Clocks - (Clock) Glossary of Antique Terms C

Clocks - (Clock) The mechanical clock was invented during the last quarter of the thirteenth century, the earliest form probably being the Turret clock designed to be fitted to a church tower or other building. (The clock from Wells Cathedral was made c. 1390.) The first spring-driven clock was made about the middle of the fifteenth century. The earliest clocks were of wrought iron, with the use of brass coming in, on the Continent, in the sixteenth century, and in England, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Few domestic clocks were made in England before the seventeenth century. The first individual English type of weight-driven clock, the lantern clock, had a frame, dial and side doors of brass or iron and was surmounted by a bell; several specimens, made by the famous Fromanteels and dating back to the 1620's, are still in existence, and the lantern clock continued to be made till the beginning of the nineteenth century. The long-case or 'grandfather' clock came in the 1660's, with the pendulum. The earliest were thirty-hour movements, but quite soon came the eight-day clock and then those designed to run for a month, three months, six months and (rarely) a year. The spring-driven mantel clock came into favor at about the same time as the long-case clock but few early specimens have survived as they were poor time-keepers and much more liable to damage. Many of these early mantel clocks were intended for the bedroom and contained repeating mechanism; they were an 'extra' in the house, often not much more than trinkets; until the middle of the eighteenth century most had the inaccurate verge escapement because of its one virtue-a clock so fitted could be taken from room to room and set down without elaborate leveling. But from about 1740 the mantel clock stayed on the mantel. There would almost certainly be a mirror behind it, and because of this the backplate lent itself to decoration. The anchor escapement became standard. The number of early mantel clocks with original verge escapements must be very few; most were converted to the anchor escapement but some have been reconverted to the verge.

The great age of English clock-making was from 1660 to 1750; the outstanding makers were the Fromanteels, East, Jones, the Knibbs, Tompion, Quare and Graham. The woods used for cases: at first, to c. 1685, veneered oak; then from c. 1670 to 1770, walnut; from 1760, mahogany. Dials: from 1660 to 1673, 8 to 8 1/2 in. square; from 1673 to 1,695, 10 in. square; from 1685 to 1712, 12 in. square; from 1705, rectangular, of greater depth than width. Until about 1710 the hood slides upwards to be removed; from about 1700 it slides forward. The top is likely to have a gable pediment c. 1660-75, a flat pediment (carved) c. 1665-1730, and to be arched from c. 1720.

Vintage British London Clock Co Quartz carriage clock


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