fusee seem to fit into that minimalist design expect for the signatures on both clocks. And is it accurate to say that non-Catholic's might have preferred to not live in London at that time?

Please punch holes in my thought process if needed! I want this story to be as accurate as possible.

"A mid-18th century walnut bracket clock, the brass four pillar eight day single fusee movement with anchor escapement (formerly verge) striking on two bells with pull-repeat mechanism, the backplate finely engraved with foliate scrolls and inscribed 'Joseph Oxley Norwich', the 8-inch brass breakarch dial with similarly signed silvered boss to the arch above a silvered chapter ring framing a matt centre with mock pendulum and date aperture, the case with inverted bell top and brass carrying handle above glazed doors and sides, on a moulded plinth base and bracket feet, height 55.5cm, with pendulum (some faults and alterations). Note: Joseph Oxley is recorded as a Quaker clockmaker, born in Brigg, Lincolnshire, in 1715, apprenticed to Robert Henderson of Scarborough in 1730 before a further apprenticeship in London, then working at Fakenham, Norfolk, and then Norwich, where he was made free and married in 1744. He died in 1775."

Bracket Norwich.jpg
 

DeanT

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Here's an example of a provincial clock.


There's another example by this clockmaker but its still for sale so I haven't included it here. Its case is even quirker.

Provincial cases are sometimes a bit different and quirky. I've noticed the provincial cases the front door can be made from a horizontal top section rather than two vertical beams like yours. Look closely at the one I posted.

Silent pull repeat often used for bedroom use and hence are not a striking clock but only on demand. They sometimes are not engraved backplates like yours.

The fly is at the bottom of yours which is what I assume the clockmaker was referring too.

Where are you located? I might be able to find a quality clockmaker in the general area for you. I wouldnt like to pass judgement on the person you asked but those comments worry me a little.

I've attached 3 photos of one I have which is similar although it missing the pull repeat. Its unsigned but I would think it's also provincial.

22279906_520430688308950_6343292423644152092_n.jpg 22282000_520430678308951_2452189553352412792_n.jpg timepiece.jpg
 

Matt Rock

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Was able to get the back open and did my best to to take pics with my phone. Trying to document every square inch of the case and movement for myself. Also nice having the photos and shared information all in one place.

Side note; I always wanted a borescope camera, now have an excuse to buy one! Very curious to see if there are any unique markings on the back of the dial.

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novicetimekeeper

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Although all that timber looks very red I think at least some of it is oak. You would normally expect the case to be made of oak and then veneered, with just the smaller mouldings made from a solid of the same timber as the veneer.
 

Matt Rock

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Although all that timber looks very red I think at least some of it is oak. You would normally expect the case to be made of oak and then veneered, with just the smaller mouldings made from a solid of the same timber as the veneer.
There seems to be a few different view points on the case and if its completely original, is that an accurate statement?

I can only confirm that the case has not be altered in the last 50-60 years, prior to that who knows. Found out yesterday that this clock could have spent the majority of the 1920's in China with my great great grandparents (by marriage on my wife's side). My mother in-law has shared a lot of information about them and how her grandfather started one of the first import/export companies to specialize in goods produced there. The business was very successful leading up to the great depression but in 1930 or 31 had to close the doors and move back to the US. If we assume this clock did make the trip across the Pacific, then that will add more questions to the list.
 

DeanT

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It hard to be certain without seeing the clock in person but I'd be surprised it the case isn't original. I like the brass hole for the pull repeat cord (the cord is missing). I'd also suggest changing the brass cable for gut if it is being serviced. I have some doubts about the pendulum as it isn't what I'd expect but again hard to say without seeing it.
 

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