• The NAWCC Museum and Library & Research Center are currently open. Please check the Visiting Schedule for Days and Hours at the bottom of the Visit Page.

The Mark of a Real Pro........ Maybe not?

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
10,746
1,016
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
This one is in my shop now. Nice to know who repaired this clock in 1950 but if it were my clock and I sent it to be repaired and it came back with the repairer's name carved in the back of the case I would be more than a little upset. I obscured the poor fellows full name out of respect, he may well be deceased by now.

So should a repair person leave any date notes in/on a clock? If so, what would do, or as an owner what would you expect, appreciate, or not appreciate? I give the owner my card and a printed list of what was done and leave it up to the owner. I sometimes make a note on the back of the dial if it is my own clock.

RC

pro.jpg
 

Uhralt

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 4, 2008
5,017
617
113
Country
Region
I would assume that in this case the owner of the clock repaired it and left his name because he was so proud of his achievement.

Occasionally I have seen printed repair labels glued to the case of clocks.

Uhralt
 
  • Like
Reactions: erik1925

bruce linde

Technical Admin
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Nov 13, 2011
7,888
1,050
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
I’m thinking that if that’s the quality of his engraving I can’t wait to see what he did with the movement
 

David S

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Dec 18, 2011
7,207
248
63
Brockville, On Canada
Country
Region
I have some soft copper tags often used by gardeners to make a permanent mark to identify plants. It is all short hand of course with my initials and the date and any bushing work, etc. The tag can then be captured under a pillar nut or just wrapped around the pillar.

David
 

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
10,746
1,016
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
I’m thinking that if that’s the quality of his engraving I can’t wait to see what he did with the movement
We've seen what he did to the movement, it is this same clock New Haven Parlor Clock Issues, Questions & “Innovative” Repairs

I have some soft copper tags often used by gardeners to make a permanent mark to identify plants. It is all short hand of course with my initials and the date and any bushing work, etc. The tag can then be captured under a pillar nut or just wrapped around the pillar.

David
That's a great idea, never would have thought to do that.

RC
 

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,442
99
48
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
probably a relative. Looks like a "to mom with love". Inside joke.
 

David S

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Dec 18, 2011
7,207
248
63
Brockville, On Canada
Country
Region

moe1942

Registered User
Oct 25, 2010
1,648
17
38
Alexandria, La
Country
Region
Nothing wrong with leaving traces of repair with initials and date. I use a lead pencil 0n the inside..
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
Life's short. It's kind of sad if you think about it too long. Hopefully someone will not be cursing me in 40 or 50 years.

Often I'll just jot down what was done and the date on the back of a business card. I'll either give it to the owner or better yet, leave it inside the case.
It's more for the next guy or gal down the road.

On occasion I've enclosed such a card in a hidden compartment, like the top of a Crystal Regulator. Chances are the case won't be taken apart again for quite some time, so it's like a little time capsule.

If I've listed a clock for sale somewhere, it's all in the condition report which the new owner can print off and save if they chose to.

The closest I come to "engraving" is when I make a small "S" or "T" on an inconspicuous location on a gear, or inside a barrel. Usually in a 3-train movement like the ST 124.

I have engraved patterns on replacement glass in the doors of wood cased "Kitchen" Clocks.

Otherwise, I try to have my work fade into the background of a well-maintained clock.

That's the plan anyway.

I think the best you can do here RC is to let the guy take credit for your work. :cool:
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,028
1,512
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
I like notes engraved on cases, but not those left by repairmen. Family notes are cool, and enjoyable to find. I don't usually have any problem seeing what a previous repairman did to the movement ... and with passage of time what he did becomes less and less important anyway. I give the customer a written report on what I did to the clock along with what I charged. They can keep it or toss it ... it's up to them.
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
I'm with RC on this. If I sent my property to someone for maintenance, i would be upset if it came back irreversibly altered with a name and date "carved" into it. Honestly, I don't even want to see some sticker which only serves as a business card. If I was happy with the service, I'll return without the aid of a sticky business card.

If the clock belonged to whoever did this, it was his clock and his prerogative. I've had a clock with what I assume was one of its owner's SSN carved into the back of the case.

