Thomas Radford of Leeds - Information needed?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Tony1951, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. Tony1951

    Tony1951 Registered User

    Dec 1, 2011
    219
    1
    0
    #1 Tony1951, Jul 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
    radford%u00252520full%u00252520length.jpg

    Radford%u00252520hood.jpg


    I bought a nice, circa 1770, eight day longcase by Thos Radford of Leeds, yesterday. Amazingly, it came up on the Gumtree for sale site, offered at £250. As soon as the ad was posted I was after it. Having checked with teh seller that it hadn't been altered with an axe and a lump hammer, and that he really was asking for £250, I arranged with him to drive the 120 miles down to see it, and I gave him the money after being in the room ten seconds. It is a beauty, though the dial and the calendar will need a little attention. When I got it last night the strike wasn't working, but was easily fixed - ain't a drop of oil a wonderful thing? It's working now. The brass dial has a little tarnishing, but the engraved black numerals and divisions are fine. I think I will be able to lightly polish the dial without harming the numbers and the Thos Radford signature.

    radford%u00252520signature.jpg

    radford%u00252520dial.jpg

    How can I put it - I wasn't robbed and the gentleman who sold it, who is emigrating had been offered an even more derisory sum by a professional antique dealer which is why he settled on asking for £250 - it is a lovely clock, even though at 85 inches tall, it is pretty damned big.

    I will put up some photos when I can, but I am wondering if any of you expert gentlemen can tell me more than I already know which is the following:

    " Thomas Radford was born in 1731 and died in 1801. He was a talented craftsman,known for his high quality eight day longcase clocks. Radford, along with being an experienced clockmaker, was also a watchmaker, cutler, silversmith and jeweller. He was apprenticed in 1731 to the famous Yorkshire maker, Dollif Rollison and finally set up in Leeds in his own right in 1753. He continued trading in Leeds until his death in 1801, but also operated in London. He had 2 sons, Thomas (1761-1793) and William (1764-1826) who continued the business until his own death in 1826."

    Thos. Radford was also witness in a trial for grand larceny at the Old Bailey on 23rd February 1780, and it is strange indeed to read the words of a clockmaker of 240 years ago. The language is oddly archaic and the idea of a box of silver watch cases being stolen from a stagecoach in London at a coaching inn, and then some of them being sold to Radford at his Leeds shop by the malefactor adds something to the provenance of the clock. Radford bought them in good faith after making inquiries as to the good character of the seller.


    If anyone is interested, the transcript of the trial is here http://www.londonlives.org/browse.jsp?div=t17800223-50


    There are a lot of his clocks online in old auction listings at proper big auction houses and some of them go for a lot of money, albeit that they are more fancy than mine with moonrollers and subsidiary second hands. Radford must have been selling at different price points in different markets. The movement on mine would easily support a subsidiary second dial - the long escape wheel arbor is there ready and waiting behind the dial, which only lacks a hole being drilled and some engraving on the brass at the front and a second hand of course, like car makers he probably used pretty much the same technology in base and fancy models, but just didn't use available features of a movement in the budget offering leaving them behind the dial unseen.


    Any further info on Radford would be much appreciated. I think Loomis deals with Radford of Leeds (he also operated in London later in his life.

    Thanks for reading -

    Tony



    radford%u00252520full%u00252520length.jpg radford%u00252520signature.jpg radford%u00252520dial.jpg Radford%u00252520hood.jpg radford%u00252520full%u00252520length.jpg
     
    Thomas John likes this.
  2. Tony1951

    Tony1951 Registered User

    Dec 1, 2011
    219
    1
    0
    #2 Tony1951, Jul 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
    I think I have managed to fix the calendar dial on this clock. The rotating disk bearing the day numbers was pretty stiff to turn and it should have been rotated by a stiff pin about half a millimeter in diameter and about one and a half centimeters in length which is mounted on the hour canon behind the dial. During the hours five to seven, this pin should engage with the toothed wheel bearing the date and rotate it a little. It does this twice a day between 5 and 7 in the evening and the same in the morning. As the dial had more or less seized up, the pin had bent slightly and as purchased, it missed the toothed wheel. I realigned it enough to make it engage and now that the wheel is free, the date changes.

    attachment.jpg

    Cleaning up the dial may be more problematic than I first thought. The dark areas are old black wax from the numbers which may have been smeared in the past by using a solvent of some sort to clean the dial. I don't want to make it any worse so I'm not sure what to do.
     
  3. Thomas John

    Thomas John New Member

    Oct 15, 2019
    4
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Hello Tony,
    I have a similar clock to yours which also has an Automaton, a man on a horse, made by Thomas Radford.
     
  4. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
    8,862
    407
    83
    Male
    retired and on my second career
    Dorset
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    He was last seen 4 years ago, may not be here. I hope he silvered it rather than polished it.

    A separate thread on your automaton clock would help anybody researching the maker, you could put a link in here too. Always good to have more English longcase on the board, I hope we see more of your clock.
     
    Thomas John likes this.
  5. Thomas John

    Thomas John New Member

    Oct 15, 2019
    4
    0
    1
    Male
    Country Flag:
    Ok I can post some pictures of the clock under general info on your site.
     

Share This Page