We all owe a huge debt to the brave souls that lost their lives protecting us in this country and providing the freedom we now have today. With 100 years since the start of World War I, I would like to write a short blog as my form of dedication and memory to them.
In an effort to help us win World War One clock factories and many other factories in the UK changed production from things like clocks to miltary hardware. Smiths and Sons based in Cricklewood, were one such company, they were established in 1851 had a very technical workforce and as well as clocks that were needed for the war effort, they helped with things like fuse production. This company also produced the first odometer and speedometer. We are all in this together was not just a saying but in real action during the war years, everyone chipped in with helping with the war effort, and confronting the foe that stood before us.
We have just had the honour of restoring for sale a superb antique grandfather clock by John King of London. It is not often you get any real history or insight into what was going on through periods of the clocks life, with this clock we get an insight into what war life was like in WWI.
Engraved on the movement are the following things that really sends a shiver to the spine.
Cleaned & Repaired By W.U.Holmes September 1914
‘At war with Germany & Austria and still smiling ‘
Later Engraved in Nov/December 1917
‘War still on. But no smiles now.’ W.U.Holmes
You really get the impact on life, through this small engraving, into effect of the war years by a horologist at the time. When I am ever miserable or think I wish I had this or that, I think back to conditions and hardships back during wartime and realize just how lucky most of us are today. My thoughts go out to all those who gave up their lives so we have our freedom that we live with today. We owe a great debt to women during the World War’s who manned most of the factories at home whilst their husbands were fighting on the front line, making ammunitions and things vital to the war effort.
A while back now I wrote a blog about moon-phase antique clocks but after we restored this superb antique grandfather clock by James Clarke of London, I thought it was important to write a little more about London mahogany moon-phase clocks in particular and why they are so rare and sought after. The link to the earlier blog can be found here: Moonphase antique clocks Blog
Further information about the James Clarke grandfather clock can be found by going to : James Clarke Antique Grandfather Clock
This clock above is a simply beautiful example of a London moon-phase clock. You will notice the high quality matted centre to the cast brass dial. Chapter ring and spandrels, subsidiary calendar and recessed seconds feature, lovely engraving to the moon discs to the arch. The name is prominently engraved to the cartouche around the arch, beautiful painted moon disc and a special extra feature of strike/silent lever to the three o’clock position on the dial.
The picture above shows the beautiful working of this James Clarke 8 day antique clock, you will notice one large extending piece of brass for the front plate top, so that the dial feet can miss the moon disc. Lovely high quality 5 pillar London movement, all now beautifully restored back to showroom condition.
I will now return to why so few London clocks have moon features. I suppose there are two main reasons, the first reason which is an important point to start from is the size of the London dials. Provincial 12 inch dials tend to be 17 inches high which would allow for a full semi circle to the arch, easily enough space for a feature like a rotating moon disc. On a London clock the height is 1 inch less, that means on a 12 inch wide dial, the height of the dial is only 16 inches. The space to the arch is now no longer a full semi-circle then and far more restricting. On the dial above you will notice the arch is not a semi-circle and the cartouche around the arch tapers to the centre.
The second reason is centred around the fact that London is London, trading in the UK outside London was not really required back then, there were plenty of wealthy clients in and around London. Moons generally were required to check when to travel, generally merchants would travel on and around full moons, so the risk of the Highwayman was not so great. Clearly some clocks like those with high tide, will also occur sometimes with moons. Knowing when your high tide in your local port like London bridge was also important for the merchants. Travelling around London with the fact they had good street lighting fired by oil lamps after 1750 was not so hazardous, so knowing when the next full moon was, was not really as important.
As discussed in my other blog about moon phase clocks, there were lots of different types of moon, but it is the rolling moon like that on the James Clarke clock that was the most popular. Two moons appear on these discs, but only one can be visible at any one time. Generally on London clocks the moon is accompanied by a starry sky rather than country scenes on provincial clocks. There are, as previously discussed, 29 and a half days in a lunar month, we divide up the 12 months into either 31, 30,29 or 28 days to compensate. The exact lunar cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds I believe, I hope my memory is right ! The clocks moon as it is 29 and a half days and is therefore fairly accurate, once set !
