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Unusual 51" Tall Case Clock - Original?

Joe B

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Here is my newest buy... it was very unusual so I figured I had to own it and see if its an original piece or something else. I'm personally puzzled as I've never seen one similar. It all seems to fit together in the case very nicely and the movement dial fits the case opening perfectly. The case is only about 51" tall. The glasses both seem rather old and original with bubbles/waves. The moment however is bolted to the backboard rather than sitting on a seat board as with my other tall cases. Its an interesting thing and I'm just not sure if its period or a homemade piece. The case has a stamp in it I cannot read and the dial is marked L&L. Has a nice brass case lead weight. I really do not see any other holes or evidence of another movement ever being in the case - I'll be removing it to investigate that further soon.

If anyone has any thoughts or information I would be very appreciative.

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bruce linde

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looks french / morbier... maybe this will help identify? did the best i could w/ the photo....

tempImageUVSFdT.png
 
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Joe B

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Thank you Bruce!

That is much better. Hopefully someone will know something. It all seems original but I just have never seen something similar. I bought it because of the unusual size!
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Thank you Bruce!

That is much better. Hopefully someone will know something. It all seems original but I just have never seen something similar. I bought it because of the unusual size!
Where is that photo with the fragment of printed writing from?? The back board?

By the way, sometimes taking an overall shot then zeroing on details is more helpful then only a series of close ups.

I don't think from what I can see it's a maker's mark.

It is in English (not French) and it is the type of printing one might find on an old box or shipping crate.

I suspect that it is a fragment of an old box used to create, yes or maybe to repair, the back board (?) of the case. Makes me wonder if things weren't put together to house a movement?

By the way, I did find wooden cigar boxes from Schuyler cigars.

RM
 
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Joe B

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Thanks RM. Sorry for the photo confusion.

The stamp is on the backboard to the left of the movement. The backboard is all one piece of wood. I supposed it could have been built from scraps to house the movement. I guess it would have been assembled a while ago as the case does seem to have some age.
 

Joe B

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Well... I removed the movement and the complete label helps answer some questions. Seems the backboard was replaced or the case was purpose-built by a semi-skilled cabinet maker in Saratoga NY at some point. The case does seem old and the build is a rather decent fit it seems to me anyway. It would be interesting to know how old the case is. It will be interesting to see how long it runs in such a short case.

Perhaps not one of my best buys but still a pretty neat clock. I’ll plan to restore it and repair the veneer, etc.

4E9AFAD3-FA3C-412B-9509-79CE9A7A8ADE.jpeg
 

brian fisher

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seems like it could be a marriage of some sort to me? the metal parts seem to be of quality. they seem to me like they should belong in a wall mounted case though. to my eye, your cabinet has somewhat odd proportions in comparison to conventional of design19th c french cabinets that would normally house a movement of that type. movement is definitely french. i don't have enough information from your photos to figure out why the movement has a bell sitting on top(indicative of a 2 train movement) but only one winding hole in the dial.
 

Joe B

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Perhaps you’re right about a marriage. I do agree the case style is odd for the movement type.

Here are some more movement photos - it appears there is some sort of alarm that is not hooked up - I’ll have to see how it was all hooked up - I assume there was a separate weight?

7C2E6FB3-6126-4DC9-8246-10F383A5A09F.jpeg FE77F418-EAE8-4344-BF9B-AD954ADF164B.jpeg 20CE734F-2054-4701-AF04-7D6EA2D0346E.jpeg 27E11E22-E46F-488B-A864-87A559968B65.jpeg
 

Jmeechie

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Hi,
The movement is definitely of the French/Swiss design/build similar to Morbier or jewelers pinwheel movements. I actually like the design of the case but agree it may be of a cabinet maker quality build. My suspicion is it will run for 8 days and yes it has a simple alarm mechanism and is missing it’s pointer hand. I doubt it was a disk style but?
my suspicion of age based on European furniture and dark veneers would be around 1870’s ish.
Cheers,
James
 
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bruce linde

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perhaps clean up the lower end of the suspension spring and the entire crutch?
 
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Uhralt

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Yes, there was an alarm function. The snail-like cam that is used to set is visible, but the pointer hand and the lever that triggers the alarm are missing. The alarm would have had a smaller weight on the side of the movement with an even smaller counter-weight.
Uhralt
 

leeinv66

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To my eye, the case is made to a commercial standard. It does not look like something pieced together in someone's workshop. It is very reminiscent of the quality, type of construction and finish you would with the case of a 1875 to 1900 Vienna regulator. To me, a marriage is what happens when you fit an orphaned movemnent into an orphaned case. I believe this case was made for the movement it currently houses. While the movement maybe French, I am not convinced the clock is. It has a very German feel to me. Whatever the origin, I like it!
 

Joe B

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James, if it runs for 8 days, I'll be thrilled! I'm hopeful that it will and look forward to getting it up and going. It does have the original hand and a disk style alarm piece that goes under the hour hand. If that's what you mean? I do appreciate the approximate age, a bit earlier than I was thinking.