In any case, the May Tag Repairman is probably long gone, but obviously not forgotten. :chuckling: Someone left a mess for RC to clean up though.
 

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
10,746
1,016
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
In any case, the May Tag Repairman is probably long gone, but obviously not forgotten. :chuckling: Someone left a mess for RC to clean up though.
The current owner recently acquired this clock in this condition. My task was just to repair the movement and make it run properly. We don't know if the carving was done by a repairman or by a previous owner. Either way the clock now has a new owner who must live with this mess. At least it is on the back and out of sight.

RC
 

roughbarked

Registered User
Dec 2, 2016
5,254
585
113
Western NSW or just this side of the black stump.
Country
Region
Nothing wrong with leaving traces of repair with initials and date. I use a lead pencil 0n the inside..
All my clock repairs have a number. This number is in a book with everything that has been done listed in the book. All repairs watch or clock are marked this way. In clocks I use a pencil, in watches I scratch it inside the back.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Karl Thies

R. Croswell

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
10,746
1,016
113
Trappe, Md.
www.greenfieldclockshop.com
Country
Region
All my clock repairs have a number. This number is in a book with everything that has been done listed in the book. All repairs watch or clock are marked this way. In clocks I use a pencil, in watches I scratch it inside the back.
I assign each clock I repair a "case number" corresponds with a file and folder on my computer which has details and pictures and copy of the billing, I do not mark the clock. Unfortunately, without your book or my computer, our records will be useless to future generations after we are gone.

RC
 

Michael Linz

Registered User
Oct 2, 2014
90
3
8
Georgia
Country
I actually had one customer who insisted I add my name and date to the others on the back of their clock to add to it's history. I did so in pencil, and was quite honored!
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
19,894
448
83
utah
Country
Region
I attach a small sticky label with initials and date. It's part of the history. Somebody don't like it, they can remove it. :mad: Personally, I enjoy seeing pencilled repair notes. But not engraved ones.
 
  • Like
Reactions: leeinv66

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
Somebody don't like it, they can remove it. :mad:
That's true. Auction Houses often do the same thing. "Goof Off" works wonders. :p

I actually had one customer who insisted I add my name and date to the others
That's a different case entirely. No pun intended.

I'm looking at an Ansonia Westminster Movement out of one of the Sonia Tambours. Soldered repairs and clear glue (epoxy?) along with train notations, a name and date deeply scrawled into the brass. It reminds me of a poor, isolated attempt at Graffiti.
 

Ralph B

Registered User
Nov 25, 2006
610
22
18
Napier, New Zealand
Country
Whenever I repair a clock I always make a note of repair marks, especially if it's a name and date.
I don't bother with the incomprehensible "secret code" marks that watchmakers, alone, seem to favour.
When I give the list to the customer I've never, ever, had one who was dismayed and complained about "vandalism", or some such thing.
On the contrary they've always been interested, and on occasions have been able to work out where the clock was at the time.

An old English bracket clock I repaired had about a dozen marks, the earliest being 1833. Some of the marks had place names, as well as dates, and the owner was able to trace its passage through his family, from England to Australia, and then to New Zealand.
Another old l/c had an inscription on the back of the front plate which was only visible when the clock was apart.
It was a persons name, the word "owner", a place name, and a date.
The name, and place, was sufficiently unusual that it was findable on line, along with lots of information about the previous owner, ( who turned out to be a clock repairer in the local village).
The elderly lady owner was thrilled to have this link to the past as the date wasn't much earlier than the date her and her husband had bought the clock.
So I have no problem leaving my name, place, and date, in an out of sight place, to be found by another repairer in 50 or 100 years time.

An example of how not to do it is the attached photo.
I've seen quite a few of these minor novels from this bloke, now departed, over the years.

Ralph.
N.Z.

View attachment 540330 DSCN1799.JPG
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
Provenance is one way to look at it Ralph and kind of touches upon the point that Micheal was making in post 18.

In one way or the other I suppose you leave your mark on a clock.

