30 Hour Country Clocks
My last post was about my most special antique clock makers. I jumped to the support of a superb provincial clock maker at the expense of the hundreds of high quality London makers. In no way was I undermining the great London clockmakers though. We sell more London clocks than any others. I must say we all owe a great deal to the formation of the Clockmaker’s Company in London. The Clockmaker’s Company set standards high and as a result we have lots of special clocks. The UK and London became the centre of clock-making in the 18th century. It is something I am very proud of.
I do think there is a place though for the simple 30 hour clock produced in the provinces. London looked down on the simple 30 hour in the 18th century. No 30 hour grandfather clock examples I believe were produced here after the about C1700. They thought the same of oak cabinets. You will not see a genuine oak London longcase clock I believe, all these were veneered in walnut/marquetry or in figured mahogany, or decorated with chinese lacquer work.
The Clockmaker’s Company kept standards in London high. Provincial 30 hour clocks though have a character of there own. In the 18th century you still had to be well off to own a grandfather clock. They were normally the most expensive item in the household.
30 hours clocks can have a single hand or two hands to tell the time. Most examples do not have a second hand. For a 30 Hour clock to have a second hand it would need a extra wheel in its train or it would run backwards.
Original 18th century 30 hour oak or pine clocks that have not been altered or have not suffered from the dreaded rot or worm infestation are rare though, many have lost parts of their bases over the years or had their movements converted from 30 hour to ‘8-day’ examples. Both of these dramatically effects the value and I would not recommend purchasing one of these.
If you own a cottage though there is nothing better than a simple oak ’30-hour’. You will find they will be very reliable and will fit in with the low ceilings in a cottage much better. Most collectible ’30-hour’ grandfather clocks will have either 10 or 11inch dials, this makes them smaller and slimmer than their standard ‘8-day’ equivalent.
Most of these clocks are wound with a rope or chain, since this rope or chain is on a continious loop, the clocks weight is always engaged when winding. This means that the clock will not stop or lose time during winding. This is effectively the same as ‘maintaining power’ on the fine regulator clocks. They will strike on the hour and it is the same weight that drives the time or going side and the striking side. This is partly why the clock will only last one day on a wind. If you put a clothes peg on the flywheel of the strike mechanism, a 30 hour clock would normally last for about 3 days before needing to be wound.
If you do decide to take the plunge and buy a collectible 30 hour after reading this. Make sure you buy from a recognised dealer. They will give you a money back guarantee that the clock is genuine. Remember to enjoy your search for your grandfather clock whether that be a simple 30 hour clock or a ‘8-day’ example.
As with all antique clocks you are only a custodian of them for future generations. They with live long beyond us if cared for properly.