Bruce, definitely on the to do list. Surprisingly it does work as it is but could use a less crude repair for sure!

Uhralt, do you by chance have a diagram or photo of a similar alarm type so I can better understand what parts are missing? The current weight and pulley I believe are original to the clock but I'd, like to find appropriate replacements for the alarm if possible.

Leeinv66, I agree! I'm happy you felt the same and the quality of the case is also what puzzled me. You make a good point with the similarity of the case to the vienna regulators - never thought about that. The movement and case do really appear like they have been together for a long time and surely no other movement marks or evidence are found in the case anyway.

Please forgive me as I am new to the morbier style clock and this is really my first, I really liked the unusual size and nice quality of the case. Generally, I assume this movement would have the typical red rope/string that the other morbiers have (from what I have read here)? I have some and figured I would replace that. I also plan to try my hand a repairing and replacing the missing mahogany veneer on the base of the case. Hopefully I can match it fairly well in color - TBD.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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To my eye, the case is made to a commercial standard. It does not look like something pieced together in someone's workshop. It is very reminiscent of the quality, type of construction and finish you would with the case of a 1875 to 1900 Vienna regulator. To me, a marriage is what happens when you fit an orphaned movemnent into an orphaned case. I believe this case was made for the movement it currently houses. While the movement maybe French, I am not convinced the clock is. It has a very German feel to me. Whatever the origin, I like it!
Leeinv66, I agree! I'm happy you felt the same and the quality of the case is also what puzzled me. You make a good point with the similarity of the case to the vienna regulators - never thought about that. The movement and case do really appear like they have been together for a long time and surely no other movement marks or evidence are found in the case anyway.
Sorry, I believe this ignores the obvious. An old farm implements box with a stamp in English used for the back board with a French movement, holes drilled in the brass dial surround, etc.?

I think this IS an orphaned movement placed in an orphaned case.

Portions of the case may have been made to a "commercial standard", to which other components were added. I see stuff like that all the time. In fact, some of the results of these projects have even been discussed on the Forums.

RM
 

Joe B

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Thanks RM - good reality check, I did momentarily forget about the farm label. Your explanation is likely the right one - otherwise the label makes no sense at all.

Joe
 

Raymond Rice

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Sorry, I believe this ignores the obvious. An old farm implements box with a stamp in English used for the back board with a French movement, holes drilled in the brass dial surround, etc.?

I think this IS an orphaned movement placed in an orphaned case.

Portions of the case may have been made to a "commercial standard", to which other components were added. I see stuff like that all the time. In fact, some of the results of these projects have even been discussed on the Forums.

RM
RM , you are ever the voice of reason.
Ray Rice
 

Jim DuBois

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Something similar but entirely different. This one is by George Brewster, thought to be one of one. And the second is a copy I made years ago of the Brewster clock working only from a single photo in Distan and Bishop. Since then the original was auctioned off and I got some decent photos of it. My semi-copy was pretty close.

brewster 1.jpg 09.jpg
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Something similar but entirely different. This one is by George Brewster, thought to be one of one. And the second is a copy I made years ago of the Brewster clock working only from a single photo in Distan and Bishop. Since then the original was auctioned off and I got some decent photos of it. My semi-copy was pretty close.

View attachment 679057 View attachment 679058
Pretty good!

The original was in the Bertram and Nina Little Collection, much of which was dispersed in two auctions conducted by Sotheby's in 1994.

The clock was sold in the 1/29/94 sale, lot 170. See the auction catalog for more info. Sold for just > 37K. Remember, that's about 30 years ago.

The Littles assembled probably the greatest collection of Americana and folk art. Many items were purchased from the original families. Besides displaying incredible taste, it was encyclopedic. Probably nothing like will EVER be seen again. Not possible.

I believe much of what was sold came from their home in Brookline (which I think was called "The Pumpkin House" ; the name came from the color of its exterior). However, it was not their entire collection. They had another home just full of many wonderful items close to where I live. It is located in Essex, MA, and called Cogswell's Grant. It is now owned by Historic New England and can be toured, in season. If visiting the area, worth taking a break from the typical touristy stuff:

Cogswell's Grant | Historic New England

RM
 

Joe B

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Thanks RM - I like it.

Jim, perfect phrasing - I see what you mean. You did a wonderful job with the reproduction.


Along the lines of "restoring" this clock (whatever that means here) would the 3.0mm red cord be what would be expected on this movement type? Also, does anyone have suggestions regarding the shape/size of the weight and counter weight that would be correct for the alarm function? Along with any missing parts as was mentioned?

This will be my project for the time being anyway, whenever I get it all repaired and up Ill post some finished photos. I do really appreciate everyone's help and input!
 

brian fisher

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the pulley is old, but my thought is that it also isn't original to the movement. seems a very rudimentary design that doesn't match the quality of the other metal parts.

the backer board appears to be a piece of plywood which would indicate either a replacement or a much later build.
 