I keep hoping to find the following one day:
kilroy.jpg
Source: What's the Origin of "Kilroy Was Here"?
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,028
1,512
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
I view it as a form of vanity. It doesn't really matter who has repaired the clock in the past or who will in the future. My name covertly inserted on someone else's property doesn't keep me around or preserve the fact that I was. In 100 years, all remembrance of us will be gone anyway. It's just the way it is. On the other hand, who has owned the clock in the past is interesting, and I enjoy finding those references. If you own it, do what you will. If you don't, respect those who do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Time After Time

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,442
99
48
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
I have an older mantle someone etched spanish I cant decipher note, Real scripty looking with big loops. It says:

Ava all meine Liebe A. H. 12.32

I guess its manufacturer and date
 

Uhralt

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 4, 2008
5,017
617
113
Country
Region
A gift for Ava, as a token "for all my love". Given in December 1932. I would guess as a Christmas present.

Uhralt
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
A gift for Ava, as a token "for all my love". Given in December 1932. I would guess as a Christmas present.
Very nice provenance. Much more personal and meaningful than most business related recognition/presentation plaques.

Attached below is a photo of a factory placed plaque on a Model 250 Clock for the original owners:

This couple were Holocaust Survivors who had gone on to attain a very nice life in the United States after suffering horribly in their early lives.

After we acquired the clock, my wife found an obit entry for Mayer. There was much hardship detailed in the Holocaust Interview but the closing paragraph gives a brief glimpse of the suffering:

"The prisoners were force to climb a hill to reach the camp, but Mayer was once again too weak to walk. A friend of Mayer and Mendel (Mayer's brother) carried him up the hill. Later when Mayer asked the man where his brother was, the man replied that Mendel had been shot to death by the guards the previous day. A few of the inmates in Mendel's train car had been hollering from the pain of starvation. When the SS guards opened up the car to ask who had been hollering, the inmates, who had actually been crying out, pointed at Mendel, who was shot to death on the spot. Mayer only stayed at Mauthausen three days, before the camp was liberated by the Americans. Mayer was fed and clothed by the American army, but it was hard for him to move on after losing both his father (who, too weak to work, had been buried alive) and brother. He returned to his hometown of Tyachiv, but, when he finally, realized that none of his immediate family had survived, he moved on. Mayer moved to Israel shortly afterward, before finally settling down in the United States in 1959."

Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database -- Mayer Lebovic

We believe this is the entry for his wife, Helena, but we're not certain:
Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database -- Helena Lebovic

By comparison, my childhood was Heaven on Earth.

Provenance of antiques has immense, usually intangible, value.

Plaque.JPG

I agree with SB here:
I view it as a form of vanity. It doesn't really matter who has repaired the clock in the past or who will in the future. My name covertly inserted on someone else's property doesn't keep me around or preserve the fact that I was. In 100 years, all remembrance of us will be gone anyway. It's just the way it is. On the other hand, who has owned the clock in the past is interesting, and I enjoy finding those references. If you own it, do what you will. If you don't, respect those who do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bangster

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,442
99
48
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
It was a shock value joke, no such engraving exist. The A.H. was suppose to raise the eyebrows...!!!
Just seeing who is paying attention.
:)

A gift for Ava, as a token "for all my love". Given in December 1932. I would guess as a Christmas present.

Uhralt
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
I guess we all took you seriously RJ. Is that a risky proposition? o_O
Why should "A.H." raise eyebrows?
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
Now I get the joke." Ava" would be Eva (Brown) and A. H. Is supposed to stand for Adolf Hitler. It took me some time because RJ misspelled Eva.

Uhralt
Okay Uhrait. You got it. :chuckling:

How appropriate, unintentional though it may have been, that I responded with an excerpt from the very real childhood memories of a Holocaust survivor.
Some things we should never have to re-learn, but humans are really not as smart as we would like to think. If we were, history wouldn't have to keep repeating itself to us. :(
 

Uhralt

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 4, 2008
5,017
617
113
Country
Region
Okay Uhrait. You got it. :chuckling:

How appropriate, unintentional though it may have been, that I responded with an excerpt from the very real childhood memories of a Holocaust survivor.
Some things we should never have to re-learn, but humans are really not as smart as we would like to think. If we were, history wouldn't have to keep repeating itself to us. :(
Very true. I had the same feeling after reading your post.

