Small, Early? Bakelite

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by ScotSun, Jan 7, 2018.

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  1. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

    Nov 28, 2017
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    I found this little guy sitting lonely on a back shelf of one of those antique malls that are so cluttered with rubbish that you don't know where to look. I normally glance over smaller clocks but something made me pick this one up. Maybe it was the exposed mainspring movement, but for $8, I thought it would be a nice little thing to learn more on.

    It appears to have a watch spring movement, the mainspring is broken and the bakelite case is also cracked. There are no marks that I can see anywhere on it. Anyone have an idea of manufacturer? Year?

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  2. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    For $8 you got a nice little clock, I suspect the movement is German although I can't identify the maker.

    I don't think the case is bakelite, I think it is celluloid, judging by the appearance and the cracks and splits. There were a number of little clocks made with celluloid cases in the 1930s, often white or cream, but I forget now who made them.

    Sorry to be so vague - hope someone else will be along soon with better information.

    JTD
     
  3. chronologiker

    chronologiker Registered User

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    #3 chronologiker, Jan 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    I agree with JTD: The movement is most likely German and the case material is not bakelite. Could it be made of synthetic resin?

    The movement reminds me Fichter KG. Please tell me the diameter of the movement.

    Chronologiker
     
  4. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    If you are looking for a clock to learn on, there are better choices.
     
  5. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

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    Thank you all... In regards to learning... I like to try all kinds of things and if I screw something up on an $8 clock, I won't be too upset. The case was pretty much trashed but I have now disassembled it and ordered a new spring. Going to do some cleaning and see if I cannot get it functioning. I have now worked on a pair of Seth Thomas clocks, one pre-1900 and the other in the '20s. This one is interesting as it has a watch spring and not a pendulum...


    The plates are 2.125 Inches across.
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  6. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    Don't be too quick to write off the case. From what I can see It doesn't look too bad to me and certainly not beyond repair/use. And you won't likely find another empty one in better condition. I hope you will keep it - and these celluloid (for that is what I think it's made of) cases polish up nicely.

    JTD
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    I believe that the case of your clock may be catalin rather than celluloid or bakelite. Catalin and bakelite are actually 2 different forms of early plastic though objects made from either are often called "bakelite".

    Bakelite is made from formaldehyde, phenol and a filler for added strength which included things like rags, cotton and even asbestos! It is heat resistant and was used for everything from pot handles to radios to clock cases, etc. and so on.

    Though reinforced so less prone to cracking, its major draw back was that it was brown or black. Not very appealing.

    Catalin was produced by the American Catalin Co. It is a resin made with formaldehyde and phenol. It can be dyed bright colors, marbleized, etc. It was not reinforced so it does tend to crack as your clock's case did.

    Celluloid is a plant based form of early plastic. It is generally an ivory color with fine striations. Celluloid clocks are not uncommon.

    I rooted around the internet and found this about catalin and bakelite : Bakelite & Catalin: All you need to know + Testing | eBay

    Though it was pretty good. Take a look. Dates when bakelite and catalin were introduced, produced, how to test for them, etc.

    RM
     
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  8. ScotSun

    ScotSun Registered User

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    I do not know if you noticed in my previous but...

    The plates are 2.125 Inches across. Although the face was oval, the movement plates are circular. If any of that helps...


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