Scottish Longcase

Burkhard Rasch

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This clock was offered to me,I need help in making up my mind .What can the experts tell me?What intrigues me is the unusual form of flywheel to the striking train and the maintaining-power to the going train.The clock is running and striking,engraved brass dial signed: David Brando (??) Edingburgh,no0 false plate behind the dial,case in middle-brown oak.Not the best quality pics,I admit,but the seller was in a hurry.Anyway:please Your opinions! TIA
Burkhard
 

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Ralph

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I'd be suspicious of the fly. The case style does not seem congruent with the movement. Might just be choice. Check the seatboard holes and see if they match up with the case.

As I mentioned in another post, the deadbeat escapement and maintaining power, conventional dial, makes it a domestic regulator.

Ralph
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks,Ralph,for Your input so far.I hope others will share their knowledge because I don´t know anything about english/scottish clocks.A date? a period? comments on the dial,case,mvmt? It is cheap,even cheaper than the tag suggests,so I´m realy in temptation. Please!
Burkhard
 

gmorse

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Hi Burkhard,

The case has been stripped at some time, as it wouldn't have been that colour originally. Nice matching barley-twist columns. Can't really see whether the seatboard has been changed, but the dial matches the opening in the hood door. It would perhaps have been silvered originally. Are there marks on the backboard where the pendulum has rubbed, and do they match where the bob is now? Same for the weights. That fly was definitely added much later!

Nice to have Harrison's maintaining power.

Really guessing at the date, but I'd say very late 18th or early 19th century, although the case looks rather earlier; there were a couple of Brands in Edinburgh in the 18th century, but I can't find a Brando. I know it's hard to decipher this old script sometimes! Edinburgh was relatively fashionable at the time, with a very lively intellectual culture.

Regards,

Graham
 

jmclaugh

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I can't find a David Brando, Brand or Brands listed in my sources so that's no help. Afaik brass dial clocks didn't have falseplates and Edinburgh tastes in longcase clocks closely followed those in London so a square dial after about 1720 would be pretty unusual.

I might be wrong but from the photos the minute band looks to be rather too close to the four edges and it is partly obscured by the hood door giving it a squashed in look. I agree with Graham the dial would most likely have originally been silvered. It is however it is a nice early movement albeit it with that strange contraption. All in all a bit of an odd one.
 

gmorse

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Hi,

It occurs to me to wonder whether a decent 8-day clock like this would originally have been put in what looks like a country-made oak case rather than the more fashionable, (and expensive), mahogany?

Regards,

Graham
 
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Burkhard Rasch

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thanks for Your advice!I had another read of the verry ornate signature and it could be David Mc Donald.Does this ring a bell in someone here?TIA
Burkhard
 

harold bain

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Burkhard, Baillie's lists a David MacDonald in Edinburgh, 1822-35. No other information from this source.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Harold,thanks a lot!That would IMO fit in the time range of the mvmt.far better than the suggested 1720.Is it usual to find maintaining power on an average clock of that period?And what´s about the case,could it be beginning 19th cent.?
The clock is far (300km) away,so it´s a question wether to take the ride or not!
Burkhard
 

harold bain

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Well, I've never run into maintaining power on a movement like this one, Burkhard, so it's unusual to say the least. Other than that and the fan, it looks much like a typical British 8 day movement, from how much of it is visible in your pictures. The twisted columns are definately not a common feature. As mentioned the case doesn't look it's age and likely has been stripped and refinished.
 
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jmclaugh

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That would IMO fit in the time range of the mvmt.far better than the suggested 1720.Is it usual to find maintaining power on an average clock of that period?
Burkhard
Burkhard, out of interest why do you think the movement fits with being early 19th C other than that links to your view the signature on the dial is a maker (David McDonald) of that period? By this time longcase clocks with brass dial were way out of fashion even in the provinces as were square dials.

It is unusual to find maintaining power on British longcase clock movements but they were made with that feature.
 

gmorse

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Hi Burkhard,

I know some fine early longcases used bolt and shutter maintaining power, and Harrison invented his system sometime in the 1720s, but I don't know how widespread it became, and more importantly, how soon others adopted it.

