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Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Tommy Thomas, Oct 3, 2019.

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  1. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Good Morning,

    I am back to clock collecting after about 20 years. My Dad loved clocks. He and I bought a number of clocks when I was younger. Such great memories. I am now looking for several clocks that I have always wanted. One of them being a pillar and scroll. I purchased one at auction last week and can't wait to receive it. I wanted to get your opinion and suggestions regarding this clock. I know the tablet is replaced by Moberg. He does such great work.
    Do I need to get it serviced before running it ? I would like to use it daily. And if so, by who? Also I don't like the new finials. Are period finials able to be found.
    Thank you for your help and comments. I am finding that I really like these wooden movement clocks.
    23544_01_S.jpg 23544_03_S.jpg

    Here is the description from the auction

    Description:
    Seth Thomas, Plymouth Hollow, 30 hour, time and strike weight driven regulated by a pendulum wood movement pillar & scroll shelf clock. This clock predates the Terry patent suit as the label does not acknowledge Terry as the patent holder.
    Dimensions:
    17.5in x 29in x 4.75in
    Condition:
    Nicely refinished mahogany and mahogany veneered case in nice condition. Tablet by Moberg on original glass. Original top and base. Original dial was cleaned and restored by the Dial House. Original hands. Modern set of finials. Original pulley covers.
     
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  2. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Here is the third picture.

    23544_02_S.jpg
     
  3. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Welcome to the forum! It seems that you have purchased a very nice example that has been carefully restored by experts. As long as the movement doesn't appear dirty and works properly, I don't think it needs to be serviced before you run the clock. Check carefully for any broken or missing teeth, though, which would need attention.

    Uhralt
     
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  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #4 Jim DuBois, Oct 3, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2019
    Finding a period set of finials can be more than a bit tough. Sometimes a good set will bring as much as many of the clocks. Fred Ringer is making some very accurate replicas these days. He does them in hollow cast brass, split like some of the originals on the center line and then soldered together. Accurate, but not cheap either.

    20191003_110600.jpg
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I will say the style of finials is appropriate for a Seth Thomas P&S. That would have been the style used.

    They don't look bad.

    RM
     
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  6. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks for the help. Can anyone suggest a good overall Book regarding wooden works clocks ?
     
  7. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    a good starter for me was Kenneth D.Roberts "Eli Terry and the Connecticut Shelf Clock"
    A verry nice clock,congrats!
    Burkhard
     
  8. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks. I found it and have ordered a copy
     
  9. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Besides that all-important and must-have book, you could also find of interest, the catalogue of the 2006 exhibition at the National Watch and Clock Museum 'Pillar & Scroll' and the book 'Good for a Time' by Chris Brown and Russell Oechsle. Also the Chauncey Jerome's autobiography 'From Rags to Riches': No matter if it is so biased as some people say, it is an unvaluable first-hand account on the CT clockmaking start and development and a pleasure to read!

    Aitor
     
  10. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks Aitor,

    I have received the clock. I am so pleased with it. A good coat of polish. and a little bit of gentle cleaning. It just shines. I think I made a good purchase.

    I know this question has probably been asked millions of times, but can I run this clock on a daily basis? I am going to check it and make sure there are no broken teeth or other damage. I have a good spot for it and would like to keep it running.

    Thanks.

    Oh I received the Kenneth Roberts book yesterday. :)
     
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  11. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Another book that covers a lot of woodworks history in the Torrington area is Erastus Hodges 1781-1847 by Theodore Hodges. If you are really serious about learning about woodworks this is a nice book to have.
     
  12. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Good that you've already received your P&S They are really elegant clocks by all standards!:D
    You'll find opposite opinions about keeping old clocks running or not. I keep mine running daily and I enjoy them. All of them were running long before I was born and, hopefully, they'll keep on ticking and striking long after I'm dead...;)
    Be careful to attach the upper part of the case to a wall by its back in some way. Probably your case has a seemingly useless screw or hook placed at the middle of the top board: When fully wound-up, P&S are top-heavy and prone to fall face down form the shelf...:eek:

    Aitor
     
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  13. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks. Yes I noticed while cleaning the glass that the clock is top heavy even without the weights. I bet many a tablet got broken by the clock falling forward. I wonder if that makes original tablets more rare overall. Just a random thought.
     
