Seeking Identity of Tall Case Clockmaker

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by GD Gehr, Aug 14, 2019 at 4:25 PM.

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  1. GD Gehr

    GD Gehr Registered User

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    I have a tall case clock that has been in our family for at least 5 generations. I am seeking to learn as much as I can about it, especially who made it. My family has always lived in Lancaster Co, PA and I am confident it was made there. There is some writing inside the case but it is extremely worn and hard to read. A date of 1823 clearly is written inside, along with at least one name - "John". there is more but I cannot read it. The clock is a 30 hour movement with one chain and weight. It has only the hour hand and minute hand, plus a date wheel. It chimes hourly. I am attaching some photos. If anyone can identify anything about this clock I would greatly appreciate it.

    Bonnet & Dial.jpg Clock - Full View.jpg Tall Case Clock - dial up close.jpg Tall Case Clock - inside inscription.jpg Tall Case clockworks 4.jpg Tall Case clockworks 5.jpg Tall Case clockworks 3.jpg Tall Case Clockworks 2.jpg Tall Case Clockworks 1.jpg
     
  2. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Welcome to the board.

    Unsigned Pennsylvania tall case clocks can be difficult to identify, but we have folks here who may be able to provide you with the information you request.

    I would "bump" this thread every few days to ensure that those who can assist you will see the thread.

    Regards.
     
  3. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

    Mar 22, 2009
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    is there a signature on the back of the dial that I can see? most likely the dial painter.

    I'm no expert on American clocks but I did find the pillars and collets most unusual and maybe some of our American colleagues may be able to help?

    Cheers
    Dean
     
  4. FDelGreco

    FDelGreco Registered User
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    A black light (UV) may allow you to read the rest of the information written in the case.

    Frank
     
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  5. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    It wouldn't surprise me if the dial was painted in UK and exported to the US. The style was very common in the UK around 1800.
     
  6. GD Gehr

    GD Gehr Registered User

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    Thank you for your comments. I need to try the black light on the back panel. That's a great idea. I am attaching another photo of the back of the dial. There is an obvious "G" painted on the back. However when I first looked at it I failed to notice another handwritten note above the G. It appears to read either "W D 7-69" or possibly "W/O 7-69". If the second one is accurate I thought it might be Wilson & Osborne from England. Also, on the back of the calendar dial is cut the words "Wilson-Birm". I take this to be James Wilson of Birmingham. Then again, I really do not know.

    Tall Case Clock - Back of Dial closup.jpg
     
  7. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #7 Jim DuBois, Aug 16, 2019 at 11:41 AM
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019 at 12:20 PM
    Well, as you think and as has been suggested above your clock is most likely completely of Penn construction other than the dial being a fairly typical English import. And Lancaster PA would be a good place to have bought the clock back in the 1st quarter or very early 2nd quarter19th century. The movement I think is of Penn origin. I see two attributes that might tie it to a Penn maker, but I have not yet found that party. Those two attributes are the rather nonconventional columns supporting the plates and the second attribute is there appears to only be 3 columns where there are normally 4. John Davis, Christian Eby, Jacob Eby, and George Fisher used similar columns in their clocks, but none of their examples I have photos of use only 3 columns.

    I should also note the hands on your clock are later and its overall look would be greatly improved by a proper set. It is a nice clock and you have every right to enjoy and honor it as a family piece from Penn.
     
  8. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I agree that the dial is English. I have an English longcase clock with a very similar dial, signed Thomas Holmes, Cheadle. He worked around 1780. I think the hands of your clock are much later replacements. These Maltese Cross hands were used by American clockmakers around 1880.

    Uhralt
     
  9. GD Gehr

    GD Gehr Registered User

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    Thank you so much for these insights. I never gave a thought to the hands. However, I did notice as I was looking at other clocks from the early 19th Century that I did not see any others with the Maltese style. I wonder why they would have been replaced? I doubt I will ever learn why but it does give me something more to try to research. Thanks again.
    -gdg
     
  10. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Maybe one of the original hands broke and someone replaced both so that hour hand and minute hand would match. Or, somebody just wanted a more "modern" look.

    Uhralt
     
  11. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    This dial was painted by James Wilson of Birmingham. As you can see its quite similar which is why i originally thought it was English.



    Dial Simpson.JPG
     
  12. GD Gehr

    GD Gehr Registered User

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    Many Thanks. Regarding the three columns I did find an article on this web site that identified a clock with three columns as the product of Jacob Gorgas, Jr of Ephrata PA. The same article noted that George Hoff (Lancaster PA) also made one clock with three columns. In the case of the Gorgas clock, however, the columns were quite different, being square and made of iron. Very interesting.
     

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