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William Terry Long Case

RickNB

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Sep 15, 2021
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I have found a bit of information, but not a lot, about htis clock. What I know is that it came from a family in New England that brought it with them from England in the later 1700's. I know that family history is often sketchy, but when a local clock antiquarian saw this clock he thought is was from the mid 1700's.

There are references to a William Terry working about the right time in Bedale Yorkshire. But to me the case doesn't seem right for a Yorkshire clock of that era. It looks to me more like a New England style, and I have heard that often immigrants would bring a movement and have a new case made once settled. Here are some pics - any info would be appreciated. If more detailed pics are helpful I can provide.

Terry Clock 1.jpg Face Plate 2.jpg Chapter Ring 2a.jpg Hand.jpg Rear Plate.jpg Movement.jpg Spandrel2.jpg Front Plate.jpg
 

zedric

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The case certainly doesn't look English, with the very tall base and correspondingly short door. And if the movement were in an English case, it would almost certainly be a square hood, to go with the rather humble one-handed 30 hour movement. So most likely the family brought the movement with them when they emigrated, as you theorise, and then had a case made locally.
 

RickNB

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Filling out some of the details about this clock....

Some of the information I have garnered suggests that the spandrels probably date from the period 1730-1765. They are fastened by square headed screws.
Spandrel2.jpg

The design of the 10" square brass dial dates from the mid 1700's. The movement pillars are of a shape prevalent from 1740 to 1800.

Post.jpg

Various accounts of William Terry clocks suggest dates from the mid 1700's to the early 1800's, working mostly in Yorkshire (Bedale, Masham for example). All pictures I have seen of W. Terry's clocks are more sophisticated and lean to a later date than the components I have shown. This leads me to believe that this is an early example of Terry's work, perhaps from the period when he apprenticed with his father (around 1770).

Any comments, opinions or further information would be appreciated.
 

ragobo

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Let's see what Novicetimekeeper has to say about it all ^^

About the case: I've learned that sometimes they can be modified a lot. For example: the swan neck top could be a later addition. The plinth also could not be the original one (perhaps is the picture but it looks darker to me).

I'm no expert at all so just speculating.
 

jmclaugh

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The spandrel pattern looks like the very popular two eagles supporting an urn though the eagles don't seem well defined. It is a pattern that is of limited help in dating a longcase as it was popular and in use over a long period of time. It looks a nicely proportioned case and the swan neck type of hood dates from around the mid 1700s on. The pillars are finned which is the earlier type but is not inconsistent with mid 18th C.

Loomes has a father (c 1770 died 1820) and son (working 1787 died 1848) with the name William Terry listed in Bedale Yorkshire, the son was later at Richmond. The dates for them suggest if this clock is by one of them it would be the father. There are another two with the name William Terry listed, one at Masham Yorkshire c 1770-1840 and one at Thoralby Yorkshire c1760-70, both are said to probably be the same man as at Bedale.
 

Mike Phelan

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The case certainly doesn't look English, with the very tall base and correspondingly short door. And if the movement were in an English case, it would almost certainly be a square hood, to go with the rather humble one-handed 30 hour movement. So most likely the family brought the movement with them when they emigrated, as you theorise, and then had a case made locally.
Agreed, regarding the case not being English.

I'm sure that the movement and dial belong together and date from the early 1700's. Any later clocks surely would have a minute hand.
 

RickNB

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Let's see what Novicetimekeeper has to say about it all ^^

About the case: I've learned that sometimes they can be modified a lot. For example: the swan neck top could be a later addition. The plinth also could not be the original one (perhaps is the picture but it looks darker to me).

I'm no expert at all so just speculating.
I believe the case is unmodified. I spent many years restoring antique furniture, so I'm confident in that assessment. The base may look darker in the photo, but that's just bad lighting.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Being single handed is not a clue to dating, they continued right up to white dial clocks.

If it was a Southern clock you could use things like the rings on the pillars to help date it but it is a Northern clock so all bets are off on that.

I think the spandrel is a version of the other urn spandrel which is #24. It appears mid 18th century onwards. The twin eagle and urn is the worst for dating as it goes from 1709 with Tompion and the clock in the pump room in Bath to the end of the brass dial period.
 

RickNB

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Being single handed is not a clue to dating, they continued right up to white dial clocks.

If it was a Southern clock you could use things like the rings on the pillars to help date it but it is a Northern clock so all bets are off on that.