  14. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Can be sure about that: plus broken feet and scrolls, weights crashing dial and glasses... The full catastrophe!:emoji_confounded:

    Aitor
     
  15. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    I am curious. Is there a record of or resource that shows the different tablets that were original to these clocks ?
     
  16. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I am not aware of any such resource per se' regarding tablets suitable for pillar and scroll clocks. Different period clocks have markedly different glass styles, and it seems to me to be a serious mistake to put a period wrong style glass in any clock "because we like it."

    May I suggest going to a site such as Antique Clocks Price Guide - Grandfather Wall and Mantel and search on a keyword such as "pillar" and see what clock tablets are shown. I think you will find certain traits common to many pillar & scroll clocks. A search on keyword "Fenn" will return entirely different period of clocks as well as entirely different tablets. Mixing periods is a mistake if your goal is to maintain any degree of historical accuracy.
     
  17. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks Jim. I went to the site you suggested and started looking at their pictures.I guess each maker sourced different reverse glass artist. So the subject could vary but would remain in the style of the clock ?
     
  18. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Tablet painting was pretty much a cottage industry, done mostly by women, or so the existing records state. There were numerous painters, of varying skills. Some painted the entire tablet. Others were more specialized where one person might do the gold-leafed borders, another does the foliage/trees, and yet another does houses and people. It is significant to note that tablets were tied to societal trends and the styles changed pretty quickly. For about 10 years pillar & scroll clocks featured the gilt trimmed tree and building themes. As transition clocks came into being there was a movement away from to gold-leafed/edged tablets and stenciled painted edges are seen. Shortly thereafter came the bronze looking glass clocks featuring mirrors, circa 1825+/-, and painted tablets, when used, were generally secondary to the mirrors. By the mid-1830s, there was a transition toward bigger and better-painted tablets once again.

    In 1829 Wm. B. Fenn started painting glasses for Seth Thomas, and he more or less revolutionized clock tablets with his stenciled geometric glasses by about 1840. Also, popular at this time was the so-called etched or engraved glasses used by a multitude of providers. Mixing the styles of tablets with the wrong period of the clock is not encouraged or proper.
     
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  19. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks Jim for the information. I just finished reading the book "Eli Terry and the Connecticut Shelf Clock" and your comments help to explain some of what I read. By stenciled glassed do you mean that a pattern was used to apply the reversed painting?
     
  20. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Clock is all cleaned up and on the table. :) What is the best way to secure it to the wall ? There are several holes in the back of the case. Were these used to basically screw it to the wall?

    IMG_8586.jpg
     
  21. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Here are some examples of stenciled glasses as well as some of the stencils used to create them.

    fenn glass 2.jpg 48374667_2071635642893974_8746933994769088512_n.jpg IMG_3747x.jpg 56505376_3_x.jpg baloon glass.jpg
     
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  22. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks Jim, Very interesting. The pictures help to explain their use. I think my favorite. are the gold leaf edged reverse painting. They add so much to the clock.
     
  23. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Jim shared a wonderful selection of tablets and stencils. If that whetted your appetite, there are several informative Bulletin articles on clock tablets, stenciling and reverse glass painting. If you're logged in to the main NAWCC website, you can use the Bulletin index search to read more. You can use such searches as Fenn, reverse painting, clock tablets, or stencil.

    This is a nice thread about Fenn (and some other artists) stencils. This thread also includes references and links to books and articles. There are other threads about various tablet styles.
    Devoted to William Fenn

    Have fun learning!
    Pat
     
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  24. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks Pat. I will have a look. :)
     
  25. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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  26. dlb1052

    dlb1052 Registered User
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    Very nice pillar and scroll clock. A friend of mine a few weeks ago mentioned he read somewhere (he is still looking for it) that the holes in the backboard were for screwing the clock to the wall. Up for debate. If you can find a stud and hole in backboard where you want the clock to STAY that would be great. A fender washer and a long #10 or #12 screw will work. Remember when picking a length figure in thickness of backboard and drywall, with an extra inch into the stud. As the old saying goes, better safe then sorry. I am pleased you want to run you clock everyday. That is what they were made for, and who are you saving that pleasure for, that would enjoy it anymore then you. (My opinion ONLY). I run all my clocks everyday and enjoy everyone to the fullest. Be sure to check the bushings for too much play also, or you could be replacing teeth before you want to. Good luck Diane
    p.s. so happy to see this site getting some activity
     
