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Pictures of Banjo and Lyre clocks ... Please

R. Croswell

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One of the first “real” clocks that I remember seeing, about 60 years ago, was a really nice banjo in the home of my dad’s employer. It was in the style of Simon or Aaron Willard, but I was way to young to know who made it, but I knew that I wanted one like it! Well 60 years later I’m still waiting, but I did pick up this little Seth Thomas Brookfield a couple years ago at an estate auction, so at least I can say that I have a “Banjo Clock”, or something I pass of as such to my friends. A “real” banjo, in my opinion, should be weight powered, time only, and have approximately the proportions of those made by the Willard Brothers.

My clock sort of looks out of place with all the lovely clocks posted here, but although it’s not truly an antique (1941), it does mark an important point in American clock making. Most significantly, it represents what was for all practical purposes, the end of the era for American made mechanical clocks. After WWII many “American” clocks were American in name only and increasingly contained German made movements. I believe that ST continued the Brookfield into the early 1950s, but the post-war version typically has a German movement. My clock has a ST 1120 movement, which is essentially similar to the ST 120 movement. Spring powered, 8-day time & strike on a single long tone rod. Main springs in “spring boxes”, and long drop pendulum. This model uniquely spans the pre and post-war periods. Maybe I’ll find a deal on a post-war version and have an example from both periods.

This early versions had an opaque design in the bottom glass where one would expect to see a pendulum bob. The newer versions seem to have an actual visible pendulum bob. The reason for that remains a mystery to me. Although the clock is spring powered, it is one of the best timekeepers in my collection.

Bob C.
 

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Steven Thornberry

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Interesting Brookfield, Bob. I happen to own one from 1950, it was one of my first banjo clocks, back in the days of my banjo craze. Not a true antique, as you say, but it still has the American-made movement. I used also to own a Homestead banjo from the early 1950's. It bit the dust when my son bumped it and it fell to the floor in several indistinguishable pieces. I really liked that one, even better than the Homestead.

Where is Trappe, MD?
 

Steven Thornberry

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All right. I know the general location. Pretty country out there. We have on occasion taken a "time out" at the Cambridge Hyatt (which is not as nice as it was at first, but still good). I found your shop on the 'net. Next time we are in the area, I may drop in.
 

Paul Regan

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Here is a recent acquisition. It is Boston, probably Sawin(movement is held to backboard with studs and pins), around 1825. Paul
 

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Paul Regan

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Thanks Joe, it is a nice straight clock with well executed replaced tablets. Here is what the "studs" look like. Paul
 

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Steven Thornberry

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This thread is now in the sticky at the top of the forum for ease of finding.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Posting 2 of the banjos I own, the only reproduction clocks that I knowingly acquired (I hope:rolleyes:).

The timepiece on the viewer's left was made by the late Foster Campos. I have fond memories of Foster. He in fact urged me to join the NAWCC and was a good friend. I believe it's dated 1979.

Foster's shop burned down I believe in the late "80's or early '90's. As a result, for a period of time, he was unable to make any clocks. He was buying back some of his earlier clocks for stock, and this was one of them.

At the time of the fire, 2 of my clocks were in his shop for some case work. One survived (a Howard #5 square bottom), the other did not. Foster offered me the choice of insurance money or this clock. I took this clock and have enjoyed it ever since.

The one on the right was made by Elmer Stennis, dated 1968. I'm told that the use of the lower "balloon coach" glass, which is original, was unusual.

RM
 

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tom427cid

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Hi all,
Here is one that came in this week for repair-MAJOR.It fell off the wall.
On the bright side it still has the blunt screws on the tie-down bar.
Will post pics when repairs are done.
tom
#70 Howard+Attleboro Banjo 011.jpg
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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RM, would love to see some close up pic's if you have them. :)
Happy to oblige.

The first pics are of the Campos, the next of the Stennis.

RM
 

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burt

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View attachment 81

January 2010 004.jpg

January 2010 005.jpg

January 2010 006.jpg 543[/attach]

As a collector of the Hamilton line of RR grade pocketwatches, you know how expensive that can be. I wanted a presentation banjo clock. Well I sort of made my own. This one started out as a $114 rather plain clock from Merritts.

