American ST Empire # 13

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Nov 1, 2019.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    My understanding of a "crystal regulator" is that it is a type of shelf clock. The basic case form is made of metal, e.g., brass or white metal, with 4 beveled glass panels forming the sides, back door and front door. Some American ones also incorporated porcelain.

    It seems that many of the ones I find were made in France, often bearing the name of an American retailer on the dial. The big American makers made their own versions as well.

    Honestly, they usually don't do a whole heck of a lot for me. Plus, they're later clocks which also usually doesn't do a whole heck of a lot for me, either. However, I recently did an antique show and found this one for what I thought was a reasonable price and more interesting than typical. So, I again broke my rule of here to sell, not buy.

    Based upon my research, it's a Seth Thomas Empire # 13:

    Seth Thomas Empire 13a.jpg

    The case is ornately cast white metal with a gilt wash a lot of which survives. Yes, someone was a diligent house keeper so in the process of dusting, it's rather worn on places like the top. I'm just thankful someone didn't try to polish it with Noxon or go at it with radiator paint. Glasses are good. Porcelain dial without hair lines. I've found examples with this plain dial and then others with a decorated dial. Found some with this plainer dial surround, others with a more ornate one. I do believe the hands may be replacements though they fit awfully well. Original faux mercury pendulum. Proper signed solid brass round plate movement. Time, strike and 1/2 hour strike on original wire gong. Runs like a top.

    Here's the relevant page from Tran's ST book. I seem to recall that we can scan and post entries from his books:

    st empire 13.jpg

    Note there are 2 versions. One with the lion, the other without. I will say the lion in the catalog illustration looks almost like an after thought. It's rather crude, tacked on and too small.

    What I especially liked was the Medici Lion on top. Here's the inspiration in place in Florence. One is a Roman original and a 16th century copy.

    Medici_lions_at_Loggia_dei_Lanzi.jpg

    They originally graced the entrance of the Medici Palace:

    Medici_lions_1691.jpg

    Talk about proclaiming imperial power!

    Something superfluous as if this whole posting hasn't been superfluous enough?

    How about 2 somewhat unusual smaller but useable pieces of ball and stick furniture?

    ball and stick 1.JPG

    I've seen quite a few examples of ball and stick furniture including stands, umbrella stands, shelves, small curio cabinets, easels, etc., etc. but have not previously seen 2 small stands like this, especially the adjustable one on the viewer's right. Both are Victorian but how clean and modern the design. Light and easily moved. Not the typically heavy furniture. The brass ferrules on the stand on the viewer's left are all stamped "Pat. Feb. 1893" referring to the patent taken out by a James W. Campbell of NYS. He assigned his patent to the Ferguson Bros. Manufacturing Co. of NYC then Hoboken who is believed to have actually made most of this stuff.

    RM
     
  2. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    Very nice RM. While not my favourites, I have 2 crystal regulators and enjoyed working on them. One is an unmarked French version sold by a retailer in Quebec and the other is a ST Empire #11. Both have real mercury pendulums, something I haven't yet been able to figure out why, perhaps the import and use of mercury was more lax in Canada. Both are constructed nearly identically, my guess is that the French versions were made first and copied by the American companies but I'm not positive.

    I really like the adjustable table on the right, I've never seen anything like it. A table like that I'm sure would have been practical and popular in most households.
    Don
     
  3. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #3 Bruce Alexander, Nov 2, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
    Nice post RM. I agree that the hands look like replacements but at least they match. I've gotten myself in the habit of advancing slender minute hands near their base instead of by their ends. I probably should do so for all minute hands regardless of their style/construction. I just try to keep my oily mitts away from the dial.

    Personally, I like Crystal Regulators as they "show off" the clock's inner workings. Often, their cases don't make good resonators so they may not be the best sounding Strikers out there, but they look good. We gave a Seth Thomas Empire No. 0 to one of our Sons as a graduation gift. He went on to Graduate School and had Apartment mates so he got in the habit of not winding the Strike Side...fortunately it has a Count Wheel Strike Mechanism. Later he got married and of course his wife didn't like the sound of the Time Train either. Now it's just a decorative piece up on a high shelf gathering dust. Maybe we'll leave him our Atmos when we no longer have a need for it, or perhaps one of our Anniversary Clocks, but he won't be getting any more Time & Strikes or Chimers from our Collection. :chuckling:

    I didn't know that those "Baller" Lions where called Medici.

    I'm sure the table on the right is sturdy enough for that piece of art it's holding but it looks pretty fragile and delicate. :eek:

    Thanks for sharing.

    Empire_No_0_Front_As_found.jpg
    Being seen and not heard...
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #4 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Nov 2, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
    Thanks for your kind comments.

    Yes, I would agree that the American crystal regulators were emulating those made in France.

    Believe it or not, the adjustable height stand was originally billed as a piano stool! Not possible or logical.

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    Yes, I can understand your point about the benefit of the glass case of a crystal regulator. I have one that is French where the gong strike sounds pretty good. Not as good in the ST.

    Actually the adjustable stand is pretty sturdy though I agree I wouldn't use it for something very heavy. It seems that it could have been used in a number of applications, either on the floor or on a table top to display something, for a lamp or a plant, etc.

    RM
     

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