  27. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thank you dib 1052. I have three holes on the back board. I am going to measure and make sure that I get the right length. Thinking about a rubber washer to minimize any damage to the clock. That should secure everything.
    I haven't started running it yet. I need to give it a good look over. I knew about checking the teeth but thanks for the information about the bushings. I need to check those as well.
     
  28. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    The vast majority of old clocks have screw holes in their case backs. Tall case, wall, and larger mantle clocks usually were affixed to the walls behind the case for multiple reasons. One of which is certainly safety, some will fall over with their doors open for winding and the like. Also, screwed to the wall they will stay in beat with all the other things that may go along with their location, i.e. kids running about and so forth. A third reason might well be to prevent "sympathetic vibration" that may stop a clock as it runs. I have only seen a couple of cases ever that didn't have signs of extra screws in the lower casework added for these reasons.

    Shelf, bracket, table, and small mantle clocks will not generally have the extra holes, they usually have none of the above-mentioned issues other than perhaps kids running about.
     
  29. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    IMG_3127.JPG My column&splat case has a hole in the backboard to be fixed to the wall. My pillar&scroll shows no such holes. Instead, it has an old, sturdy screw at the centre of its upper board. I wondered what it was for until I realized that it was just another method of securing the clock to the wall. I think that using the sturdier upper board is maybe a better idea than using the slenderer backboard...o_O

    Aitor
     
  30. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Interesting Jim. I never thought about the other reasons to secure the clock. But that makes sense. Especially the children running around. That would be one easy way to ruin your day by knocking your fathers clock off the mantle. :)I have never heard about sympathetic vibrations. I play a stringed instrument and I know a certain pitch can cause a string to vibrate but never thought about it stopping a clock.
     
  31. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Aitor. I looked at your picture and like the idea of attaching the anchor to the top. My clocks doesn't go all the way flush with the wall so I would need a rather long screw. I am thinking two eyelet screws and a little bit of wire might work the best.
    Thanks for all the help.

    Tommy
     
  32. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    So-called sympathetic vibration in a clock is usually seen in tall clocks that are not steady/firm as they stand on a floor. Old houses with less than firm floors can contribute, tall clocks on a carpet are susceptible, flimsy cases can be a big issue, etc. What happens is when the weights and the pendulum bob are at about the same height in the case the weights will begin to swing 180 degrees out of phase with the pendulum. The swing of the weights is very slight and can be missed unless you are looking very carefully. And if a clock is stopped and you restart it, the problem may not reoccur immediately, or even today, or even this month. Or it may start in a few minutes. Drives clock repairers slightly wacko.

    Some believe this to be a magnetic attraction and I have seen so-called repairmen wrap both weights and pendulums in tin foil to prevent the magnetic attraction. Magnetic attraction between lead weights and brass bobs and tinfoil will correct that? So many things wrong with that concept I don't care to go further, but otherwise respected parties have sworn that to be true and their solution to be valid.

    Sympathetic vibration is real, I have demonstrated it recently in my shop, accidentally on my test stand, and much to my chagrin. Properly affixing a case to a wall will prevent that problem, tin foil? Not so much! Every case should firm against a wall and a long screw into a stud will do just that.
     
  33. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    Thanks Jim,

    What an interesting email about sympathetic vibration. It is amazing how these moving parts produce harmonic vibrations. If that is the right word. I thought you were going to tell me that you resolved the problem on your test stand with tin foil :) You would think argumentatively that the metal in the foil would increase any magnetic attraction.
    I think you are right. I am going to use one of the original holes in the clock and attach with a long screw. I haven't started the clock yet. I want to secure it first. Can't wait to see and hear it run.
     
  34. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    I want to thank everyone for your help with my new Pillar and Scroll. I sure have missed clock collecting and the friends that go along with it.
     

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