The eagle finial started out life as a flag pole ornament. I changed the dial and added banjo style hands. Planed down all the front moldings flat and added corner blocks and rope molding. I had to cut and silver solder extensions in the side arms as they were a little short. Also removed some brass. I added a couple of extra balls and did some carving on the lower bracket. The glasses are actually photographs from Fred Catterall. One of the hardest things I found was making sure that the background borders and pictures were all on the same plane. Guilded in 23K what needed to be done.
I did strip the entire case of the spray brown finish (yuk) that was original to the clock. I discovered the case was actually mahogany so I stained and finished it off in a nice satin sheen. The clock looks better than my pictures.
My total investment was under $200. Try buying a Campos for that amount !
 

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Steven Thornberry

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View attachment 81

View attachment 81544

View attachment 81545

View attachment 81546 543[/attach]

As a collector of the Hamilton line of RR grade pocketwatches, you know how expensive that can be. I wanted a presentation banjo clock. Well I sort of made my own. This one started out as a $114 rather plain clock from Merritts.

The eagle finial started out life as a flag pole ornament. I changed the dial and added banjo style hands. Planed down all the front moldings flat and added corner blocks and rope molding. I had to cut and silver solder extensions in the side arms as they were a little short. Also removed some brass. I added a couple of extra balls and did some carving on the lower bracket. The glasses are actually photographs from Fred Catterall. One of the hardest things I found was making sure that the background borders and pictures were all on the same plane. Guilded in 23K what needed to be done.
I did strip the entire case of the spray brown finish (yuk) that was original to the clock. I discovered the case was actually mahogany so I stained and finished it off in a nice satin sheen. The clock looks better than my pictures.
My total investment was under $200. Try buying a Campos for that amount !
Very nice, Burt. What movement did you use?
 

Paul Regan

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Here are a couple I purchased from Paul Regan and his son several years ago... Striking banjo on the left and a Tifft on the right. (We are still enjoying them Paul!)

125.jpg

And a couple more unattributed examples... Striking banjo on the right.

126.jpg
Hey David, glad to see they still have a good home. Here is a 100% original Howard & Davis #3 I picked up at the Daytona Regional last Feb. Paul
 

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burt

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Thank you very much.As of now it's the one that came with the clock.I think that a Howard repo will fit nicely and I mite go with that in the future.
Foster Campos was a American Master and I would never compare my clock to anyone he made.Just was having some fun during the long last winter.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Though I have some earlier banjo time pieces, thought I would post another reproduction, though not really as a period banjo of this size probably never existed (though I did once see what was supposed to be a period 3/4 size weight driven banjo at an auction).

But first, allow me to speak blasphemy. I guess I have never been terribly interested in Chelseas. There, I've said it. Then why did I pay pretty good $ for this 3/4 size at a recent general estate auction?

As mentioned, it's a 3/4 size banjo time piece. I believe the gilt white metal (?) eagle finial is original. The mahogany case is in original finish and looks like it has been well cared for. The odd abrasion, drip of paint, the usual stuff.

The case has gilt and hand painted glasses. Note the lower glass depicting the Massachusetts State House (the older version before the "new" wings were added).

The brass bezel and side arms are nice, some minor oxidation where the original lacquer has worn away from dusting.

The metal dial looks enamelled, with arabic numerals bearing the name of the maker as well as the retailer, Bigelow, Kennard & Co, Boston.

Inside the lower box is an engraved brass presentation plaque with the date of presentation. I'm assuming that the date was close to the time of purchase.

The movement and case have serial numbers. Of course, I forgot to write them down.

So why did I buy it? It's the ultimate Boston clock. Made in Chelsea, a respected Boston retailer, with a glass depicting the State House on Beacon Hill, all in nice condition. Movement needs a clean to run.

What's not to like?

RM
 

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walshja

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May 2, 2006
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here's my New Haven Wilson.

my grandparents had this in their house my entire life, it was never working. I would spend Sundays there every week, and I would try and get it going each and every Sunday night while watching Disney and Omaha Wild Kingdom. It was wound tight, and would only run for a minute or 2. I would try shifting the bottom from left to right not knowing I was setting the beat, but it still wouldn't run for any length of time.

they finally gave me the clock and I got it home and the same thing was happening, I couldn't get it working properly until I notice the loop/hook on top which the clock hangs from, it was about 1/4 from the wall. I screwed in the bolt I had it hanging from, making it flush with the wall and she runs perfectly now.

the Wilson is has 30 day movement, and is my favorite clock in my collection, only because of the memories I have of it. this is definitely the largest clock I have in my collection as well. I'm missing the right rail on the clock, have no idea where to find a replacement, anyone have any ideas?

joe
 

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tom427cid

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Update;
Case is back together,movement unbent and bushed,all that remains now is the glass.
Research leads me to believe that this is an early Wallace Goodwin.