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Joe B

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brian fisher - the pulley was suspect to me as well. I think I'll replace it with a nicer tall case pulley I have laying around. The backer board I had not noticed was plywood. - I thought It was solid but I will have to take a closer look tonight. I wasn't able to see in the photos I took.
 

Joe B

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I did double check - the back board of the case is solid wood not plywood.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I did double check - the back board of the case is solid wood not plywood.
Old shipping crates, as well as old milk and "pop" bottle crates, etc, were typically solid wood.

So, would have assumed the shipping crate used for the backboard of your clock is solid.

RM
 
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Jim DuBois

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Pretty good!

The original was in the Bertram and Nina Little Collection, much of which was dispersed in two auctions conducted by Sotheby's in 1994.

The clock was sold in the 1/29/94 sale, lot 170. See the auction catalog for more info. Sold for just > 37K. Remember, that's about 30 years ago.

The Littles assembled probably the greatest collection of Americana and folk art. Many items were purchased from the original families. Besides displaying incredible taste, it was encyclopedic. Probably nothing like will EVER be seen again. Not possible.

I believe much of what was sold came from their home in Brookline (which I think was called "The Pumpkin House" ; the name came from the color of its exterior). However, it was not their entire collection. They had another home just full of many wonderful items close to where I live. It is located in Essex, MA, and called Cogswell's Grant. It is now owned by Historic New England and can be toured, in season. If visiting the area, worth taking a break from the typical touristy stuff:

Cogswell's Grant | Historic New England

RM
RM, I became aware of the Little's painted furniture in particular a long time ago. They had an eye for and a wallet that allowed them to acquire the very best. I was not aware they had the Brewster until it hit the auction you refer to. But, it fits into their eclectic but sophisticated interests oh so very well.

And to the end of painted clocks, I was able to see 4 wonderfully painted tall clocks yesterday. One by Greene, another by Rufus Cole, and two by yet to be identified painters. I should have taken a bunch of photos, but did not. The clocks were positioned so as to not take good photos, and so I didn't. In retrospect, big mistake.

But, there was perhaps a one-of-one Ives, 30-day wagon spring to be seen, and I did take a photo of that. And to demonstrate others' eclectic interests, sitting beside the Ives was this little glass dog.....

20211103_110436.jpg 20211103_110441.jpg
 
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Joe B

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Thanks RM, I agree, but just wanted to double check.
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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RM, I became aware of the Little's painted furniture in particular a long time ago. They had an eye for and a wallet that allowed them to acquire the very best. I was not aware they had the Brewster until it hit the auction you refer to. But, it fits into their eclectic but sophisticated interests oh so very well.

And to the end of painted clocks, I was able to see 4 wonderfully painted tall clocks yesterday. One by Greene, another by Rufus Cole, and two by yet to be identified painters. I should have taken a bunch of photos, but did not. The clocks were positioned so as to not take good photos, and so I didn't. In retrospect, big mistake.

But, there was perhaps a one-of-one Ives, 30-day wagon spring to be seen, and I did take a photo of that. And to demonstrate others' eclectic interests, sitting beside the Ives was this little glass dog.....

View attachment 679331 View attachment 679332
Wow. I have seen in person and pix of the Ives wagon spring gilt cased clocks, but that one takes the proverbial cake. Emulates the French rococo revival cases that were popular at the time?

The reverse painted (?) oculus is interesting. My recollection is that a small removable panel, sometimes glazed, was placed there?

A similar but by no means identical clock is in "Horology Americana", page 164.

My recollection (FWIW these days) is that ROSFA sold one of these minus the panel quite a few years ago pre-internet. If I had the time, I would plow through the catalogs to try to find it.

A Murano (?) chihuahua?

RM
 

Jmeechie

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Hi, I’m suspecting the movement never came with a pulley originally like a French/Swiss pinwheel movement. My suspicion of the pulley is to reduce the amount of drop based on the case size. Just my suspicion.
Still curious about run duration.
Cheers,
James
 
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Joe B

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Jmeechie i thought the same, however there is a place in the movement case for the cord to be mounted and tied. Not where it is in the above photos but a seemingly appropriate tie off. Definitely could have been added later but adds to the mystery.

Ill update when it’s up and running and we discover the run duration. I’m also very curious! I have it broken down right now working on the veneer repair.

Will report back!
 
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bruce linde

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Jmeechie i thought the same, however there is a place in the movement case for the cord to be mounted and tied. Not where it is in the above photos but a seemingly appropriate tie off. Definitely could have been added later but adds to the mystery. Ill update when it’s up and running and we discover the run duration. I’m also very curious! I have it broken down right now working on the veneer repair. Will report back!

cool... and more photos, pls... for example, how the weight cord is tied off, case internals, etc. the more well-let in-focus photos, the better.
 
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