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Researching Antique Clocks


I get asked about 4 or 5 times a day if I know anything or know how you can find more information about a particular clock maker. This is another special aspect of buying an antique clock, you are able to research about the maker.

Antique Clock Makers

Clearly it is important first to check your clock is genuine and the makers name which will be engraved to the dial. Check this has always been there, and has not been altered. Sometimes makers names have been changed for more famous names etc to try and increase the value. I always say be very careful if whoever you are buying your clock from really focuses on the maker and not alot else. A quality clock maker with lots written about him in the books will mean a quality case and a quality movement. Names are sometimes put on the chapter ring or on a cartouche. Certain makers have certain styles or features and an expert can recognize their work.

Clock Books

After you have checked the name on your clock dial, one of the best research books for all 18th century clock makers, is a book called G.H.Baillie – Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World Volume 1 ISBN 7198 0040 4 . Clearly Volume 2 is on later makers.

This book is a good starting point to your research on the clock maker. Do not worry if you do not find your clockmaker listed. Every little town in the 18th century had clockmakers and not everyone is listed.

Visiting the local historic church

To find more information about the maker, I suggest visiting the town of your clock. Say for instance your clock was Henry Lane of Dundee and nothing was written about this maker. I suggest going on a researching holiday up to Dundee for a week. More often than not there is an 18th century church in that town, this is the place to start you search. The clockmaker on your dial will be either buried there, or have repaired the church clock at sometime. They then will be listed in the church records. If you have the time you will find so much information that can not be found in any book.

If you have a genuine or wish to buy a genuine 18th century antique clock this can be quite a fun research project for one holiday. You can not do this with most pieces of furniture. I just believe it brings an added smile to your face when you find the history behind your clock. These clocks that can be still ticking many centuries later in your living room. It is good to add any information you have found to the back of the clock door for all subsequent owners of the clock.