Hi all,
Here is one that came in this week for repair-MAJOR.It fell off the wall.
On the bright side it still has the blunt screws on the tie-down bar.
Will post pics when repairs are done.
tom
View attachment 81495
Goodwin banjo B4&After 001.jpg

Goodwin banjo B4&After 002.JPG

Goodwin Banjo II-Beat Scale 001.jpg

Goodwin Banjo II 008.jpg
 

Robert Ling

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Wow! Tom,
Very nice work. That clock was lucky it found you.
Did the weight fall and bring the clock down off the wall, or did it just fall ?
 

tom427cid

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Hi Robert,
As near as I can Figure,somebody other than the customer(trying to be helpful)wound the clock. It appears that they were winding the clock pretty aggressivly,hit the stop,broke the cord,weight fell,and somehow the clock was dislodged from the wall. Then the whole mess came crashing down.
Anyway the case needed a good cleaning and waxing! BTW that is the original finish.
tom
 

Robert Ling

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Yes, the finish is nice. Is it veneer or solid ?

The damage suffered by this banjo is probably one of the reasons ( beside keeping the clock plum ) that so many were helt to the wall at the lower box also.
 

abe

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Here is a picture of a banjo I got 2 weeks ago. It is a Sessions clock with the Bim-Bam chime. It is missing the glass on the dial. It is just like one my parents had in the 60's and 70's. See the old pic below. It is running OK now but at some point might just stop. It is very finicky... I need to clean up the side ornaments. They are brass but hate to stop the clock to do it since it is running OK now.

https://mb.nawcc.org/picture.php?albumid=375&pictureid=2190
https://mb.nawcc.org/picture.php?albumid=375&pictureid=2180
 

Kevin W.

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Nice job on the clock Tom.Maybe the winder needs instructions to wind it?
I would like to have one like this in my collection, some day.;);)
 

Joe Hollen

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Hello Robert:

Thanks ! Actually, all but the backboard is Cherry ... Finished fairly light due to the "finish sealer" I used to guard against "blotching"...

Joe
 

Joe Hollen

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Robert:

My friend who owns a Clock Shop in northern NH picked up a "J.N.Dunning" regulator from a customer that needed to be repaired. He brought it by my house in his travels that day. This particular clock was gorgeous. It had the finely curved wood panels that a lot of Curtis and Dunning regulators had from their work period in Vermont. It was also "Time and Strike" - a VERY nice added feature for a "timepiece" of that era. (There's a few nice pictures of these type of clocks in Paul Foley's book in the "Vermont Timepieces" section.

Anyway, I took an outline of the clock case, and did some quick measurements for depth at the clockhead, top of the throat, bottom of the throat, and finally the pendulum box. I then made him an "almost" exact copy of the original (minus of course the "time and strike movement"... I had only "time-only" banjo movements on hand, so that's what he got. The throat is extra wide in my "copies" of the Dunning timepiece. I didn't alter it, and it's this wide because the original was sized for two desending weights... The original had no opening for observing the Pendulum bob either...

I include a picture of the first copy I did. It was done in walnut, and you'll notice there's no "frames" in the throat or pendulum box door. That was a characteristic of these timepieces as produced by Dunning, and Curtis and Dunning before that...
Joe
 

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tom427cid

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tom427cid

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Here is another banjo-a(probably NH) variant of a lyre. Stumbled upon a movement(possibly Jacob Morrell jr,Plymouth,NH) that needed a home.
The original and the movement.
Morrell banjo(possible) Japy Champlevey 004.JPG
NH Banjo I 002.jpg


My interpretation of the clock.I lengthened the case 1/2 inch to more center the bob and I added a moulded piece on the base.I think that it gives the clock a more"finished" look.
NH Banjo I 004.jpg
NH Banjo II 004.jpg
NH Banjo V 001.jpg

tom
 

Robert Ling

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Wow! Tom.
The Wallace Goodwin wasn't even in hospital that long, and looks fantastic. A really sharp looking timepiece.

I like what you did with the Lyre, it's more balanced now. And another beautiful piece.

Thanks to all of you for posting your projects. My Hats of to you.

Bob
 

Joe Hollen

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Tom:

Very VERY nice work !!! The restoration of the Wallace Goodwin is absolutely gorgeous !

