Very Unusual Pillar & Scroll Case

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Jim DuBois, Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I took possession yesterday of a clock case that is a bit different. It is a form of pillar & scroll, but it is different than any I have photos of or have seen, and that may be more than 1000 images on file. It is most unusual in that its base is stepped out at the lower end of the columns.

    The only example of a P&S form that is similar in the base construction is this Ives and Lewis. And to that point, I am 99% confident that case was built by the same person or shop. Who that party might be remains unknown? Ives and Lewis were in business 1818-1823. The Ives & Lewis movements are roller pinion and they were made in a fashion to avoid interference with Terrys patent on his mantle clock movements. But, those movements are substantially different than what was used in this loose case.

    In this loose case, the movement mounts with 4 pins, as do many wood works of the period. In the Ives & Lewis case, the movement mounts to the backboard, no pinning to the rails. The loose case uses an 10" dial also where most WW clocks use 11" or slightly larger dials.

    The base of the loose case is slotted for feet, but there is no indication they were ever fit. No remaining glue, the patina is the same inside the slots as the base itself, etc. The scrolls on both clocks are fit in the same fashion, have nearly identical glue blocks and other construction details.

    So, anybody have any idea who may have made this clock or what it may have had for a movement/dial? It has only a couple of loose fragments remaining of its original label. I would guess it is only slightly later than the Ives and Lewis shown here and I also suspect it was not Ives related directly. Subsequent Ives movements of this general period became what we call seatboard groaners and this case did not use any of the several variants of those movements. The last photo shows 3 seatboard groaners just in case they are not familiar to you. The loose case is 2" shorter and almost 2" more narrow than the larger clock, yet all the joinery is done up in the very same way between the two cases. I don't know if the feet on the example uses the rectangular cut-outs or more conventional round dowels.

    20190815_172817 (2).jpg 20190815_172720 (2).jpg 20190815_172712 (2).jpg 20190815_195231 (2).jpg 20190815_195301 (3).jpg 20190815_172543 (3).jpg 20190815_195820 (2).jpg 20190815_200020 1.jpg 20190815_172907.jpg 20190815_172902.jpg 20190815_172647.jpg 20190815_172651.jpg 2017-07-26 20.14.30.jpg
     
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  2. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User
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    the similarities cannot be coincidental. it seems odd that the bracing blocks (the same in both cabinets) were finished off the way they were even though they really don't show.


    i spy Bari in the background of a couple of those pics
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Very interesting.

    I agree with your assessment re:the overall similarity of form & construction details.

    I will comment that the Ives is, to my eyes, a rather clunky affair & lacks much of the grace of the P&S form. The smaller case is much better in that regard.

    Sorry to be a bit of a dunce but I assume that the pic of the top of the case without pullies is the Ives? That being the case so also supports a more Terry-like movement having been in the other?

    I have no comparables to offer, just impressions. The empty case does remind me just a bit of those Torrington P&S cases but that’s not it.

    RM
     
  4. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    RM, yes you are correct. The Ives has the pullies located down further, screwed to the backboard. And I fully agree the Ives is more than a bit clunky. But, it makes up for its lack of style by being a bit more than really rare? From the patches on the backboard and some additional screw holes, it looks like the pullies have moved about a bit. And the smaller case does have proportions similar to those of some Torrington P&S's. The similarities end there. I neglected to mention the sides of the loose case are carved inside to allow a larger diameter weight than normally found. It was done a very long time ago and was done before the case was assembled. Not that adds to our knowledge, just something different noted.

    Here is some published background on what was going on at the time this loose case came into existence;

    In regard to the Ives clock/movement "This was probably the first movement for a shelf clock designed to legitimately circumvent the Terry 1816 patent. The date of origin for this movement is suggested to have been 1817. Variations of this movement in clocks later offered by Ives & Lewis and Merriman, Birge & Co., will be noted subsequently." (From Ken Roberts on Ives)

    The use of the "seatboard groaner" movements followed this example almost immediately. Nobel Jerome was working for Ives, Chauncy Jerome arrived in Bristol in 1820. From the very few clues we have regarding the loose case, those clues suggest a date of 1817 at the early point or maybe 1821 at the latest. Boardman did not arrive until 1824, both Terry and Thomas were busy arguing over Terry's patents, but both were producing strap movements, neither product would fit into the loose case as configured. An Ives iron or brass plate mirror clock movement would not mount in the fashion seen in the loose case. So, it looks like finding a case with its original movement intact is perhaps the only way to pin this down further?