The James Clarke antique grandfather clock picture above shows what a top quality clock should look like. Not only the dial and movement show amazing high quality features and detailing, the case shows only the finest London case making features of the late 18th century. Quarter columns, brass capitals to the base, moulding to bridge top door and base and 2 plinths are but some of these lovely features. To view this clock please visit our shop in London, Pendulum of Mayfair or contact us through our website http://www.pendulumofmayfair.co.uk . James Clarke is listed as working in Newgate Street, London and was apprentice in 1760 and a member of the Clockmakers Company from 1768-78.
Daniel R Clements
#SBS Theo Paphitis Winner August 2014 : Antique Clocks Twitter
Exclusive Club of Theo Paphitis #SBS Winners
The 11th August 2014 was a special day for Pendulum of Mayfair, we managed to receive the prized retweet from Dragon’s Den entrepreneur, Theo Paphitis. Pendulum now joins the ranks of the exclusive club of Small Business Sunday (#SBS) winners. For Theo to pick our buisiness amongst the thousands that tweet to him every Sunday, we are deeply honoured.
We all know Theo Paphitis as a very successful businessman, he is the owner of various major retailers Ryman the Stationers, Robert Dyas, Red Letter Days and Boux Avenue. He also has many other business interests and is still working on many tv programs, even after his sad retirement from Dragons Den. I am one of many millions of fans of that program and his input to this series was amazing. Theo is also a champion of small business’s, Theo’s initiative to help small business promote themselves was the formation on twitter of #SBS or hashtag SBS standing for Small Business Sunday. Each Sunday between 5-7:30pm, business owners tweet Theo, explaining in no more than 140 characters why they would make worthy winners. Theo then chooses just the 6 best businesses from the hundreds of entries to retweet to his over 440,000 followers, these business’s can then join the growing #SBS family. Winning businesses then complete an entry on Theo’s SBS website, promoting their services through the directory of winners. Our new listing can be found here: Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Winners
“I’m feeling so proud of what we’ve achieved, although winning the Theo Paphitis #SBS award has come as a complete shock.” says Daniel Clements, antique clocks specialist at Pendulum. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support received on Twitter and the huge number of new followers we’ve attracted already. It’s an amazing honour to join such a wonderful group of businesses and a lovely new community of friends.”
I decided to post our tweet alongside our lovely antique clocks in our London shop, the winning tweet was short and sweet – @TheoPaphitis – For only the most genuine fully restored antique clocks – pendulumofmayfair.co.uk #SBS
Genuine and fully restored antique clocks are the cornerstone of our business ever since we started 20 years ago Pendulum of Mayfair and for over 40 years with Coppelia Antiques. We have grown year on year from a small base to now stocking some of the finest antique clocks and pieces of furniture anywhere on the globe. We employ all our own restoration staff for both the horology and cabinet departments, all repairs are carried out sympathetically and to the highest standards. Preservation of the originality of the piece is foremost in our minds.
My father Roy Clements was one of the first I believe of all the clocks editors of the famous Millers Antiques Price Guide up to 1984, his considerable knowledge has rubbed off on me. Ever since I was a small boy I used to travel with my father on business trips and to major auctions in the pursuit of the finest antiques. I learned everything about what to look for and how these pieces that had not been touched in years, could be transformed into showroom condition. My father was one who pointed out to me to cover every aspect within the business. I have worked in both the furniture restoration and clock movement repair departments. Every day is different for me and no clock movement is exactly the same, we are always learning.
I have worked in the antique business full time since leaving university over 20 years ago but to tell you the truth even during those three years I was more interested in what was happening back in the business. My love of antique clocks has never diminished, I am just so happy that someone of the stature of Theo, whom I very much admire, gave time to this SBS venture and also chose us as one of his 6 businesses he clearly thought was special enough to re-tweet.