Uhralt
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,028
1,512
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
It's always greed for either money, attention or power (or all three) that causes issues.
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
I think those things can be the economic engine driving the fall of a civilization/society but hatred and fear of "others", often used as tools by leaders, figure into the equation as well. Irrational fear of someone outside of our trusted group is ingrained into our "Lizard" brains (Amygdala). Nazi Germany's "Final Solution" is the textbook example. Like issues popping up in our movement tests, if it happens once, it can (and probably will) happen again. We need our Better Angels to survive ourselves. IMHO
 
Last edited:

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,442
99
48
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
Talking philosophical, before my impending divorce, a freind of mine was explaining to me the benefits of just letting go. I explained to him while we where both digging up a baby palm tree by the large heavy root, "you say, just let go. what if letting go was like a weight that would smash your leg, would you just accept it?" . His answer was yes, mine was no. Eventually the divorce happened anyway. A good thing? A good thing would have been that I chose better in the first place. But alas, hind site hey...

The point of this being that in a sea of propaganda, a labyrinth of rabbit holes, who is telling the truth and who is going to pay consequences?

All I can say is I hope the innocent stay free and prosperous. As to the guilty let go and let God...
As to the weight, I hope it slides down the side of a steep mountain and bust into a million pieces.
 

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
  1. The point of this being that in a sea of propaganda, a labyrinth of rabbit holes, who is telling the truth and who is going to pay consequences?

What propaganda are you talking about RJ?

Let go of what? The Holocaust?

As for God, not to get into religion or politics I'll just say this, Hilter professed to be a Christian.

Please explain your point.

Edit:
Speaking of propaganda:

The Nazis were skilled propagandists who used sophisticated advertising techniques and the most current technology of the time to spread their messages.

Once in power, Adolf Hitler created a Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda to shape German public opinion and behavior

Nazi propaganda played an integral role in advancing the persecution and ultimately the destruction of Europe’s Jews. It incited hatred and fostered a climate of indifference to their fate.
Nazi Propaganda

It is often said that "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it"

I'm not Jewish and I know very little about their faith and culture but I think that the prospect of history repeating itself may be one of the reasons why modern Jewish Culture insists that they never forget the Holocaust.

It's certainly more comfortable for us to not think of the atrocities. To let them go and question the accuracy of the oral/written record.

We are so far off topic here. In discussing history, I think we're veering off into politics and religion. In discussing this period it's hard not to since both are at the core of the issue. That's all I really have to say on the topic.

Regards,

Bruce
 
Last edited:

mauleg

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Dec 26, 2012
848
141
43
Country
Alrighty, then! This has to be the worst case of thread drift I've ever seen; let's see if we might bring it back on topic:

Just last week, inspired by this thread, I took delivery of an Ansonia Sonia, which had some curiously contradictory markings:

20190711_192530.jpg 20190711_192741.jpg
Some of the markings show in a photograph, others are very hard to make out, but on the left of the door is marked: "12-45 EV H229". On the upper right is marked, "11-12-29 MBO". Very faint on the center right is, "R&M 12-11-41". These all appear to be standard service marks; the curious bit comes with the stamp on the hammer pivot arm: Sep 17 1948.

The stamp is a new twist on the "mark of a real pro", as it almost looks like a manufacturer's mark. I'm pretty sure, however, that this clock was made well before 1948, especially given the apparent dates penciled on the door.

I actually enjoy seeing these kind of marks, as they add to the history of a clock, as long as they're not carved large on the outside of the case like the one in the first post in this thread.

I'll be posting another thread detailing the state and subsequent repair of the movement. Suffice to say that it was "ridden hard and put away wet".
 
Last edited:

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
the worst case of thread drift I've ever seen
I've seen (and participated in) worse. At least this thread didn't get locked down! :eek:

I've seen a couple of these "Sonia" movements and as you suspected, that stamp was not placed by Ansonia. "Their" equipment was long sold off and operating in Russia at that time.