Regards,

Graham
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Jonathan and Graham,as said I know allmost nothing about English/Scottish longcase clocks,but I did know that Harrison invented his maintaining power in the first half of 18th century.I recognize the layout of this one,it looks like in tower clocks of second half of 19th century that I´ve seen.So I guessed that an invention like m.p. would not spread that fast,both from precision clocks to more common longcases and geographicaly from London to Edingburgh.The Seller suggested first half of 19th century,too,allthough I admit that the top of the case resembles examples from the end of 17th and beginning of 18th.cent. I´ve made no decision yet,but if I do I´ll let You know!Thanks for all advice!
Burkhard
 

harold bain

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To go along with maintaining power, I would expect to see a deadbeat escapement. This one appears to be a recoil, as most British tall clocks are, in my experience. I've never run into maintaining power on a recoil escapement. But I know I haven't seen everything yet:whistle:
 

Burkhard Rasch

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OK,I did it again,bought this clock.Mvmt.has a couple of minor issues,but that later.The lower part of the case obviously was "eaten away" by moisture and vermins .Long time ago the then-owner chosed to ad a section to the base which is glued to the original lower part of the case as seen in the actual pics.Now my question is:can You provide pics of how the original case would have looked like.I´m not too bad in woodworking and would like to reverse the somewhat disproportioned addition and to fit the case with matching feet.TIA for any help!
Burkhard
 

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Thyme

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OK,I did it again,bought this clock.Mvmt.has a couple of minor issues,but that later.The lower part of the case obviously was "eaten away" by moisture and vermins .Long time ago the then-owner chosed to ad a section to the base which is glued to the original lower part of the case as seen in the actual pics.Now my question is:can You provide pics of how the original case would have looked like.I´m not too bad in woodworking and would like to reverse the somewhat disproportioned addition and to fit the case with matching feet.TIA for any help!
Burkhard
I'm viewing and apparently entering this topic late, but...

As you said yourself, you "did it again". When buying anything, IMHO it's always best to have a very critical eye and to trust your first impressions. So now your impressions of this purchase are different than before you bought it.

My first impressions of this were: it's obviously aged dial, and an old movement - but a new looking (or relatively newer or a stripped case). After having purchased it, you now know that this case has been compromised in some significant way (meaning that which you bought is not all original.) Now, after having bought it, you hasten to rectify what you did not realize before buying it.

Too many things about this clock are 'eyebrow raisers'. At best it is an incomplete attempt at restoration. At worst it is a bad marriage of some old mechanical components to an adulterated case, and/or one of a later period.

I've made a few similar errors in buying, involving details that could not be discerned before buying. In collecting, intuition portends that which is less than genuine. We're all liable to make mistakes. We might be able to improve the state of the object and/or resell it to a buyer who might be called the "greater fool".
At best, we can learn something valuable from our mistakes. ;)

Since you appreciate Latin: "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu." o:)
 
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harold bain

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I'm viewing and apparently entering this topic late, but...

As you said yourself, you "did it again". When buying anything, IMHO it's always best to have a very critical eye and to trust your first impressions. So now your impressions of this purchase are different than before you bought it.

My first impressions of this were: it's obviously aged dial, and an old movement - but a new looking (or relatively newer or a stripped case). After having purchased it, you now know that this case has been compromised in some significant way (meaning that which you bought is not all original.) Now, after having bought it, you hasten to rectify what you did not realize before buying it.

Too many things about this clock are 'eyebrow raisers'. At best it is an incomplete attempt at restoration. At worst it is a bad marriage of some old mechanical components to an adulterated case, and/or one of a later period.

I've made a few similar errors in buying, involving details that could not be discerned before buying. In collecting, intuition portends that which is less than genuine. We're all liable to make mistakes. We might be able to improve the state of the object and/or resell it to a buyer who might be called the "greater fool".
At best, we can learn something valuable from our mistakes. ;)

Since you appreciate Latin: "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu." o:)
Not sure how this helps, Thyme:?|. Whatever makes you think Burkhard would want to pass his "mistake" on to a "greater fool", or that he even thinks he's made a mistake. Your inner grinch is showingYoda
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Burkhard, here's a few somewhat similar cases you might be able to get some ideas from. I'm sure your project will turn out to be a clock to be proud of.
 

Thyme

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Not sure how this helps, Thyme:?|.
They are simply my observations and personal opinions, Harold.

