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Please help, could this be my first pure American grandfather clock?

Accural

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Hello all, I always wanted a American grandfather clock but there is so much confusion as to how to identify unsigned movements and distinguish the more American sourced from English import parts. I am hoping this could be Americain as the plates do seem thin but it does come with cast iron weights. Any thoughts or hints to tell an America made clock/movement would be greatly appreciated from my fellow collectors.

IMG_20201204_162238347.jpg IMG_20201204_162244916.jpg IMG_20201204_162258652.jpg IMG_20201204_162326481.jpg IMG_20201204_162549491.jpg IMG_20201204_162454014.jpg IMG_20201204_162341831.jpg IMG_20201204_162336548.jpg IMG_20201204_162326481.jpg IMG_20201204_162248510.jpg IMG_20201204_162254869.jpg
 
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Accural

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I noticed the strike tensioner and recoil stop is unusual? Perhaps a sign of yankee ingenuity making this more American?
 

Jim DuBois

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Well, the case of the clock certainly appears to be American, most likely from Massachuttes, New Hampshire, or Connecticut. From What I can see it is quite nice and in pretty decent shape. As to the movement, there are a few things that suggest it may be more American in origin than elsewhere. First, it has smooth winding drums, a trait that is more American than from England, Scotland, or Ireland. Not conclusive but certainly suggestive. Second, the coiled hammer spring has been found on some signed examples of tallclocks by American makers, specifically in the Boston area. The third possible clue lies in the dial not having a falseplate. Most 8 day clocks have a false plate from this period. (1790-1820+/-) Those that do not have it tend more toward being made here versus elsewhere. I would label it as "probable American". Closer inspection might allow a tighter conclusion.
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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The woods used, especially the secondaries, might help, too.

Some completely original clocks may have UK works in US cases. As per Robert Cheney, even makers like the Willards used imported UK works which were finished in the US and installed in Boston area cases. If I remember correctly, that was done to keep up with the demand for their clocks.

Also important to assess for originality, i.e., did case, dial and works all start life together.

RM
 

Uhralt

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The dial seems to be imported from England. It was likely made in Birmingham around 1780 by one of the well known dial makers there (Wilson?).

Uhralt
 

Accural

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Well, the case of the clock certainly appears to be American, most likely from Massachuttes, New Hampshire, or Connecticut. From What I can see it is quite nice and in pretty decent shape. As to the movement, there are a few things that suggest it may be more American in origin than elsewhere. First, it has smooth winding drums, a trait that is more American than from England, Scotland, or Ireland. Not conclusive but certainly suggestive. Second, the coiled hammer spring has been found on some signed examples of tallclocks by American makers, specifically in the Boston area. The third possible clue lies in the dial not having a falseplate. Most 8 day clocks have a false plate from this period. (1790-1820+/-) Those that do not have it tend more toward being made here versus elsewhere. I would label it as "probable American". Closer inspection might allow a tighter conclusion.
Thank you Jim, I suppose one can never know for sure unless the specimen clock is perhaps an unsigned wood works tall clock residing in the USA.
I may go back for a closer look at the strike coil, I was in a rush and did not have time to see if it was original or a replacement of a broken typical English arrangement.
 

Accural

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Pretty certain you will find the coiled spring to be original, not a repair.
i have no doubt they used that configuration in Boston clocks, I have seen them myself on Boston clocks, Arron Willard jr. shelf clocks. I would love to know what the makers used for those, perhaps new or broken pocket watch springs.
 

Ralph

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How about your pendulum stick? Wood? Iron? The bob, brass faced?

... and the backboard, 5/8" (in my small universe) or greater, would add some more weight to it being American and New Englandish, ... though it's pretty settled, the case being as Jim said, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Connecticut. The oval/football sidelights don't come up too often.

Ralph
 
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Accural

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Wood stick/brass skin, the suspension spring end looks old and could be original, sorry no picture for that. I think the pendulum is straight and original and American from what I have seen over the years although I am surprised it could survive! The case I am sure is American, I suppose parts of the movement are Americain in in origin with import parts. A closer look reviled the coil spring hammer is original with no evidence of an earlier type.