    As to who made this case I have not found any indication as to who was building case for Ives but we might want to consider this; "Eli Terry, Samuel Terry (his brother), Seth Thomas, Silas Hoadley, Chauncey Jerome and Ephraim Downs. All of these men originally worked on clocks in Plymouth. It is interesting to note that the only apprenticed clockmaker of this group was Eli Terry. Samuel had been a harness maker and worked with leather. The other four were trained as joiners or carpenters." (From Ken Roberts on Terry)

    20190817_064528 (2).jpg 20190816_121335.jpg 20190817_064522 (2).jpg
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #5 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Aug 17, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2019
    Yes, just an observation on it's appearance, not its desirability.

    Since I'm just visually comparing cases/case features unencumbered by the thought process, let me suggest looking at the upper 1/2 of the Ives and comparing that to the flat pilaster and scroll cases used by the Jerome firms of that period as well as Ives.

    scroll ives.PNG scroll 2 j&t, j&d.JPG


    That reminds me of the flat pilaster and scroll cases. Could whomever made those cases have made the Ives and your mystery case??

    Just to note for the record. I would suggest that both cases have had what appear to be replacement of the glue blocks on one of the scroll returns. In the back shots, on the viewer's right for the Ives, on the viewer's left for the mystery case. The mystery case may have one replaced glue block behind the scroll on the viewer's left and one missing behind the central pillar? Otherwise, the glue blocks all look quite original and undisturbed. I also find it curious that the "chimneys" on the mystery case don't have a hole for a finial. Just the central pillar does.

    Re: glue block comparisons. I tend to be cautious about them unless there is something distinctive about them or their arrangement. Otherwise, I find they tend to be more alike than different. Then again, how they're shaped and how they're arranged, taken along with other construction features, can suggest a common shop, maker or regional furniture making characteristic. The spacing of the blocks is different on the Ives vs. the mystery case. That might reflect the differing dimensions of the case. Given the above, thought It might be interesting to compare the glue blocks on the flat pilaster and scroll cases. I don't have great pix of them, but it looks different.

    The mystery remains.

    RM
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    PS: ignore the last image at the very end that is on its side. I can't see to edit it out. Maybe one of the moderators can??

    RM
     
  7. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    RM, yes, the two cases both have replaced glue blocks, the Ives has replaced blocks on the left-hand return, as viewed from the case front and the empty case has a restored block on the right return. And the two outboard chimney caps are replacements from appearances, I have not yet pulled either cap, but I would expect to find the chimneys drilled for finials.

    I think you are correct that the cases were most likely all made in the same shop, those being the very large Ives mirror clocks, the reeded P&S clocks, and both cases in this thread. Mary Jane Dapkus has linked the case production for the mirror clocks to the Roberts family, specifically the two sons of Gideon Roberts, Titus, and Elias, IIRC. Also in that mix is Sextus and Lott Newell but they seem, investors, not case makers. The Roberts family was involved in at least 1 or 2 partnerships with Ives during this period. Complicating this whole mess was that Ives was making three different style movements for at least three different case styles, all pretty much at the same time. Those case styles would be the large mirror clocks, the reeded P&S clocks, and even more funky P&S clocks like we see in this thread. The three movement styles would be those 8-day metal movements in the large mirror clocks, the seatboard groaners used in the reeded P&S clocks, and a very few such as seen in this Ives above. There is a definite tie into Jerome regards the reeded P&S as they sold those under their own name, and with that of Darrow but all those were just a bit later.

    Mary Jane Dapkus has located additional documentation of Nobel Jerome working for Ives commencing during the earlier “mirror clock period.” She offers the following comments: “a document from Ives' CT insolvency in 1820, in which he stated that Joseph Ives & Co. employed ten workmen exclusive of himself, Elias and Titus M. Roberts, and Noble Jerome, not counting unidentified numbers of persons making the pinions and faces (all very interesting)." So by the evidence, it is reasonable to say that Noble Jerome was working for and with Joseph Ives & Co. as early as 1818 when Joseph Ives & Co. was formed. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly when they started working together.

    So, these photos show a more or less conventional movement fits the case well, all the locating holes line up properly, the back of the movement is flush with the backboard, and the hour and minute tubes extend properly to provide hand clearance of a normal thickness wood dial, etc. Unfortunately, the movement is 15 years later than the case, and at the time the case was apparently made I am not finding any movements of that period that fit, i.e. 1818-1824.

    Hence my search for similar styled cases to see what their labels might indicate and who might have made their movements.

    20190817_092033 (2).jpg 20190817_092114 (2).jpg 20190817_092114.jpg
     
  8. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Given how a later movement seems to fit so well, could that case style have been made later or for a longer period than we thought?