Very interesting Lyre also! I've made one, and only one Lyre clock. They're tough to make. It was a "Box Lyre" like yours with a presentation bracket. I tapered the "lyre" portion of the case to the same dimensions as a standard Banjo. (2 1/2" at the top, tapering out to 2 3/4" at the bottom.). I found that a bit tough to do. Not sure if you did that on your Lyre. No matter, it's *very nice* no matter how it was done... !!!

It was interesting to see the "clock in the Hospital" with the clamps, etc. I've done that many times myself ! The conglomerations that you end up with (clamps going every which way) to ensure a good, tight, and straight gluing job is interesting to say the least...

Nice work !
Joe
 

tom427cid

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Hi, Joe,
The center section on the lyre tapers from 2 1/8 th to 2 1/2 inches. It is a pretty shallow movement. Also does not leave much room to play between the weight and pend rod
I'm not satisfied with the lyre terminations-they need some carved element or brass aplique. And I did not get the finish dull enough-its to shiney to suit me(and the clock).
Thank you all for the compliments they are appreciated.
tom
 

Peter A. Nunes

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Wonderful timepiece- looks to have original and entirely undisturbed tablets... think of the years of asphaltum evaporation that go into getting that sort of translucent look. I have a Wallace Goodwin timepiece that has a similar look to the tablets.
 

Robert Ling

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You got it, Peter
1850ish paint. The clock was running and you can see the bob throught the paint it's so thin.
It looks fantastic, IMO
 

Jerome collector

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Well, I wasn't getting much action on the Clock Case Restoration forum, so I thought I'd see if I could do better here.

I'm hoping someone can help me determine what the bezel latch for an 8-day, weight-driven Chelsea banjo should look like. See photos below for all that remains. Given the crude soldering job, I'm not sure that the catch is original. I'd like to fabricate a replacement, but I have no idea what I'm trying to fabricate at this point. The movement has serial number 68471, which dates it to 1910-1914. Thanks.

Mike
IMG_3668-1.jpg IMG_3669-1.jpg IMG_3670-1.jpg
 

kathi17

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I'm almost ashamed to post these two banjos after seeing the really beautiful clocks in this thread.

These belonged to my great grandparents. For the New Haven Whitney, it stopped working while my grandmother had it. She didn't check the reputation of the clock repairer, and he lost the dial. He drew the numbers on the steel with Magic Marker. Next, my mother got it, and it stopped working. She was going to take it to a jeweler in Massachusetts. She transported it all the way from Maine to Mass upside down, and the pendulum and key scrubbed off a lot of the paint (or decal), on the tablet. I was sick when I saw it.

Anyway, I'm reading everything on the repair forum and making notes. I can't afford to have it redone, but when I'm done researching, I will try to stabilize the remaining paint. In the meantime, I did see this particular design on flea bay, printed onto matboard. It was made to put into the Whitney behind the glass. I don't expect it to be a really good replacement, even though he had good reviews, but if it is the right size, after I get the paint stabilized, I can put that in there until I figure out what to do, and as long as I don't let it touch the glass, it won't hurt the clock.

I have also done a lot of decorative painting, so I will probably use that as a pattern to try painting some regular window glass to see how I do. If it looks decent, I may try doing the clock myself. At least with the thing I bought on fleabay, I have a full pattern of the top part to work with. I will also look for a dial for it.

The Sessions clock also was not working, and my mother just stuffed it under the bed. I suppose at least it was right side up. There are a lot of boxes under her bed, and hopefully, the finial is still under there. She hasn't given me the Sessions clock, but it doesn't matter, I want to get it repaired anyway.

Next weekend we are going to have to move the rest of her stuff out of the house in Mass, and bring it to Maine. She is bringing a little Sessions Electric Banjo up with her. I'll post pictures of that next week. It's a pretty little clock, but I was never interested in it until I joined this group. Now I am more interested!
 

BackInTime

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BANJO CLOCK John Sawin clock made in 1820s.jpg My most recent clock purchase is this banjo made by John Sawin in the 1820s. Original signed dial, but lower 2 glasses are an old replacement which I'd say is common for something almost 200 years old. everything else appears to be original. It's running great and keeping perfect time.
 

Vernon

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Here is a Hatch I believe. I got at a regional a few years ago. Throat and box glasses by David Lima of Lake Erie Chapter hvac 04-21-15 010.jpg . Like many that I have, I just brought in and hung it but haven't serviced or ran it. This will change though...
 

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