I think the spandrel is a version of the other urn spandrel which is #24. It appears mid 18th century onwards. The twin eagle and urn is the worst for dating as it goes from 1709 with Tompion and the clock in the pump room in Bath to the end of the brass dial period.
Thanks for the info.

No matter which way I look at it, there doesn't seem to be even a hint of an eagle in the spandrels. More and more I feel this movement is from the second half of the 18th century, with a case made in New England in the early 19th century. Everything seems to point that way, from the maker's name, the owner's family history, the style (survival of a style that was largely passe) and what seems to be an early production from the maker. There are far more sophisticated examples of William Terry clocks, leading me to believe that this is an early attempt, possibly while apprenticing with his father. And the case is typical of early 1800's New England. I see no inconsistencies in this view of the piece. Always willing to hear other opinions.
 

zedric

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This type of movement would have been made to order - if you had the money for something more grand, I’m sure at this date William would have been able to make it at whatever period in his career. So this movement was ordered by someone who didn’t want to spend as much money as, say, you’d need to spend for an eight day clock, or a two handed clock.

Certainly single handed clocks were less common later in William’s career, but that is because customers became more used to seeing them, and so wanted a two handed clock. But single hand would always have been available as a cheaper option, right up until white dial clocks were started to be made, as novice mentioned.
 

jmclaugh

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If you haven't seen it this link about a William Terry of Bedale may be of interest. The clock is a white dial longcase by him in a museum in Oz and mentions an author and his book on Bedale clockmakers.

 

novicetimekeeper

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But single hand would always have been available as a cheaper option, right up until white dial clocks were started to be made, as novice mentioned.
I've seen a few single handed white dials, more than enough to indicate they may have been fairly common given how many white dial clocks were made and have subsequently been destroyed.

The ones I have seen were all posted frame movements. I've sometimes considered buying one as it is a gap in my collection but I manage to put myself off by telling myself there is a reason I don't have one already. My guess is they don't continue much after 1800, but I know a turret clock in a church tower that wasn't installed until 1784 and that was one handed when installed, later modified.
 

Mike Phelan

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The ones I have seen were all posted frame movements. I've sometimes considered buying one as it is a gap in my collection but I manage to put myself off by telling myself there is a reason I don't have one already.
These would have been in the east or south of England, though.
My guess is they don't continue much after 1800, but I know a turret clock in a church tower that wasn't installed until 1784 and that was one handed when installed, later modified.
Many turret clocks were and are still single handed - they would not be too accurate until Denison devised the gravity escapement in Victorian times.
 

novicetimekeeper

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These would have been in the east or south of England, though.

Many turret clocks were and are still single handed - they would not be too accurate until Denison devised the gravity escapement in Victorian times.
The posted frames were generally more common where lantern clocks had been made but you get posted frames from the north west too.

Not sure why Anchor escapement turrets would not be accurate enough for two hands.

Anyway, the point is that single longcase were made throughout the brass dial period and are not generally a guide to dating. London clocks would be the exception 30 hour London longcase don't go on much after 1700, and single handed longcase are generally 30 hour. ( though not exclusively)

Longcase fell out of favour in London as they took off in the provinces, and provincial customers seem to have been happy to stick with single handers quite doggedly.
 

RickNB

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If you haven't seen it this link about a William Terry of Bedale may be of interest. The clock is a white dial longcase by him in a museum in Oz and mentions an author and his book on Bedale clockmakers.

Thanks - I have seen that. And also a link to an exhibition of clocks from Yrorkshire where I found this example of "William Terry of Masham":

FineTerryDial.png

Whereas I would call this an elegant dial, I would call the dial on the clock I have handsome, but not elegant.

So now have seen references to clocks by William Terry of Bedale, Masham and Richmond. Either the guy moved around a bit in that area of Yorkshire, or there were an inordinate number of William Terrys in the Richmond area : - )

Just occurred to me - does anybody know if there is a relationship between Terry of Yorkshire and the American Eli Terry?
 

RickNB

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Any comments about the bell? It's not brass/bronze, and it goes "doink" rather than "ding". It's not the way the hammer strikes, nor the mounting of the bell - both are good.
 

Isaac

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Perhaps there is a small crack in the bell.

Any comments about the bell? It's not brass/bronze, and it goes "doink" rather than "ding". It's not the way the hammer strikes, nor the mounting of the bell - both are good.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Put the bell on a sharpened pencil and strike it smartly with another. If you get a clunk rather than a crisp ring tone you have a cracked bell. They can be repaired or replaced.
 

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