The "football" apertures are strange indeed but I would prefer to think of them as being inspired by religion, specifically a symbol, mandorla, which is almond shaped, it is used in medieval and Romanesque art, as well as Byzantine art, see below.
T Screen Shot 2020-12-05 at 10.04.29 PM.png 340px-Codex_Bruchsal_1_01v_cropped.jpg
A mandorla is a visual way to describe that Jesus unites the heavenly and earthly realms. Jesus is the mandorla, and because he occupies this bridge space, it is a symbol of glory and majesty.
images.png
 
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Jim DuBois

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It is not uncommon for wood pendulum rods to survive in our clocks. And yes, the wood rod tends to give even more credence to this one being discussed as having strong American ties. I have two tall clocks with a wood rod in the house today and have had 4 or 5 others over the years. And they were all American. I think I had a so-called regulator clock from England that had a wood rod, but it was round and had a cylindric bob also.

20201108_105904.jpg IMG_0937.JPG
 
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BrendanD

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Wood stick/brass skin, the suspension spring end looks old and could be original, sorry no picture for that. I think the pendulum is straight and original and American from what I have seen over the years although I am surprised it could survive! The case I am sure is American, I suppose parts of the movement are Americain in in origin with import parts. A closer look reviled the coil spring hammer is original with no evidence of an earlier type.

The "football" apertures are strange indeed but I would prefer to think of them as being inspired by religion, specifically a symbol, mandorla, which is almond shaped, it is used in medieval and Romanesque art, as well as Byzantine art, see below.
T View attachment 625765 View attachment 625766
A mandorla is a visual way to describe that Jesus unites the heavenly and earthly realms. Jesus is the mandorla, and because he occupies this bridge space, it is a symbol of glory and majesty.
View attachment 625767
Well, the case of the clock certainly appears to be American, most likely from Massachuttes, New Hampshire, or Connecticut. From What I can see it is quite nice and in pretty decent shape. As to the movement, there are a few things that suggest it may be more American in origin than elsewhere. First, it has smooth winding drums, a trait that is more American than from England, Scotland, or Ireland. Not conclusive but certainly suggestive. Second, the coiled hammer spring has been found on some signed examples of tallclocks by American makers, specifically in the Boston area. The third possible clue lies in the dial not having a falseplate. Most 8 day clocks have a false plate from this period. (1790-1820+/-) Those that do not have it tend more toward being made here versus elsewhere. I would label it as "probable American". Closer inspection might allow a tighter conclusion.
[/QUOT
 
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BrendanD

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The football shaped holes look just like the ones in my Scottish tall case, along with the smooth drums
 

Accural

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That is very interesting, would you happen to have a picture of those "football" apertures from the Scottish tall clock to share?
 

novicetimekeeper

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If you could take photographs of the movement from the back (and the front if you take the dial off) then we may get to see the quality of the castings which may help. The casting on the bob and the weight would suggest a less industrialised supply chain with ready access to metals which I believe is a marker of American clocks at the time.

I too will be interested to see the Scottish one, I have not seen that shape of side light over here.
 
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Accural

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I have a few more pictures close up, anyone have a thought on a take a chance, research later, no brainer, pass it along if the wife is mad, price to pay for a treasure like this? The pass it along market here in the North east American clock market seems week as compared to 40 years back at least for this type of clock. Is 2-3 k sticker price an easy out if need be? Screen Shot 2020-12-06 at 9.34.23 AM.png Screen Shot 2020-12-06 at 9.35.05 AM.png
 

Jim DuBois

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Sadly, in many markets, $2-3K approaches full boat retail these days. Do a sort on Skinners clock sales for the last few years to gain a better insight as to prices being paid for unsigned but very nice American tall clocks. It is appalling IMO. But still informative. I think you will find many under $3K
 
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jmclaugh

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Nice clock. Can't speak to US ones but British painted dial longcases usually didn't have falseplates until about 1790, thereafter they usually did until about 1840. Based on English dials this one is from the first period 1770-1800. It is thought that American made longcases with English dials frequently bear no name of the clockmaker as they were imported by wholesalers so the name was unknown when they were supplied.
 