    RM
     
  9. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Well, that might well be the answer ultimately RM. But, even the remaining finish matches on the cases. Regards the bad photos above I had to mess with brightness and sharpness due to all the backlight, and that meddling leaves the case colors wrong. It seems hard to believe that two clocks could be made with all the matching details these two share, several years apart. The 10" dial is more in line with what we see on the Merriman Ives reeded P&S too. So, it is a mismatch on the dial too as compared to the 10 or 15 year later clocks/movements, along with the projected column base pieces. Other than the way the movement mounts at least some of the clues we have left would place the clock a bit later than the Ives & Lewis pictured above and earlier than the reeded P&S clocks by Birge and Merriman, Merriman and Lewis, and those by Jeromes and Darrow even later. None of those movements in those clocks would fit this case.
     
  10. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Hey Jim, I was tagged to chip-in on this discussion. For anyone curious, this clock case had been sitting on eBay for probably a few years unsold, with the seller asking way too much. I had loosely entertained the idea of making an offer on it, because I knew the shape was very unusual, interesting, and rare, but was not sure if it would be worth the trouble due to its lack of comparable examples, and the very bizarre arrangement of the base/feet situation. As I'm sure you all know, these "rescue projects" tend to be extremely expensive when all the individual parts need to be sourced-out to put a clock back together. Eventually it was relisted for practically free, and at that time I had come across the similar Ives & Lewis case with the similar stepped base, and same projecting upper pediment, and I shared this info with Jim, and suggested that someone more knowledgeable in Ives type clocks may want to chase it down for further investigation. This was around Nov 2018 if I recall.

    I have looked for other examples of similar clocks without much luck. The projecting top and stepped base are a VERY distinct design element that was rarely used. At least not on this style of clock. As has already been pointed out, the movement setup seems 10-15 years out of date based on the case design, and the clock case itself doesn't look like it's really been messed with too much (such as replaced backboard or new rail arrangement) aside from the usual wear and tear, and a few missing pieces.

    Now that we have access to two very similar cases side-by-side, the similarities are even more apparent. The discussion regarding the glue blocks is particularly interesting, since I have not seen all that many with both ends chamfered on them (as Brian said, seems like extra work for something that is not really going to be visible). It's even more curious that both cases share this detail in addition to the other details. Seems the earlier that things are, the more trouble/effort was put into them. This is true for wooden works movements (more ring decoration to the wheels, nicer pillars, additional roller bars, etc), and also extends to case construction. You can clearly see the layout knife marks for cutting the bottom mortise holes for the "feet". And later cases tend to be largely made with plain square/rectangular stock nailed and glued together, as opposed to dovetails, mortise joints, or glued and pegged ends. Older clocks also tend to have more glue blocks. I have never understood why wooden works clocks (the half-column and splat type) never used glued blocks along the backs of the centre splats while all PS clocks had them along all edges around the tops. I digress. Later glue blocks tend to be simply square stock with a chamfer on one edge, simple triangles, or even just square sticks.

    The part that annoys me and puzzles me the most about this mystery case is still the feet. What kind of arrangement would use rectangular offset holes near the edge? Even examples with carved feet tend to use "peg-leg" rear legs (fitted into round holes). I DO NOT believe this had claw feet. That would have seemed bizarre and overly fussy. But what kind of feet were meant to fit here? This clock would look nice with short bun/ball feet, or like the Ives with small peg-legs.

    I had not realized that the dial on this mystery case would be anything but standard size. When I first saw this case, it had a typical 1830s floral wooden works dial with red berries or flowers in the corners. I thought I had the images from the original listing saved, but unfortunately I no longer have them, or had not originally saved them. I have only one photo of it that shows the dial that was with it (which seems like the wrong type, but it DOES have no outer minute markings, so who knows for sure):

    Unusual-Antique-Long-Drop-Pillar-Scroll-Wood.jpg

    The hands are definitely wrong. I do believe it had a wooden works movement, but again: I don't have those photos.

    Would it be possible to get a close-up comparison of the pillar bases and capitals? They look the same, but I'd like to see a better image(s) of this. Not that it would confirm or change anything. Likewise, is the mystery clock case door built with a bridle joint, or the early mortise style construction? What door construction is used on the Ives? More details of the brass knob on the mystery clock. Is it original? Suspicious? No signs of a lock?

    I will keep an eye out, but so far I had already soured my archives.
     
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  11. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    JC, thanks for your extensive/expansive/well-thought-out response on this clock case. Like you, I remember seeing it when it had a movement and dial in the case, and like you I didn't save any photos or the write up on eBay. But, IIRC the asking price was something like $995 so I pretty much blew it off as it was too much $$$ for what the seller was calling a marriage (IIRC). I really do wish I had saved a copy of the movement photos and writeup, but, not the case. More recently the seller had decided to part it out and the case became very reasonable, like under $100, but with a "local pickup only" caveat. So, it was purchased and it got picked up at the time of the National some 7 months later.

