Pittsburgh Mayor's Clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by steamer471, Feb 4, 2018.

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  1. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    Ok I admit I suffer from HCD (Horological Collecting Disorder). I just went out on Superbowl sunday to purchase this monster. The guy told me it belonged to the first mayor of Pittsburg. That would be Ebenezer Denny in 1816. It's all complete weights, pendulum, and pulleys. No labels or markings except the dial painting. Looks like a longcase movement. Anybody recognize anything?

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  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    you're lucky you don't suffer from HAJ (horological acquisition jealousy)... it hurts more every time you see a clock you covet and don't have... like this one.

    ouch.

    :cool:
     
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  3. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    At least you have room to walk around your house.;)
     
  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    as long as i stay on the clearly marked paths... :cool:
     
  5. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    A wonderful Pennsylvania clock! Here is a link to Ed LaFond's and Carter Harris's book on Pennsylvania shelf clocks. Many makers and clocks are included, and with the distinctive features of your clock's movement, you may be able to identify the maker. As with many home-grown Pennsylvania clocks, there are Germanic forces at work, such as the hands and the strike lifting piece. There were several makers in Pittsburgh, and I wonder if the maker's name is hiding on the dial- perhaps a session with black light might reveal something. A great find.
    https://nawcc.org/index.php/chapter-information/chapter-documents/54-publications/publications-other-/1179-pennsylvania-shelf-and-bracket-clocks
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #6 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
    Well, I don't mean too sound too catty, but this one makes up > 1000 fold for the last one.

    This is a very rare, desirable and IMCO, beautiful clock that represents a late "last gasp" of hand made clocks.

    See LaFond and Harris, "Pennsylvania Shelf and Bracket Clocks: 1750-1850" (it's a NAWCC publication), pages 93 and 96-98 and the figures therein as well as page 133, color figure 12.

    You no doubt have a shelf clock by the Allegheny County clock maker Jacob Buerkle. The case is almost identical to the example on page 98 (also shown in the color figure 12). The exquisite dial which just has the placename "Pittsburgh" in that gothic style script, hands, as you observed "tall case" like movement on a seat board are to be found in the other examples of his work in that publication.

    The center section would have had a mirror.

    The dates given in the above reference for JB are 1840-5. So, if it was owned by Ebenezer Denny, it was well after 1816. The style of the case, very much late Empire or Neo-Gothic, is consistent with those dates rather the Federal period, i.e., 1816.

    The dial and case were locally made.

    This is rare PA shelf clock that appears to have survived well. I think it's quite beautiful. Contrary to the standard advice you may well receive on the MB, I believe it deserves to have as little done to it as possible, especially the case. If it were mine, I would just wax it. Don't touch the dial. Yes, you might find a nice piece of old thin glassed mercury mirror for the center section. This is not some fixer-upper to go at.

    Enjoy this important clock. You are very fortunate that it came your way.

    RM

    Addendum: Whoops. Looks like Peter and my posts crossed in the mail, so to speak.

    I don't think, based upon the other examples published in the above reference, that you will find a maker's name on the dial. The dials appear to have just been signed "Pittsburgh" but it's worth a look.

    Buy the book.
     
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  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Here's an example that was part of the Lindy Larson collection that I had the privilege of seeing in person years ago before his collection was liquidated at that auction:

    Cottone Auctions

    Ain't seen another since until yours.

    RM
     
  8. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    Thank you all. I will buy the book. I have an envelope that came with the clock with some of the mirror pieces. I was fortunate to find even the hand crank with it. The case is stunning and needs a good cleaning but that is all I will do. Full of dead spiders and dust. I have a go with the black light and see what I can find. Thanks again I've been searching for hours and was finding little. You guys know your stuff! By the way I didn't believe the guy's mayor story but it was add a little color to the deal.
     
  9. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User
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    What a great find!
    Ray Rice, quite envious, in Rifton
     
  10. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    Yeah it's really neat clock. I did find some penciling today on the lower door inside. I going to pick up a black light and try to bring the other writing out. Thanks to all I love this. Having always been a history buff and loving a good mystery this is fun.
     
  11. Robert Patierno

    Robert Patierno Registered User
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    Would you consider my first born in trade?.....Add me to the HAJ list!

    It’s a great clock and the condition is great.

    Nick
     
  12. senhalls

    senhalls Registered User

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    Thank you for sharing this find. I live one county west of Allegheny, so just love this. What sort of suspension would the pendulum have had? What is left looks like a Black Forest trapeze. Thanks again !
     
  13. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    Yes I think it does also. I'll post some more pics when I get back to it.
     
  14. Catlady888

    Catlady888 New Member

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    EC2D3F67-EBF3-4DC2-9C69-A646285FB07D.jpeg Amazing find! I hope to find my own someday. Jacob Buerkle was my 4th great grandfather.
     
  15. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    Wow that's great. I haven't got to this one yet but when I do I'll post it up.
     
  16. steamer471

    steamer471 Registered User
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    Between selling my house, working and trying to hone my skills this one has been sitting waiting for me to do something with it. I am definitely not going to let it sit neglected in storage and actually got it moved to its new home this weekend. Going to tear down the movement next week and clean it up. I've have yet to work on a compound pulley system yet but with the help of this site I should be able to figure it out. I'm hoping I have all the parts here. The pendulum looks small to me and from the description in the archives the other example has a pendulum made from a clock face? Here are some more pictures.

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  17. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I know that trademark but I can't for the life of me recall who it is. They made kits to convert rope driven thirty hour longcase to chain driven and this mark appears on the new sprocket wheels. Is it Peerless perhaps?
     
  18. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Nick,

    Yes, that's Peerless.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  19. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    What a killer dial for a killer clock.

    Enjoy!

    RM
     

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