Whatever makes you think Burkhard would want to pass his "mistake" on to a "greater fool", or that he even thinks he's made a mistake. Your inner grinch is showingYoda
Burkhard admitted it was not quite what he expected. There are deficiencies and/or irregularities apparent, upon which others have commented. (Review the entire thread. I'm not the only respondent who noticed irregularities.) Serious collectors might consider that to be a mistake. I was admitting my own experiences and saying I regard them as mistakes. Others are free to form their own opinions of whether they are or not. (Again, I am voicing my own opinion, which should be allowed.)

I am not insinuating that Burkhard would pass anything on to a 'greater fool' - however, undeniably, any market for collectibles and antiques has many such items, that are less than original to whatever degree, to be resold to those who are less savvy. Caveat emptor.

As for my "inner grinch" showing - that's your personal opinion of me: it's a subjective, uncomplimentary remark.
 

DeanT

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Its very common for the base on longcase clocks to have rotted and to be subsequently replaced. I do agree it looks a little out of proportion so I would definitely find a similar clock you like and make the bottom of the case on yours. If possible I would look for a Scottish clock of the similar vintage on which to copy for the restored base. IMO if you are to restore the clock you should aim to get as close to the original design as possible.

My personal preference is I don't like the stripped look of the case and I would be consider removing the existing coating and staining the wood to provide a deeper colour. Note this is my personal preference and you might prefer to leave it in the current state. People in the case restoration section of the BB might be able to help with the techniques to achieve this result if you decide to proceed in this direction. I am sure there are some experts would would have an opinion on how to treat the surface of the case.

Can't say for sure what is original or replacements from the photos but I can say it will look nice when finished and is definitely worth restoring properly. Which from your questions so far seems like this is your intention. Good luck with the restoration.

Cheers and merry xmas,
Dean
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thyme ,Harold and Dean,thanks for Your comments so far.As far as I can see the basic section is the only thing substantialy altered on this clock,and as far as I know there is a reasonable explanation for this.Dial and hood have a good match as do have the hands and dial.So I´m still pleased with what I´ve got and I´m quiet optimisticly convinced that most of the parts started life together.In my understanding You cannot expect an item of everyday use to be passed through centuries in a "like new" condition.Repairs are part of the history of the piece and I do respect them as long as they are done according to the standards of good workmanship of the time.I have a collection for me,not an educational museum for others.I think I´ll chose a solution analog pic 2 or 3 of Harold´s proposals,cutting off the maior part of the later lengthened section of the base and making low "feet":The lenth of the unalteren backboard with its frazzled lower edge will give me an idea of how long the clock was originaly.Thanks again!
Burkhard
 

Burkhard Rasch

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took measurements and reckoned proportions and made kind of template:What do You think,maybe even a bit lower?Any comments wellcome.To Dean:re-staining certainly is an option,allthough not as dark as these often are.Maybe medium brown oak stain after washing off the now aplied finish.
Burkhard
 

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Thyme

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It's intriguing. Can we see photos of the dial (with no glass over it), the pendulum and the interior of the case with the door open?
 

Thyme

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This David MacDonald of Edinburgh might be your man (click here).

Scroll thorough the document to find:
Re: 24 Mar. 1795
(marriage of) Helen; (to) David Macdonald, wright 15 Sept. 1776

Nothing else found about him. In those times a 'wright' was a tradesman capable of working in wood or metal.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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pics of dial and case as requested.Methinks that dial and hands do match nicely and the hour hand has two small pins that mate with respective holes on its seat on the hour pipe.
The "cheeks" the seat board sits on have to be replaced because they were too wurmy,they´re made of pine as is the backboard.I´ve learned while restoring that case that it was made with a strong economic aspect:Backboard (pine) and front (oak) are made quiet strong and massive,the panels of the front frame ca.18mm thick ,same the back board.What looks to be a decorative lining on the edge of the "waist" is indeed the full thickness of the side panel,having the same consistance as strong card board and being ca.2.5mm thick.It is glued stumply to the front frame and backboard.The whole construction is strenthened by three horizontal "frames": one where the hood sits on,the second at the intersection between waist and bottom and the third at the location of the original bottom of the case.The result of this is a quiet firm case with a minimum input of the "noble" and more expensive oak wood,and it is surprisingly light.The thin side panels are prone to splitting,I plan to glue strips of oak veneer on the inside horizontaly to stabelize.What do You think?The pendulum is at the moment at my clocksmith´s.A long round rod,threaded at one end for the reguation nut,the suspension spring attached to the other hand.The bob : front brass,with traces of engraving similar to the corners of the dial,back tin ,heavy,obviously filled with lead.
Burkhard
 