    Your having noted the similarity to the Ives and Lewis back when really is the saving grace in this little opera. Had it not been for your note it might well have gone to the dump ultimately. It found its way to me this week and is now mine to further investigate and to restore and add to the collection if the restoration goes well.

    All that said, the only clock I (and you and others) have been able to find with the same lower base configuration is the Ives and Lewis roller pinion pictured in this thread. As far as I have been able to research that clock itself is one of one, making it one of the rarest Ives related clocks in the world. It is the singular clock that has been pictured in several publications over the last XX years, including Roberts book on Ives, and a few others.

    So, given the rarity of that clock, as well as the rarity of this empty case, their having been made in the same shop most likely by the same craftsman, and also given their early nature, this fragment becomes well worth additional investigation.

    As to your specific request for details;

    The doors in both clocks have mortice and tenon joints on all 4 corners.
    The door latch and knob appear original to each other and there is no sign of any other lock has been fit. The lock on the Ives and Lewis is missing but will be restored here before it leaves
    The capitals are integral to the columns at their bases both clocks
    The capitals are added on both clocks / columns at their tops
    Given the carved out weight chutes on the loose case, the same fairly large round weights could be used in either case. Both show round weight tracks in the chutes.

    I am a full agreement with your other thoughts about the restoration being expensive as well as your other thoughts overall. I would expect this clock to have had a mirror rather than a tablet.

    Now, as to a new finding that really does pin this case down to the same maker:

    One of the rear feet was a bit loose on the Ives and I needed to reglue it anyhow. So, with a bit of wiggle, it came right out. Well, what do we have but slots holding the feet on the Ives and Lewis also? Pretty much proof positive they came from the same shop IMO. If it ever had feet they have been gone for a very long time as detailed above. But, if there was any question as to their similarity I believe these feet slots are the final piece of evidence to say they are from the same shop/same craftsman. But who is that shop/maker remains the real question? And when was it made, I think very shortly after the Ives The missing movement is entirely un Ives like, not like Jeromes early work, not like Seth Thomas, or Eli Terry at this time, not like Boardmans work either, remember this all dates to something like 1816-1822.....we may never know for certain unless other examples with names/labels surface.

    20190818_151944.jpg 20190818_151644.jpg 20190818_151844.jpg 20190818_151938.jpg 20190818_151638.jpg 20190818_151558 (2).jpg 20190818_151609 (2).jpg 20190818_151434.jpg 20190818_151408.jpg 20190818_151455.jpg
     
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  12. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    I can't understand why go through SO MUCH EFFORT to make rectangular mortised feet, but there we have it. I think we can confidently say that the cases are made by the same cabinetmaker. We may never know who that is, however. Perhaps this was an experimental case design? The mortise type door construction fell out of fashion by I'd say mid 1830s maybe late 1830s. So much simpler, faster, and just as strong to make a bridle joint.
     
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  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    OK, after spending a lot of time trying to develop a timeline for the various folks making woodworks shelf clock movements circa 1820+/-, I turned to Ken Roberts book Eli Terry and the Connecticut Shelf Clock 2nd edition. There, after a lot of reading, there is sufficient information to at least suggest Eli Terry's 1821 patent describes a movement that would fit this clock precisely. And the time could certainly be close also.
    To wit; Apparently, Eli Terry was not entirely satisfied with his four-arbor train movement, specified in
    his 1816 patent. He introduced a new and final five-arbor train design (Model 5), possibly as early
    as 1821. His patent, "in wooden wheeled thirty-hour Clocks; and also in cases for the same,"
    granted May 26, 1823, specified this new design.

    This new Terry movement (Barr's Model 5) Taylor's type 1.111 first appeared in a pillar and scroll clock
    case about one and one-half inches higher than the one in which the previous four-arbor train movement was cased.
    The plates are six and a half inches wide, eight inches long, and one & three-fourths of an inch apart.

    Terry, in his patent submission, goes on to describe the movement in great detail, the patent was granted in 1826. He had referred to the movement in a previous 1823 paten application and had written he had been building this 5 arbor movement for some time prior to his submission. "with certificate of this 1823 patent, signed by James Monroe, President; John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State; and Hamilton Fish, Attorney General"

    So, it would appear this case was intended for the Terry 5 arbor movement type 1.111. It fits the case, and the timeline of the movement as compared to the empty case, as we think its construction details suggest as compared to the Ives and Lewis, also fits nicely. So, off to find an early Terry 5 arbor. And a smaller than normal dial? By about 3/4".

    terry 1823 patent ver.jpg Terry 123 patent pg2.jpg suitecase ogee ELT Jr. Co. (4).jpg
     
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  14. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User
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    I have a couple wood movements. The odds are slim, but if I happen to have a match, it’s yours
     
  15. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Thanks, Brian!
     