Pendulum of Mayfair has now become one of the foremost antique clocks businesses in the world with an impressive array of accolades. As a hugely well-respected dealer, Pendulum has featured in leading newspapers such as The Sunday Times and appeared many times on national television in the UK. They were highly commended in the category of ‘ Best Interiors Boutique’ at The Mayfair Awards 2012, in association with The Mayfair Magazine, Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Perrier-Jouet. Pendulum also received congratulations from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for Business and was listed in the prestigious Who’s Who of Business Elite for 2002.
We have sold our antique clocks all around the world and we have met many vip’s in the process. We undertake many repairs and look after the antique clocks for many famous London institutions. Over the last few years we have restored back to their former glory the antique clocks in the Russian Embassy in London. The Ambassador, His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, and his staff were absolutely amazing with us and it was a special honour being entrusted with this work.
For further information please call 0207 629 6606 or email Daniel at [email protected]
Out now increasing Twitter following can be found here, please follow for upcoming antique clocks news: Pendulum Clocks Twitter
I have written many pieces about different types of antique clocks. In my next few blogs, I would like to concentrate on clockmaking from different parts of the British Isles. My first port of call is to the great country of Scotland. As I speak this great country is still part of the United Kingdom, and fingers crossed after over 300 years of being together, it will still be part of the United Kingdom come September 2014.
A great reference book on this topic is Scottish Clockmakers, this is written by John Smith, this charts the development of clockmaking in Scotland from 1453 to 1850. In this book it shows the importance of the Hammermen in Scotland as an organization governing antique clocks and various other trades. In London, clocks were produced by the rules governed by the Clockmakers Company. By 1650 clockmakers started increasing in Scotland this was when the clockmakers started being recognized by this branch of the locksmith trade, the various Hammermen Incorporations. The clockmakers were recognized as a branch of the Hammermen in in Edinburgh, in Glasgow, in Haddington, and not until in Aberdeen.
Below I have given some but by no means all of the leading lights of Scottish antique clockmaking in the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries, apologies to those makers I have left out, as the list is very long.
There were a number of very distinguished Scottish makers: such men as Humphrey Milne, ; Andrew Brown, 1665-1712 Edinburgh; Alexander Brownlie, 1710-39 Edinburgh; James Cowan, 1744-81 Edinburgh; John Smith of Pittenweem, 1770-1814; George Munro, 1743-1804 Edinburgh; Paul Roumieu and son,1677-1717 Edinburgh; Thomas Gordon, 1688-43 Edinburgh; Thomas Reid 1762-1823 Edinburgh (Reid & Auld 1806-23); James Gray 1765-1806 Edinburgh; James Howden and son 1764-1842 Edinburgh; John/Laurence Dalgleish 1742-1821 Edinburgh; Alexander Dickie 1762-1808 Edinburgh; Alexander Cumming 1733-1814 Edinburgh /London; finally Dallaway and sons Edinburgh 1785-1812 being but a few of them.
The last entry on this list deserves a mention even though they are not strictly clockmakers, Dallaway produced nearly all the white dial grandfather clock dials in Edinburgh during the end of the 18th century. In England this was carried out in Birmingham by Wilson and Osborne.
There are some very special names on the list above, John Smith produced some amazing clocks from a tiny fishing village called Pittenweem in the 18th century, you will notice most of the other top makers come from the major towns like Edinburgh. To produce the spectacular clocks that John Smith did in such a tiny place miles from anywhere is astonishing, and deserves special mention. He has clocks in Royal collections and there is a superb example pictured below. The case I believe was purchased from a London case maker on John Smiths only recorded visit to London. A really rare example.
The finest Scottish Grandfathers clocks from the middle to the end of the 18th century had there very own distinctive elegant case style as shown by the clock pictured by the top clockmaker below.