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Burkhard Rasch

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besides prepairing our christmass meal,tidyind the hut and playing with the children I did some woodwork on that case : all glueblocks and the frames reglued,the side panels strengthened with additional veneer strips,new "cheeks"made and the side rails for the hood reattached and new feet formed.IMHO it looks good now,better proportioned.The next step will be a new surface.
Burkhard
 

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harold bain

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Looking good, Burkhard. The proportions look better without the extension on the bottom. Only purpose I can think of for the extra length is run time. You probably won't know til you run the clock, if you have enough drop for an 8 day run.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks,Harold,for the pics provided and the encouragement given!Maybe the original owner moved into a house with higher ceilings? :whistle: BTW I managed to get the original primitive locks working again and made purpose keys-allthough now not matching in style,that comes later.
 

Thyme

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Your additional photos support the liklihood that it is all original. It looks like it is. "A picture is worth a thousand words." :D

Thanks,Harold,for the pics provided and the encouragement given!Maybe the original owner moved into a house with higher ceilings? :whistle:
If the bottom of the case were cut down, it would mean the ceilings were lower. IMHO, it looks OK either way. Either way, with or without a base might be authentic.

However, the case was obviously stipped of its original finish. Of all the things that might require restoration, this is probably the easiest to rectify. What finish do you consider using for it? In earlier times before clocks such as this were factory produced, the finish might well have been a traditional type varnish.
 

Ralph

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Quite often these sat where the floor was mopped regularly, and wetting the bases, causing the bottoms to rot.

Ralph
 

DeanT

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Nice work Burkhard. The proportions of the case look so much better with your new base. Now its just a question of the finish on the case.....
 

Burkhard Rasch

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I´ll take the cut off pieces of the bottom to make test stainings and let You see before I start.Would like a medium brown,not too dark as they often were.
Burkhard
 

Burkhard Rasch

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did the test-staining on a surplus panel:left top:solvent-based oak medium brown,below:amonia-based light oak;top right:a socalled wax-staining medium brown and below an amonia-based dark brown.I know judging color from photos is allmost impossible,it depends on light,angle of perspective etc.I finaly took the first option which emphazises the grain of the wood making it a bit darker.
Now for the coating:linseed oil and bee`s wax,shellac,nitrocellulose silk mat or what?Please give me Your opinion,I tend to the first method.TIA
Burkhard
 

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Thyme

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Now for the coating:linseed oil and bee`s wax,shellac,nitrocellulose silk mat or what?Please give me Your opinion,I tend to the first method.TIA
Burkhard
Bear in mind that linseed oil takes forever to dry especially in the Northern countries that are colder and more humid. Wax is OK to put over a finish, but is not a finish in itself. Nitrocellulose (lacquer) was not in use when the clock was made. This is a hand made case, not a clock factory production. Shellac is a possibility, but not a certainty. I'd suggest a varnish, as that was probably what was used in those times.

For a comprehensive review of these materials, click here.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Good idea,that varnish stuff allthough in the beginning I didn´t know what You meant.Never heard of "varnish" When I translated it into German "Firnis" it rang a bell.My neighbour runs a shop dealing with "organic building",cork floors,natural wood parquet and wool damping etc.And since she´s my neighbour I called her on sunday.And indeed she had what I needed:A varnish of linseed oil,natural turpentene and resins.I added ca.15% rough shellac to it to strenthen it according to her advice and:voila You can see the nice deep color it gives to the stained wood and a silky glance.I´ll ad one or two coats more before I´ll wax.Enjoy,and thanks!
Burkhard
 

