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Restoration of antique Maltese Clock

Carlo

Registered User
May 30, 2017
7
0
1
Malta, Europe
Country
A very old family friend has asked (so I cannot really get out of it) to have an antique, hand made, Maltese Clock movement restored to full working order. The case and artwork have been done by an art restorer and looks a treat, now it is to the movement ...

The clock dates back to the 1700's and has suffered over time. The metalwork does not seem to have suffered much other than a dunking in some type of oil - I say this because of the green coloring that looks like old dried up pivot oil.

A photo is attached.

Any tips, pointers, etc. are most welcome.

Also, can any of you recommend any books / texts on the restoration of such clocks.

Thanks in anticipation.

Carlo
Malta. 309424.jpg
 

Chris Radano

Registered User
Feb 18, 2004
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Pennsylvania
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Hello Carlo, and welcome.
A rare clock, especially here in the USA. I am the only person I know of that has a Maltese mural clock.

So, I am especially happy you posted the movement here. Thank you! My clock had it's movement replaced by an English single fusee movement. To find a picture of an original Maltese movement is a rarity. The movement is unusual. Looks like you have to open the door for back winding, weights up the side, "upside down" 30 hour time and strike. Looks difficult to wind.

That said, if you are unable to clean your movement, I'm sure you could post the movement to a clock maker to perform a service, at least to clean and oil. Do you have the weights? There are replacement weights available if not.

I'm sure other people here will respond with help. Good luck. Here is my clock (without hands): 300580.jpg 300581.jpg
 

Carlo

Registered User
May 30, 2017
7
0
1
Malta, Europe
Country
Hello Chris,

Thanks for your post. I must say that I was surprised to find that Maltese clocks have made it to the USA. Yours is a very fine example.

The Maltese clock, traditionally does not wind from the front as it would mean drilling holes in the art work on the front. Some of the clocks can be veritable works of art and gilding. You can see some examples here: http://www.patrimonju.org/Gallery.aspx?id=118915

More info on the gilding here: https://artofgilding.wordpress.com/malteseclock/

Though there are still a number of skilled gilders still working, producing some real masterpieces, that also command silly prices, there is no one producing movements. The trend is that people would spend some € 5,000 (a bit more than $ 5,000) on the carcass, artwork and gilding and then put in a cheap Chinese quartz movement with the pendulum action and electronic chime - sacrilegious.

I have one of these reproduction clocks at home with a Hermle movement with chime that has been modified to have the winders at the back. It is quite an operation and looks somewhat unnatural as the winding direction is then anti-clockwise. At least it is a mechanical movement with a brass bell chiming.

Finding Maltese clocks with the original movements is a rarity. Over time many have had the movements taken out and replaced with modern mainspring wound ones. I have another photo of one that I am attaching for you. The original ones were all weight driven. In fact the Maltese expression for winding a clock translates into 'give it rope'. There was a renowned Maltese clock maker, Michelin Saipan, that was born in the village where I live in 1826 and his clocks can be found in museums.

I am researching these original movements as I intend to set up as an artisanal clock maker and restorer being at a point in life where I want to have a career change.

309443.jpg Thanks again for the information on your clock and post.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

NAWCC Member
Nov 26, 2009
5,671
1,068
113
Country
Hello Chris,

Thanks for your post. I must say that I was surprised to find that Maltese clocks have made it to the USA. Yours is a very fine example.

The Maltese clock, traditionally does not wind from the front as it would mean drilling holes in the art work on the front. Some of the clocks can be veritable works of art and gilding. You can see some examples here: http://www.patrimonju.org/Gallery.aspx?id=118915

More info on the gilding here: https://artofgilding.wordpress.com/malteseclock/

Though there are still a number of skilled gilders still working, producing some real masterpieces, that also command silly prices, there is no one producing movements. The trend is that people would spend some € 5,000 (a bit more than $ 5,000) on the carcass, artwork and gilding and then put in a cheap Chinese quartz movement with the pendulum action and electronic chime - sacrilegious.

I have one of these reproduction clocks at home with a Hermle movement with chime that has been modified to have the winders at the back. It is quite an operation and looks somewhat unnatural as the winding direction is then anti-clockwise. At least it is a mechanical movement with a brass bell chiming.

Finding Maltese clocks with the original movements is a rarity. Over time many have had the movements taken out and replaced with modern mainspring wound ones. I have another photo of one that I am attaching for you. The original ones were all weight driven. In fact the Maltese expression for winding a clock translates into 'give it rope'. There was a renowned Maltese clock maker, Michelin Saipan, that was born in the village where I live in 1826 and his clocks can be found in museums.

I am researching these original movements as I intend to set up as an artisanal clock maker and restorer being at a point in life where I want to have a career change.

Thanks again for the information on your clock and post.
Wonderful clocks!!

As someone who is probably a bit too focused on one aspect of horology (American), this was a much appreciated eye opener.

RM
 
Last edited by a moderator:

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
Thanks Chris and Carlo - OK, now I am really inspired.
I just yesterday retrieved my mural-Maltese from a 3-month Case-Restoration by local Art-Restoration...
The vertical crack down the middle may not be repairable though, but part of the original character (LOL).
The original movement is "intact". I will have to see if anyone locally here (Arizona) can help.
Tom Wolf
Scottsdale, Az

Maltese-1.jpg Maltese-2.jpg Maltese-3.jpg
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
Hello Carlo, and welcome.
A rare clock, especially here in the USA. I am the only person I know of that has a Maltese mural clock.