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Accural

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Sadly, in many markets, $2-3K approaches full boat retail these days. Do a sort on Skinners clock sales for the last few years to gain a better insight as to prices being paid for unsigned but very nice American tall clocks. It is appalling IMO. But still informative. I think you will find many under $3K
Thanks Jim for your thoughts, I tend to agree with that value assessment, with my research, Ro Smitt / Horan, local ad's, 38 years of horology interests and discoveries, etc. Perhaps a great time for young folks to form an interest, I wish these rare Americain treasures were this close to obtainable when I was a 15 years aged, although I suppose I should have made a small pile of Howard astros somewhere at 1987 prices!.
 

Jim DuBois

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yeah, I have been at this for about 50 years. I remember a fellow in rather a rural Indiana, who, circa 1970-1975, had perhaps 100 or more Howards laying under a tarp in his carport. He was nearly giving them away to people he liked, but he didn't like very many people including me. I saw enough to know by today's standards there were a fair number of decent timekeepers. I think they all came out of Penn railway depots but I have never been able to confirm that. Our Penn depot had a WC Ball version of a Seth Thomas #2 back in the day.
 

Accural

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That is a great memory Jim, my wife made me clear out our car port 8 years ago.
 

Accural

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NO, still on the verge, no pun intended. With so much low lying fruit these days, pretty hard to decide. I suppose I had almost half the fun already, the search and discovery.
 

BrendanD

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if I can figure out how to post a picture again, I've been trying to post aanother pic of the Sligh I have to a different post and I'm not having any success
 

novicetimekeeper

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The pointed oval shape on this second clock appears to be in solid wood not veneered. My only mahogany cased longcase is part veneer part solid, I believe because mahogany veneers were difficult to cut in the 18th century. In the 19th century when this clock was made I'm surprised they used so much solid mahogany but you do see it in dial clock back boxes.
 

Accural

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Well, there it is, the conundrum moment. Evidence for smooth barrels and mandorla shaped apertures in a Scottish origin clock. Would be interesting to research the mandorla shape in Scotland and its historical applications, that is, if you believe it a good starting point for that unusual light window shape as I do. Any one think of another muse for that unusual light window shape aside from the NFL? I am going to dig around the internet some more.
 

Ralph

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I bet the Scottish clock has iron weights, an iron rod and cast iron bob .

Ralph
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novicetimekeeper

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I bet the Scottish clock has iron weights, an iron rod and cast iron bob .

Ralph
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Judging by the hands it is early Victorian, so you would expect cast iron weights unless it was a fancy display type but I would think you are right.
 

Jim DuBois

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Well, you received some suggestions on another thread on FaceBook yesterday from a very knowledgeable clock expert, author, dealer, and all-around good guy that I think you can bank on. He suggested it to be American, comments it's movement to be very much like a number signed by a famous family of Boston area makers, and the case to be American also, but likely outside of Boston. I wouldn't waste any gray matter on pursuing any Scottish lengths to this clock. There are none suggesting anything more likely than American from the clues we have already on hand.

Most of what can be seen and compared to other known examples of these movements and case style and construction would place it 15-20-30 years earlier than victorian using the following definition of that period "the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901"
 

BrendanD

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I bet the Scottish clock has iron weights, an iron rod and cast iron bob .

Ralph
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It does have iron weights. The pendulum was brass covered and very crude looking and the rod was all bent so I bought new from timesavers and purchased the iron Bob that's in it now
 

BrendanD

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Judging by the hands it is early Victorian, so you would expect cast iron weights unless it was a fancy display type but I would think you are right.
The hands I bought from timesavers it had I hand that had a weight soldered to it opposite of the pointer. Maybe this thing isn't all original I don't know. When I bought it I was told it was from 1793. I'm not sure Alex Mitchell was born yet then
 

Accural

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Thanks Jim, and everyone else for various thoughts and conformations on the strike recoil design (including the facebook fellow) I am convinced!

I am curious as to the influence of the side lights though, perhaps I will mention this on the facebook feed.
 

Ralph

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I meant to mention I’ve only seen that feature, the coiled hammer spring on Anerican tallcase clocks. Clocks by good makers.

Ralph
 

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