Dating longcase clock hands

The chapter ring however is of a distinctive style with meeting arrowheads for half-hour divisions, a style which was used in the provinces between about 1690 and about 1720.

This chapter ring was probably from some long-dismantled (ten-inch, single-handed) clock, and just happened to be the size required for our clocksmith's purpose. The clock it came from perhaps was signed by its original maker on a plaque, or within an engraved dial centre.

The ten-inch dial sheet itself (a cartwheel type of casting) has nothing by which we can date it.

It could have been made almost anywhere in the land at any time in the eighteenth century.

Usually he was known only in his own immediate locality, and by the nature of his work he would use whatever plundered pieces he could to make do and mend, and most important of all to keep down the cost.

Customers came to him on account of his lower prices, who might balk at the price charged by a fully professional clockmaker.

In a certain sense such a clock is a marriage, in that an old part or parts are re-used and added to certain new parts.But on these occasions when a clockmaker of the past made a new clock incorporating some older parts, it gives an interesting insight into trade practices. This particular clock is unsigned and from its various stylistic features and its make-up we can deduce it was made by a rural clocksmith.A clocksmith was a craftsman in that half-way house between blacksmith and clockmaker, often a second or third generation blacksmith, born and bred into metal working, who began tentatively to branch out into the world of clocks, initially often by mending heavier items such as church clocks and ultimately by making his own.Another was because a clocksmith was unlikely to be able to engrave, could not therefore 'sign' his own work by engraving his own dials, and was unwilling to go to the extra cost of paying an outside engraver to do that.The clock pictured here comes within that category, being unsigned, probably because the maker could not engrave.

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