You will notice superb case design on the Pre C1800 antique clocks from the east coast of Scotland. The clock above is from Prestonpans is a small town to the east of Edinburgh, but for all account is classical Edinburgh case design for the period. Antique Clocks from Edinburgh and further through Perth and Dundee to Aberdeen case design is really good. I must admit in over 40 years of seeing clocks to the west coast of Scotland though the case design is not the finest in this vicinity. Whereas we have owned and sold hundreds of clocks from Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee, we have only wanted to own one clock from Glasgow in all that time. Most of the time the grandfather clocks from the west coast are not so elegant, and the hoods tend to be not greatly proportioned. It is in my opinion clocks from cities like Edinburgh and the east coast of Scotland managed to find some of the best proportions in case design of all clocks, and Glasgow case design some of the worst. The contrast in design is very large but I suppose everyone’s taste is different ! In the picture below you will see the lovely figuring of the mahogany to the trunk door, many Scottish examples have this twirl to the trunk door from the tree veneers. A lovely feature, quarter columns etc make the elegance of the Scottish cabinets even better. You will not go far wrong in choosing an antique grandfather clock from Scotland, especially if it was made pre C1800 and from the east coast of Scotland.
We also stock a superb selection of Scottish antique clocks, most of them pre C1800 but occasionally we have a lovely later Scottish clock like this one from a small town called Old Deer, you can find this clock by clicking here: Old Deer Scottish Antique Grandfather Clock.
Daniel Clements – Pendulum of Mayfair London
I am sure I am not alone in thinking the ticking of antique clocks holds some mystical or mesmeric fascination. Watching time in motion was also a fascination of our forefathers. It was with the technological advances in the glass making industry, that movements could be housed surrounded by simple glass domes. These domes were essential to cover these mechanical time masters, dirt and dust always needs to be kept to a minimum in all mechanical devices. In Britain from the start of the 19th century clock makers produced some lovely, highly visable clocks that were called skeleton clocks. By their very name these movements were stripped out down to the bone so to speak so that the full workings of the clock were on show. Up to then most movements had been hidden away from view. Such beauty should be admired and on show and not hidden away. The birth of the skeleton clock appeared from C1820 and continued throughout the 19th century in England.
As you can see from the antique clock above, the clock has been designed to show off the quality of the movement as much as possible. The plates that support the wheels were made as delicate as possible to show off the wheel work. The dial is made up of the separate parts, the hours ring, seconds ring and minutes ring. These would normally be on a solid brass silvered dial but this would of hidden the movement, and so individual rings are made for each separate time aspect. In France at the time skeleton clocks were also being made, they tended to use inverted Y frames for the posts, whereas more elaborate structures tended to be used for English skeleton clocks. At the start the inverted Y frame can be also seen on the some English examples but this soon changed to more elaborate designs. Also the superb fusee was used on the English clocks, this is by far the best means of time-keeping for a spring driven clock.
As the 19th century developed two train or striking skeleton clocks were produced, and also skeleton clocks that depicted well known buildings. When three train skeleton clocks were produced the music within copied some of the bells from building clocks at the time. Clearly with two train or especially three train movements it gets harder and harder to see the individual wheels inside, the simplicity has gone and I suppose these are produced more as a statement of the clock makers talent, showing just how complex these movements could be. The quality workmanship being highly visable but more as a wow overall feature.
Further details of this single fusee skeleton clock above can be found be clicking this link: antique skeleton clock.
The production of fine skeleton clocks lasted throughout the 19th century and probably peaked in the years after the Great Exhibition of 1851. In the period from 1860 to 1880 many lovely skeleton clocks were manufactured. These were sometimes on ebonized bases, walnut, mahogany or rose-wood bases or sometimes on marble bases. By around C1900 not many skeleton clocks were produced, fashions has changed from the slightly more elaborate designs of the Victorian period to the more simple Edwardian era, which is such a shame. These lovely clocks were then seen mostly in kit form through the 20th century and far poorer examples produced. With the clocks we sell, we like to stick to higher quality 5 or 6 spoke wheel work. The more rudamentary late examples in kit form tend to be just robust 4 spoke wheel work and very simple design plates.