So, I am especially happy you posted the movement here. Thank you! My clock had it's movement replaced by an English single fusee movement. To find a picture of an original Maltese movement is a rarity. The movement is unusual. Looks like you have to open the door for back winding, weights up the side, "upside down" 30 hour time and strike. Looks difficult to wind.

That said, if you are unable to clean your movement, I'm sure you could post the movement to a clock maker to perform a service, at least to clean and oil. Do you have the weights? There are replacement weights available if not.

I'm sure other people here will respond with help. Good luck. Here is my clock (without hands): View attachment 457761 View attachment 457762
Chris - I just posted my Maltese saga - where might I find weights for the restoration?
Thanks for any input.
Tom Wolf
Arizona
 

Chris Radano

Registered User
Feb 18, 2004
3,819
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63
Pennsylvania
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Tom, Congratulations on your beautiful clock!
My clock's movement was replaced by a single fusee pendulum timepiece in the late 1890s-turn of the 20th c. It appears the original pendulum bob was modified for use, so the marriage substituted an 8 day movement for the original 30 hour.
I know the clock I have was owned by Francis Grenfell, 1st Baron Grenfell - the Governor of Malta 1899-1903, and a known collector of antiquities. Inside of the clock is a label bearing his initials.
Sorry I can't help with the weights.
Maybe Carlo is still around. Thank you for posting your clock.
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
Chris, your Maltese is very unique with the fusee and 8-day movement. I wonder if there is a practical way to modify mine from 30-hr to 8-day... I end up usually only winding my 8-day or 30-day clocks (lazy). I notice in the internet searches that some of these Maltese clocks have been converted to "quartz" movements - sort of loses the value and collectability though.
I hope I can at least find weights for mine.

Thanks for your responses.
Tom
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
I am researching these original movements as I intend to set up as an artisanal clock maker and restorer being at a point in life where I want to have a career change.
Carlo - Wondering if you have had any luck with your Maltese Restoration.
Where are you finding the weights for yours? I also need weights and not sure on size or weight for chime and time side. Let me know what you find.
Thanks.

Tom W.
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
Carlo - Wondering if you have had any luck with your Maltese Restoration.
Where are you finding the weights for yours? I also need weights and not sure on size or weight for chime and time side. Let me know what you find.
Thanks.

Tom W.
Still no luck finding WHICH weights to use in my Maltese Clock, I did find a source for rectangular weights, and I am willing to "experiment". I would appreciate any advice or experience on a couple of issues on - "how to String the weights": Here are photos of the original wooden pulleys...

1. Any ideas on the proper weight size to use? My best guess is 3 to 5 lbs. for both Time & Chime on this 36-hour movement..
2. Should an extra pulley be used below to suspend the weight and/or to add extra "Compounding" of winding leverage?
3. Wonder if all extra string should be wound up onto the smaller secondary wooden wheel extending from the large wheel of the wooden pulley - see photos?

Ideas appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Tom Wolf

1-83FA55EB-DF08-414F-8DA2-460EDFCDA573_1_105_c.jpeg 4-D4D125D1-6357-4999-A79D-3D3F9C2133F2_1_105_c.jpeg 3-E59C1F24-0029-4587-B794-0D0041F84C95_1_105_c.jpeg 2-3854C2E6-1A43-4CA1-A452-1E5F10E1F31C_1_105_c.jpeg
 

Burkhard Rasch

NAWCC Member
Jun 1, 2007
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I´m no expert at all, especially not on these "rare birds" , but maybe one could start with a "try-and error-game":
If I were the owner of this beauty I´d start to find out the minimum weight that runs the clock reliably starting as suggested with 3-4lbs. If the clock runs perhaps ad 10-20% as an increased safety factor.
Given that the mvmt. is 30hour I´d determine the drop of that weight in time, it must be in the confinement of the case. Incorporating a pulley would double the running time but call for a double weight. Are there any marks in the case indicating the weights rubbing on the front or back panel?
just a thought...
Burkhard
 

wolfscreek1

NAWCC Member
May 16, 2019
54
4
8
Scottsdale, Arizona
Country
Region
I´m no expert at all, especially not on these "rare birds" , but maybe one could start with a "try-and error-game":
If I were the owner of this beauty I´d start to find out the minimum weight that runs the clock reliably starting as suggested with 3-4lbs. If the clock runs perhaps ad 10-20% as an increased safety factor.
Given that the mvmt. is 30hour I´d determine the drop of that weight in time, it must be in the confinement of the case. Incorporating a pulley would double the running time but call for a double weight. Are there any marks in the case indicating the weights rubbing on the front or back panel?
just a thought...
Burkhard
Thanks for your thoughts - found two "antique" 3 1/2 lb weights on e-bay for $10 (and $25 shipping) and strung them on the wooden pulleys. Unfortunately, the clock is very tricky to hang level on wall, and eventually discovered the movement needs work too... A real challenge to get the movement working as the Maltese has double doors to keep open while experimenting...
Tom W.
 

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