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Very unique Gilbert mantle clock - need help finding the date

Gage_robertson_collector

Registered User
May 4, 2021
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West Hartford, Connecticut
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Hello all,

I recently acquired a large collection of antique Tambour clocks, and one of the clocks they were selling was this Gilbert. after seeing the unique face design on the top of the case, I could not pass it up. It is fairly rough though, someone went along and used rub and buff pretty much all over the case, the trim, and the former marbleized sections on the case. Also, the left side feet on the clock are totaled. The back one is missing altogether, and the front one is mangled beyond repair. Unfortunately, these are unique as well, as I have not seen this design on any other black mantle clock feet. So it will be hard to find replacements. The whole clock is truly impressive and I hope to restore it to a usable and attractive condition. I just need help dating the clock, because unlike most Gilbert movements, the date is not stamped on the movement plate. However, I do have an original label on the bottom of the case which is in amazing condition considering the rest of the clocks issues. It is called the Triumph model, and I just wanted some info as to if someone knows when this model was first introduced in the Gilbert clock company. Also, how do you safely remove rub and buff from the black finish on a clock without damaging the original black finish. Thank you all, and I am open to all tips and advice as usual even if it does not regard dating the clock.

Thanks,

- Gage

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Tbucket

NAWCC Member
May 7, 2016
57
16
8
Easton, Pa
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Region
thank you. The top piece looks original to you? I couldn’t tell if it was original or added on later from a French clock or something like that.
Yes, the top piece on your clock matches the one shown in the book. As I think you know, the rub n buff should not be on the wooden part of the top piece.

The book has the following description: Eight day strike gong. half hour on cup bell. height 15", width 15-1/2", dial 5-1/2". Rococo sash. Gilt ornaments, caps & bases, Gilt engraved. Marbleized Columns & molding. White, cream or gilt perforated dial.
 

Gage_robertson_collector

Registered User
May 4, 2021
284
53
28
18
West Hartford, Connecticut
Country
Region
Yes, the top piece on your clock matches the one shown in the book. As I think you know, the rub n buff should not be on the wooden part of the top piece.

The book has the following description: Eight day strike gong. half hour on cup bell. height 15", width 15-1/2", dial 5-1/2". Rococo sash. Gilt ornaments, caps & bases, Gilt engraved. Marbleized Columns & molding. White, cream or gilt perforated dial.
Thank you. Do you have any advice for how I should get the gold rub and buff off of that top part of the case? I would hate to refinish the whole case as tghe rest of the finish is salvagable. It has a lot of cracks on the surface but it is intact. I would hate to risk losing the engravings that are on the case as well.
 

Gage_robertson_collector

Registered User
May 4, 2021
284
53
28
18
West Hartford, Connecticut
Country
Region
Yes, the top piece on your clock matches the one shown in the book. As I think you know, the rub n buff should not be on the wooden part of the top piece.

The book has the following description: Eight day strike gong. half hour on cup bell. height 15", width 15-1/2", dial 5-1/2". Rococo sash. Gilt ornaments, caps & bases, Gilt engraved. Marbleized Columns & molding. White, cream or gilt perforated dial.
Do you think a magic eraser or some household cleaner would get it off? Or, do you think I should post the how should I get the gold rub and buff off question in another post? haha
 

JTD

Registered User
Sep 27, 2005
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I would start by removing the top piece from the rest of the case, so that whatever you do in trying to remove the gold, you won't do any harm to the rest of the case.

Rub 'n' Buff comes off metal quite easily, using warm water and dish soap and/or a mildly abrasive household cleanser and a brush. I have never tried removing it from wood.

Is the surface of the top piece painted (under the Rub 'n' Buff)? If so, you could try soap and water, being careful not to get the piece too wet. The Rub 'n' Buff ought to come off a painted surface quite well. You would need a brush to get into the fine detail of the carving. However, if the wood is not painted or if it has been sanded before the Rub 'n' Buff was applied, it may have got into the grain of the wood and be difficult to remove.

I think you will have to experiment (if there is any Rub 'n' Buff of the back of the top piece try there first). But I suspect you may end up having to re-finish the top piece yourself to get the best result.

Others may have better thoughts.

JTD
 

Gage_robertson_collector

Registered User
May 4, 2021
284
53
28
18
West Hartford, Connecticut
Country
Region
I would start by removing the top piece from the rest of the case, so that whatever you do in trying to remove the gold, you won't do any harm to the rest of the case.

Rub 'n' Buff comes off metal quite easily, using warm water and dish soap and/or a mildly abrasive household cleanser and a brush. I have never tried removing it from wood.

Is the surface of the top piece painted (under the Rub 'n' Buff)? If so, you could try soap and water, being careful not to get the piece too wet. The Rub 'n' Buff ought to come off a painted surface quite well. You would need a brush to get into the fine detail of the carving. However, if the wood is not painted or if it has been sanded before the Rub 'n' Buff was applied, it may have got into the grain of the wood and be difficult to remove.

I think you will have to experiment (if there is any Rub 'n' Buff of the back of the top piece try there first). But I suspect you may end up having to re-finish the top piece yourself to get the best result.