Does the date really matter or will the condition of the movement and its lubricant determine when it will be serviced again?
 

mauleg

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Dec 26, 2012
848
141
43
Country
...as you suspected, that stamp was not placed by Ansonia
Right, it's the first time I've seen a stamped date like that on a movement. I'll be leaving it there, as it's now part of the clock's history.


Does the date really matter or will the condition of the movement and its lubricant determine when it will be serviced again?
I'm not quite sure I understand the nature of this question; as for me, like the afore-mentioned stamp, I just find the dates interesting signposts in the history of the clock. It's a rare clock in my collection that has not been fully serviced upon receipt as a matter of course. After all, tearing things apart is what it's all about, right? :p

In terms of the intent of these marks, I'd speculate that for some, if not most repairmen, it was a way to determine if they'd done work on a given clock before, and when. Back in the day, IBM Customer Service Engineers were required to make entries on a card that was kept in a special pocket on the inside of the machine case every time they performed maintenance and/or repairs. When full, these cards were replaced and archived. Like many here, I keep records on a spreadsheet and photos organized within the file system; good enough for me.
 
Last edited:

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
I'm not quite sure I understand this question; as for me, I just find the dates interesting signposts in the history of the clock. It's a rare clock in my collection that has not been fully serviced upon receipt as a matter of course.
I guess I'm saying that the dates of service are of no real use. Interesting? Okay, I get that, but what do they really tell someone? You usually have a date of manufacture. The clock was used; the clock was serviced. The condition of the clock will determine when it's serviced again. Often, only when it stops running. ....
ridden hard and put away wet
:chuckling:
 

woodlawndon

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Jan 18, 2017
730
187
43
Woodlawn, Ontario
Country
Region
I dunno, I always get a kick out of finding stuff from repairers hidden in the clocks, especially if they are 150+ years old. On a couple old ones I have placed a small label in an inconspicuous place with my initials and date. It will mean nothing except my hope someone else might see it in another 150 years. Maybe someone will take these old clocks to another planet by then...;)
Don
 
Last edited:

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,442
99
48
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
You'd get a kick out of my Paradise Lost 3rd edition from 1727. It was passed down from several generations of preachers. In the beginning is a notation to the king thanking him for granting permission to print the book.

https://mb.nawcc.org/attachments/pdlost1-jpg.91915/

I dunno, I always get a kick out of finding stuff from repairers hidden in the clocks, especially if they are 150+ years old. On a couple old ones I have placed a small label in a conspicuous place with my initials and date. It will mean nothing except my hope someone else might see it in another 150 years. Maybe someone will take these old clocks to another planet by then...;)
Don
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: woodlawndon

Bruce Alexander

Registered User
Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,197
733
113
Country
Region
In terms of the intent of these marks, I'd speculate that for some, if not most repairmen, it was a way to determine if they'd done work on a given clock before, and when..
Perhaps that could be the case. Certainly if the marks are made by the same hand. I suppose speculating on an item's history is part of the appeal of antiques in general. Just so long as it doesn't rise to the level of vandalism or graffiti I don't have a problem with it. I just don't do it to antiques I care for or about. There have always been other ways to take notes and track work.
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,028
1,512
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
I suppose before computers it was a way to keep track of what you had done before. Certainly not needed any more.
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
19,894
448
83
utah
Country
Region
I stick my label on a clock so's I can tell the last time I worked on it. Y'all don't like that, Tough.:yoda:
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
45,028
1,512
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
I don't expect to ever see a clock again, so it's redundant :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Time After Time

TooManyClocks

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 6, 2019
175
46
28
63
Country
Personally, i kinda like seeing repair initials, dates, owners names etc. from years gone by on my old clocks. This one was obviously by the owner. Not hard to know his name or when he owned it!:D

I know this thread has more to do with repairer’s notes, but this one i thought was worth showing a photo!

Might have been just a little overkill, but here’s how one owner of the clock marked it...

John

CB71D376-ED01-4231-9EDE-618EBEA9E41A.jpeg 394A6715-27D0-4575-9D0D-BD29B39766DF.jpeg