  16. George Goolsby

    George Goolsby Registered User
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    I don't think I have ever owned a type 5 but I have sometimes stumbled across movements without realizing what it was. I will look in my group of loose movements to see if we hit pay dirt and let you know if I find it.
     
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  17. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #17 Jim DuBois, Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
    I suspect if there is a Type 5 in Houston it will be found close to your stack....and thanks for looking. This has been an interesting adventure so far. Given that Terry specifies in his patent application the need for a taller case than his previous movements, and that his cases available to him were still short, drawing on a case such as we have in this thread seems reasonable. A few tenuous connections, but they do follow a rational series of assumptions. Need a taller case, don't have one, go to Jerome or a compatriot, ask for a special and new size, Jerome or whomever, whacks out something similar to what he had recently built for Ives, and presto, we have a proof of concept clock that fits the new movement? Like suggested, tenuous, but possible. And since we have located no other cases of this design we might assume it was never in any real production adding to the possibility of it being no more than a proof of concept, or a test mule, or something made of available bits and pieces at the time? The case construction details suggest it was not an accidentally built clock, complex joinery as well as the slotted feet locators etc. all suggest production would have been expensive, even then.

    It is interesting to note that Snowden's list shows the type 5 or 1.111 to have been used by Mark Leavenworth and Sons. From Roberts; "He started shelf clock production in 1822. His firms were Mark Leavenworth (1822-1825), Mark Leavenworth & Son (1825-1829), Mark Leavenworth & Co. (1829-1834) and Mark Leavenworth (1834-1835). The Terry patents were circumvented by modifying gear train layouts and altering wheel and pinion counts. Leavenworth produced at least four distinct thirty-hour clock movements, none of them like Terry's."

    So, it appears that his very earliest shelf clocks may have used the 1.111 but he quickly shifted to those they built themselves? So, this clock could have been a Leavenworth product also? More confusion or so it seems?
     
  18. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Couple of comments.

    Great discussion! The use of a blind tenon to attach feet on clocks is unusual. It does further suggest a possible shop/regional practice pointing to a common source for these cases but I know I've seen it before on period furniture. Just can't lay my mental hands on the reference. As I've stated before, there are caveats about comparing glue blocks. Comparing finishes more so.

    I've seen many chamfered glue blocks employed in non-visible places in 19th century clocks as well as furniture, etc. For me, not so unusual.

    RE: the multiple glue block behind splats. I in fact have at least 2 "transition" clocks where the splat is secured with multiple glue blocks placed behind it. There may be more, I don't remember. One is a fully carved Terry with 1/4 columns. The other, not surprisingly, is a true transition with stenciled splat that I have posted previously:

    img_3888-jpg.jpg

    Multiple chamfered glue blocks behind the splat. I suggest that this practice was abandoned as production ramped up and as it was deemed unnecessary as the splats were secured by slots in the chimney's. But I too digress.

    Finally, once again unencumbered by the thought process, here's a clock with case somewhat reminiscent of the one under discussion but from an unlikely place, also previously posted:

    crittendon.JPG

    A Simeon Crittenden MA Pillar and scroll. Alas, the case has been skinned.

    Some superficial similarities. I think it once had feet.

    Very interesting thread!

    RM
     
  19. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Thanks, RM. Good info as usual. That Crittenden base if certainly similar to, but I see nothing else about the case that is similar.

    Here is a bit more from the COG Counters Journal #14 page 96. Feet look similar, base looks similar, Levenworth movement. Hmm, the plot thickens. But, it looks like his movements are a bit unusual and I find no real ties from him to the Bristol raft of clockmakers. And they were not located close to each other. 150 miles +/- I think and there was no easy way to make that treck back then.

    Image 5.jpg Image 6.jpg
     
  20. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    RM, what is the dial size on the Crittenden?
     
  21. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Just a similarity of form. I guess it might be akin to comparing the fins of a shark to the fins of a seal.

    He made his own Leavenworth-like movements. Though far from the CT clock making centers, he must have had some exposure their products?? See this thread for more about him:

    Simeon Crittenden, Hawley, Massachusetts pillar & scroll, with an interesting story.

    Don't recall. I think it's pretty standard sized though locally made. Will have to check when I get home.

    RM
     
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