Others may have better thoughts.

JTD
i think it is painted underneath still as there is a lot of cracking under where the rub and buff was applied to the case around that top ornament piece. I will try soap and water after removing the top decoration when I get home and let you know how it goes!!

- Gage
 

Tbucket

NAWCC Member
May 7, 2016
57
16
8
Easton, Pa
Country
Region
Thank you. Do you have any advice for how I should get the gold rub and buff off of that top part of the case? I would hate to refinish the whole case as tghe rest of the finish is salvagable. It has a lot of cracks on the surface but it is intact. I would hate to risk losing the engravings that are on the case as well.
I normally clean black enameled clocks with "Goop" hand cleaner (the one without pumice). I would test it first on the rub n buff, but I would think it will come off fairly easy.
 

Gage_robertson_collector

Registered User
May 4, 2021
284
53
28
18
West Hartford, Connecticut
Country
Region
I would start by removing the top piece from the rest of the case, so that whatever you do in trying to remove the gold, you won't do any harm to the rest of the case.

Rub 'n' Buff comes off metal quite easily, using warm water and dish soap and/or a mildly abrasive household cleanser and a brush. I have never tried removing it from wood.

Is the surface of the top piece painted (under the Rub 'n' Buff)? If so, you could try soap and water, being careful not to get the piece too wet. The Rub 'n' Buff ought to come off a painted surface quite well. You would need a brush to get into the fine detail of the carving. However, if the wood is not painted or if it has been sanded before the Rub 'n' Buff was applied, it may have got into the grain of the wood and be difficult to remove.

I think you will have to experiment (if there is any Rub 'n' Buff of the back of the top piece try there first). But I suspect you may end up having to re-finish the top piece yourself to get the best result.

Others may have better thoughts.

JTD
I managed to get all the gold gilt off the top. Ended up using oxi-clean all purpose cleaner and a brass wire brush. Cleaned up nice I think.
- gage

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RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
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Loxahatchee, Florida
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Trans du lay (forgive spelling, don't remember now) makes clock collector identifying books. One for each manufacturer.

On the restoration I tend to lean on the "just clean it, get the dirt off and get it running". This is because often the changes are permanent.

So, before I decide on modifying, I clean and possibly polish surfaces. Then use the clock for a while so I can get accustomed to it.

It's a balance of consideration. Too much repair sucks the soul out of the clock. The age/patina is a cherished thing. Dirt on the other hand is neglect.

Take something like a paper dial. It's perfectly functional, but the whitey white shiny new crispness kills the joy, for me anyway. But hey, I even enjoy the smell of an old clock.

When I go too far, wreck the patina, it gives me a repeated sense of shame, not real bad, but not real happy. So from then on its like, ah, well, that was a bad decision. I have to put it out of my mind each time I see it.

So now I am slow for modifying. No shame in cleaning and restoring function. That's what was attractive about clock repairing in the first place. The challenge of could I do it.

When I think about it, why buy an old clock in the first place. If all I am trying to do is restore to perfection. Brand new, shiny clocks, I can go to Wal-Mart. Get a nice quartz and never have to struggle winding etc..

So, it must be that awkward, clanky, bangy, beautiful, mysterious energy of a thing still trudging along happily, at my request, that gives a ton more soul than something smacking of plastic stank.

A beautiful old virgin, minus her dirt. Such a pleasure. I can walk by and gently touch her. That's how we flirt.
 
Last edited:

Gage_robertson_collector

Registered User
May 4, 2021
284
53
28
18
West Hartford, Connecticut
Country
Region
Trans du lay (forgive spelling, don't remember now) makes clock collector identifying books. One for each manufacturer.

On the restoration I tend to lean on the "just clean it, get the dirt off and get it running". This is because often the changes are permanent.

So, before I decide on modifying, I clean and possibly polish surfaces. Then use the clock for a while so I can get accustomed to it.

It's a balance of consideration. Too much repair sucks the soul out of the clock. The age/patina is a cherished thing. Dirt on the other hand is neglect.

Take something like a paper dial. It's perfectly functional, but the whitey white shiny new crispness kills the joy, for me anyway. But hey, I even enjoy the smell of an old clock.

When I go too far, wreck the patina, it gives me a repeated sense of shame, not real bad, but not real happy. So from then on its like, ah, well, that was a bad decision. I have to put it out of my mind each time I see it.

So now I am slow for modifying. No shame in cleaning and restoring function. That's what was attractive about clock repairing in the first place. The challenge of could I do it.

When I think about it, why buy an old clock in the first place. If all I am trying to do is restore to perfection. Brand new, shiny clocks, I can go to Wal-Mart. Get a nice quartz and never have to struggle winding etc..

So, it must be that awkward, clanky, bangy, beautiful, mysterious energy of a thing still trudging along happily, at my request, that gives a ton more soul than something smacking of plastic stank.

A beautiful old virgin, minus her dirt. Such a pleasure. I can walk by and gently touch her. That's how we flirt.
very well written. Thank you for this.
 
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