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Thyme

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Good idea,that varnish stuff allthough in the beginning I didn´t know what You meant.Never heard of "varnish" When I translated it into German "Firnis" it rang a bell.My neighbour runs a shop dealing with "organic building",cork floors,natural wood parquet and wool damping etc.And since she´s my neighbour I called her on sunday.And indeed she had what I needed:A varnish of linseed oil,natural turpentene and resins.I added ca.15% rough shellac to it to strenthen it according to her advice and:voila You can see the nice deep color it gives to the stained wood and a silky glance.I´ll ad one or two coats more before I´ll wax.Enjoy,and thanks!
Burkhard
That recipe that you quoted is the basic formula for oil varnish. Quality stringed instruments (violins) have used that finish for centuries. However, adding shellac is not part of the recipe. I don't know what effect that will have upon it. :confused:

Realize that you will need to rub it down between coats. The traditional material for doing this is to wet a cloth with water and add flour pumice and raw linseed oil to the cloth. Adding more oil slows the action, water accelerates it. Nowadays steel wool is usually used in varnishing; however the advantage to using the pumice rub is that it can be wiped away and it does not leave behind shards of steel, as with steel wool.

I have done a few pieces of furniture in my home this way. It's a lot of work doing rubbing by hand, but I'm sure it will look magnificent when finished. It already is looking good! :thumb:

I never bother with waxing. It will probably look so good that it won't need it.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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don´t have acces to flour pumice,and I´m not sure I know how to handle,so I took the OOO steel wool option.Did the second coat today.Maybe one more after drying 48hours,and then wax.I cannot wait my clocksmith go ahead with the mvmt.
Burkhard
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Finaly,after allmost half a year my clock is running:Mvmt. dismantled,cleaned,few bushings replaced,the surfaces of the anchor´s palets filed straight and polished,and a new stud made for the spring that pushes the rack foreward when released.It only strikes hours,not halfs,and still needs a bit of regulation. The maintaining power works beautifully,it´s realy a pleasure to hear the clock working continuously tic-toc when You wind it.Before-with a longcase without m.p. - I´ve never realised that the sound stops when the weight is pulled upwards.And Harold:Yes,it´s a recoil as expected.Thanks to all who contributed,and thanks to my clocksmith!
Burkhard
 

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svenedin

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Well done. Very good job. I particularly like the case. Was there a consensus on whether the dial was meant to be bare brass or silvered?

I have a clock that had a bare brass dial but I re-silvered it and to my mind it looks so much better. The design of my dial is very different but you get the idea (incidentally the hands on my clock are wrong, they should be blued steel, these look like 19th century replacements). Sorry my pictures are awful. It isn't difficult to re-silver and it is tremendous fun. Kits are available from Meadows and Passmore amongst others. Notice that the chapter ring on my clock is silvered and the minute track has black wax in it as well as the numerals. If your minute track was picked out in black wax against a silver background it would look fantastic. The makers name on my clock (Thomas Lister, Halifax) is not filled with wax because that bit of the dial is still brass but the boss has Tempus Fugit picked out in wax. I guess it all depends on how your clock was meant to look.

IMG_0328.jpg IMG_0329.jpg Lister Dial.jpg
 
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Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks for all encouragements! Re: silvering the dial: I´ve thought about it because the "readability" is not as good as could be,and the steel hands certainly would give a better contrast on a silvered dial.And-lucky as I am- I do have a galvano shop around who does such things for not too much money.So silvering realy is an option if the experts told me that the dial originaly was silvered.When cleaning I found no traces at all,but that doesn´t mean anything,because the original silvering coud have been polished away completely after it became tarnished.The dial is verry thick:3.2mm.
So please experts: give Your comments,at best accompanied by pics.TIA
Burkhard
 

svenedin

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Burkhard, the silvering process for old dials does not involve electroplating as that technique was not invented back then. I'm sure the process if covered here on the forum somewhere. Briefly, a type of wax called engraver's wax (very similar to sealing wax used on letters) is melted into the engraved parts of the dial. Then the dial is cleaned up so that any excess wax is removed and wax only remains in the engraved bits of the dial. Next a silver salt is applied to the dial and rubbed in. The salt is a powder which is rubbed on the dial with a damp cloth. Firm pressure is required. Magically, in front of your eyes, silver starts to appear on the brass. When the silver is thick enough the dial is washed and another "fixing" salt is applied. Finally the dial is lacquered to prevent the silver from going black over time. I did my dial in the kitchen and I am very pleased with the result. The kits are not hugely expensive, about £40.
 

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