Possible to tell originality of case, movement, and dial?

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by jboger, Sep 9, 2019.

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  1. jboger

    jboger Registered User

    Jan 7, 2019
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    Of course Terry Sr is famous for mass production of clocks that used interchangeable parts. Shortly after the first clock was sold I suspect people started swapping out movements and wheels, a practice I also suspect has continued to this day. The interchangeability of parts allows this to happen.

    I think it's true, however, that most people who collect and admire these wood works clocks would prefer that their clocks be completely original. And by that I mean the case, movement, and dial all left the factory together way back when and have stayed together all this time. I know that not to be the case for at least one clock that I bought. But I'm pretty certain that a Terry (Jr) clock with a lithographed dials is completely original including the hands (the surface, however, is a lost cause).

    So now for the question: These wood movements were pinned in place from the sides, usually three, sometimes four pins. If all holes line up, and there are no extra holes, such that the movement is easily pinned into the case--then is this an indication that the movement is original to the case? I could imagine that the positions of the holes could be set from a common template used from movement to movement. This could make the movements completely interchangeable from case to case, pin to pin. But I have simply not handled enough of these clocks to answer my own question.

    I could ask the same question of the dial. Some of the wood dials are pinned in place, from below, with two pins. If the pin holes line up properly, is this also an indication that the dial is original to the case?

    John
     
  2. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Jun 14, 2008
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    My experience is as follows; A wide range of woodworks movements/cases interchange from case to case and movement to movement. Other than movements like Torrington's, or groaners, or 8-day movements, or very early ST and or Terry P&S strap movements, or some of the very early Ives woodworks, many movements have very similar dimensions and I think that at least 75% of those more common movements do interchange. Dials are also more than a bit interchangeable. Winding arbors do differ slightly from movement to movement from different makers, but there is a lot of commonalities.

    The best bet on originality of any clock is to firstly look for any anomalies. Things like wear in the wrong places, or a very early style movement in a later case, or an ST movement in a Terry case, or extra holes in the cases, or sloppy fits of various parts. One of the best checks is to look for other examples of whatever you are evaluating. How do other clocks of the same genre compare? Look up the details found in the movement on the Snowden Taylor Excel Checklist to determine where a number of experts think the movements were used. A pillar and scroll style dial in a bronze looking glass clock? Should be a warning to proceed cautiously. Could be right, but maybe not.

    "Completely original" is pretty much impossible to prove after 200+/- years of use and abuse and repairs. Holes in the rails will match on the majority of these more common movements, as will pinholes in rails and dial straps. Coupled with all the stuff mentioned above, rail holes and dial mountings are useful points of comparisons but certainly are not definitive.
     
  3. jboger

    jboger Registered User

    Jan 7, 2019
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    Thanks, Jim, your response was on point. Just to round things out, I specifically did not ask about the wheels between the plates. There I have certainly seen anomalies, for example, all the wheels match in color but one. Or one wheel has different turnings from the others. And I've seen both winding wheels (time and strike) have identical arbors, but the great wheels have differently shaped teeth. And so on. For me, I'm reasonably satisfied if I have reason to believe (not proof) that the case, dial, plates, and most of the wheels started out together. As for hands, I don't expect them to be original. If I think they are, that's a definite plus, but I don't expect it.

    As for the Terry with the lithographed dial I wrote "pretty certain" it's "completely original." Save for the surface, I think that's correct. But there are no guarantees. Nonetheless, your point is well taken.
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    Here's that Terry with a lithographed dial:

    Terry Jr Pillar and Splat clock: how to re-ebonize columns?

    A rarity. Worth including here. See also the links provided in that posting, too.

    RM
     

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