Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That Damn Clock!

Back at it...researching that clock...

Welcome to the world of picking antiques! Not always fun and games.....lots of homework, too!


Well, let's head back to this site.

And hit "Identifying the Maker".


Hmmm...well, we know we have the "Bailey" & "18 Chapel St" scratched on the back...

...and that hand written numbered label, but that is it...unless there is something on the back of the movement....which is a distinct possibility.

SO, got to take it apart & take out the movement...carefully!

Will go do that!  If you hear cursing, you'll know I broke something....back in a bit!

And, get out the ointment and bandages, just in case....

Well, no real news to report...not really much farther than before I took it apart...other than it is now apart. I have placed the little bits in a small zip lock bag (always advisable, seeing as parts can disappear easily, and it can he absolute hell trying to find a replacement for some things, even little screws. Save yourself the hassle, bag 'em ASAP.

Why not put it back together? Well, if I want to examine the movement for other clues, I don't want to have to risk damaging it by taking it apart yet again.

I did see more varnish, and did notice that it doesn't have wood stain on the upper sides inside, which is a good sign.

 The back board still seems to be original, but the additional splashes of varnish confirm that it has had some touch up done in the past, and possibly even fairly recent past.

I did notice a worn spot at the bottom of the case, where the bottom of the door rubs, which was stained, and shouldn't have been. (bottom left of photo) 

Sometimes this gets done in a antique shop, before an auction (etc) with scratch cover, but in a case of a piece this old, it is best to leave those true signs of age as they are. You will note the heavy wear on the door's one pillar, down through the original gold coloration, down to the gesso, where someone's fingers has touched that spot over and over, for many years, opening and closing the door, in order to wind the clock.

There is also varnish OVER the wear on that pillar....another sign someone has been "messing" with it, and an indicator to look closer.  This happens to furniture of all sorts, being varnished and re-varnished over its lifetime, but fairly fresh varnish on a very old piece should raise a red flag for you.

Now, this might be a good time to mention a repair that this clock has had done....I am well aware of it, and have been even prior to purchase. In this case, we are fortunate to have been given a "heads-up" was mentioned on that post-it-note that came with it! But, I have taken pics of it, as it is something that you may miss if you are not looking for it....good time to learn!

The bottom corner trim on the door was either damaged or missing, and has been replaced.

From the underside, you will notice the lightness of the wood, the lack of "air burn" on comparison to the other portion. The flash really makes this detail prominent, which actully isn't all that noticable in "real life"...not a bad job, but not done by a professional restorer...maybe a clock repair person, but not an antiques restorer.

And, the obvious sign is in the edge....

See the problem? No, no, not the fact the varnish doesn't really match...the flash actually brought that detail regular light it looks darn close to a match. (NOTE: That is a veiled tip....taking a flash photo(s) of an item can bring out flaws, repairs, etc on an item...flaws and repairs you might not have noticed before...!)

So, did you see the other problem?


How about if we compare it with the other side....?

Yep, whoever repaired it, didn't bother (or perhaps lacked the skill or expertise) to replicate the fine carved looping.

I know people who repair vintage items professionally, and if they don't hand carve such an important feature themselves (or have it done by someone else), they may replicated by use of a MOLD, using resin or plaster. They take a rubber copy of an adjacent piece, cast it, then painted/color it to match the other portions.

Watch for that, also!

So, we are not really that far ahead of where we started at the beginning of this post...though you may have learned a few things!

One thing I do want to do a quick Google search for the keywords: "pine case" and american mantle clock.

Yep, figure out what wood it is made of...that will help!

What did I find?

No, nothing pertaining to this clock...but, he had a link to this site:

Where I am going to see if they have a reproduction movement for this one...and see what it looks like...and it will quite possibly give me some information of what clocks they were used in!

Hmmm..this movement looks is ours (back view, as well as another view):

But certainly not identical...and ours IS older, for sure....but, I still am a little suspicious of it....Maybe an old repro? 1950s - 1970s?  And, in reality, the newer one is quite different.

The more I look at ours I think it is an older repro. Guess we'll see. Hope not, but we need to be realistic. Its appearance, construction etc, just doesn't seem to jive with the age of the main parts of the case.

If you do come across old (1950s/60s/70s/80s) catalogs that show reproduction parts for antiques, as well as whole reproductions of antiques that were sold in those years, snag them for your research library! They may turn out very, very handy for identifying replaced parts, naturally aged reproductions, outright faked items, etc that you come across!  I already am seeing reproduction signs from the early 1980s popping up on the market with regularity. They appear on sites like eBay, in live antique auctions, flea markets, restaurant liquidations, even estate sales, etc, but are being represented as antiques, usually by the unaware. This occurs simply because the signs have been nailed to a fence outside in someone's yard for the last 25 years...and gotten faded and rusty. 

Rust, fading, scuffs, scratches, bird crap, paint spatters (etc) doesn't make something any less of a reproduction!

Back to our clock....

I'm wondering if there is anything to be seen on the back of the dial, the area obscured under the wood.

Looking at it, I spot another potential problem...yes, the nails are wrong, I already knew that....but the dial seems off center...

Notice the face is off center of the opening...hmmmm.

Now I REALLY need to take the face off of it... *sigh*

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