The Project Clock
The case as received.
Finish is gone, lower cross-piece is missing and all of the door,
except right hand side, is missing.
The case is
identified as a Seth Thomas type-one, half-column shelf clock. It is
the earliest of the Seth Thomas shelf clock designs to use a brass
movement. Later versions of this case (known as type-two and
type-three) are similar but with identifiable updates.
It is one of
the first case designs used by Seth Thomas in combination with the
new weight-driven, brass movement patented by Noble Jerome in the
While the case
is in terrible condition, the label is in unusually good condition
for its age. This, plus the fact that the design is among the
earliest Seth Thomas brass movement designs makes the project worth
Here is the clock
near the end of it's restoration.
missing pieces such as the lower cross molding and three of the four
door sides have been created from scratch.
veneer was retained while "harvested" veneer was used in areas
where original veneer was missing.
The columns have
been gilded and rings embossed into them based on original designs.
All glass is
correct antique "seeded" glass.
The lower tablet
is an early stencil design as would be appropriate to this clock.
The dial and hands
are both of the correct type and vintage. The hands were quite rusty
and were broken when received and had to be repaired.
The dial as
received. It has quite a bit of original paint that is retained
during the restoration.
consideration in this and any project is to not "over-restore" and
retain as much of the original as possible.
Compare the before
and after photos. Notice that the numerals for seven o'clock have
been left pretty much as received. The three o'clock numerals had to
be repaired, but the wear on the inside portions were left as-is.
The floral pattern
were carefully repaired, but again efforts were made to avoid
In the end, the
dial looks used but in very good condition and is a good match
for the rest of the clock.
One of the most
exciting things about this clock was the label. It was worn and
dirty, but pretty much complete. Careful cleaning and
de-acidification resulted in a very readable label.
The label was in such good condition that the printer's name could
still be read on the bottom. This is usually the first
part of the label lost to moisture and decay.
The printer's name is
a very useful item in pinpointing the manufacture date of the clock.
Based on NAWCC
printer research, T.M. Newson produced labels for Seth Thomas brass
clocks in 1845 and 1846. It is unusual to be able to date a clock
this closely, but the label provided the information needed.
There are a lot of
variations or models of the 30-hour brass movement. Even within the
Seth Thomas, Plymouth Hollow brass movements, there are several
the production date for the clock allowed the correct movement
sub-type to be identified used.
The correct movement for
this clock is known as a type 1.241 (early). It is identifiable by
shop detail such as the brass, crescent shaped strike hammer, the
thick inner rim on the two great wheels, the use of a count hook in
which a small hole has been drilled for an eye hook to fit the lift
wire instead of simply twisting a loop in the count hook wire and
certain other detail.
The movement is shown
mounted in a test stand for testing and rating prior to final
installation. The hands are not the correct hands but useful for
weights were located at an NAWCC regional "Mart" and are used in the
and selecting the correct movement for a clock being restored is
another way to increase the overall accuracy of an extensive
The project clock was
received in near hopeless condition, but retained enough material
and information to allow it to be extensively researched. As a
result, it was possible to locate and accurately create missing
pieces to produce a
very accurate restoration. The restored clock is accurate in every
detail and is structurally sound. It will run and show well for many
years to come. Someday, when another restorer finds the clock
stored away somewhere, they will find no incorrect finishes,
adhesives or other materials.
The project clock
provided a great vehicle with which to demonstrate what can be done when an
extreme restoration is taken on and executed with care and attention