Unusual Wooden Works Clock

Wade Hubble

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I recently purchased this clock and it looks different from any other clock I have seen. It is verge and foliot with metal pins pushed into a wooden gear for the verge and a metal foliot with metal weights a I've. The is an adjustable coiled spring that seems to provide a more consistent motion, it is adjustable. The clock is about 18" tall, 10" wide and 10" deep. I brushed off a lot of dust, added some weight and the clock runs. I was told it came from an estate in Boston and was serviced in the 1970s. There are modern screws stuck in to tighten some joints, no dial face, no minute hand. I think the hour hand is original but not sure. I was told that it could be an early piece made by John Harrison. Has anyone seen a clock like this? Any information would be appreciated.

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Jim DuBois

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You certainly have an interesting mechanism there. I don't think I see the hand of Harrison in it, he used segmented gears and the like, used roller pinions in at least some of his works, and he was pretty much always in search of accurate time keeping, which I think your mechanism sort of precludes. All that considered, it appears to have a good amount of age, and is quite different from wood works from the black forest, or for that matter from the colonies. I am aware of one American clockmaker who made a torsion pendulum wood works with a similar escape wheel. That would be Joseph Ives, and NO, I don't think this to be his work. I suspect it is European, not from the colonies, maybe 18th century but that is guessing on my part.

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PatH

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Cool clock, and certainly not something I'm familiar with. This thread shows a verge and foliot clock, and includes references to a couple of books that might help? Perhaps Jeremy Woodoff has seen some similar clocks since the time he posted his clock, or there might be others posted elsewhere on the forum.
18th century Black Forest verge & foliot clock
 

Wade Hubble

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Thank you for your input. I'm going to set it up to run today. The striking mechanism should be interesting to watch.
 

Jim DuBois

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Wade, that is an extremely interesting device. I have been into woodworks clocks for a long time. I have not seen very many that are remotely similar to yours. And the comment as to Harrison, I can see why some folks might think there is a linkage, and there might be, but not from the master's hands, or so I think.

harrison 2.jpg harrison 1.jpg harrison.jpg harrison 4.png
 

Wade Hubble

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Hi Jim, thanks for writing, I appreciate your help. I was wondering if there was a Harrison connection as I saw clock pics on the internet with a similar striking mechanism. I was wondering if it might have been an early experimental piece. I have not seen many wooden works clocks, it was the escapement that I thought was interesting. I saw a drawing on materials from the Seiko Museum, it was supposedly from Huygens. I don't think the clock is that early.
 

Wade Hubble

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Here are a few more pics. The first pic is the gear right behind the dial. What could the carvings under the gears be for? The second Pic shows part of the strike mechanism. The 3rd pic shows the alarm and the 4th pic kind of shows the hammers that strike for the alarm.

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Wade Hubble

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I don't know that either. This clock seems to have a lot more questions than answers. I have more to do to try and connect the alarm. I am guessing that the lever may connect to the alarm.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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verry interesting indeed,congrats! I agree with Tom : the "carvings" should work as a ratchet with a pawl.
Burkhard
 

Sooth

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I would tend to agree that it's European. The wood used in the frame looks a lot like English Oak very much like what Harrison would have used. I do see some VAGUE similarities to some very early Black Forest clocks, but not enough to say that I think it comes from that region.
 

Burkhard Rasch

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I´d like to see the escapement, if possible in action = as a video. The purpose of the empty holes in the ew. is unclear to me, were there more "teeth" in the past, and for what reason someone pulled every second pin?? I see a "hairspring" (quiet a big rough "hair" thoughg...) and even a kind of Bosley regulator. My gut feeling is : genuine American per the pinions especially; and this kind of regulator , that was unknown in the late 18th and thoughout the 19th cent. in ther Black Forest region of Germany. I´ve never seen a BF wooden gears clock with a haispring balance in my life. Maybe one-of-a-kind made for studying purposeby one of the early American wooden movement makers.
Burkhard
 

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