Clocks

This is another piece from my first website. It was last updated in the year 2000 – I have added one sentence at the end this time.

I suppose it’s a bit like windmills, steam trains etc. I’ve always liked mechanical things that are relatively easy to understand. Clocks fall in to that category. Actually, I can quite like quartz clocks, too, but clockwork is best.

Back in the 1960’s I inherited my grandfather’s long service clock, which he was awarded for 45 years service on the railway. It is not very special – just a Smith’s mantle clock with Westminster Chime and 8 day movement. I’d hoped to get his pocket watch, but that went to a cousin. With the coming of very cheap and totally accurate quartz clocks, Grandad’s timepiece fell into disuse. When I decided to get it going again, it wouldn’t work. By then, my clock maintenance skills were well honed and it has now run reliably for a couple of years.

Grandad’s long service clock – 45 years a railwayman

My next clock is another 8 day one, this time a striking wall clock. This belonged to my step mother’s family. It came to her house when her dad died but neither my dad, nor my half brother could get it to work and they were going to put it on the scrap heap. They gave it to me instead and it has been working well for a couple of years. I can’t find a maker’s name anywhere. The art work on the case is by Peter Garforth. That’s my step mother’s dad. He was quite a successful artist.

‘Old Garforth’ – my step mother’s father had and painted this clock.

Next is my postman’s clock. This is a 30 hour, weight driven clock with an alarm that could awaken a postman. I have searched for information about this clock – its origins and how it came to be in my family, but somewhat in vain. I believe my father bought it in the early 1950s. His aunt had a similar looking clock which is still a family piece, so he felt capable of fabricating the weights and pendulum. He must have paid as near to nothing as possible for it. Postman’s clocks were made in the nineteenth century in both America and The Black Forest. Black Forest ones are a bit classy and can be ornate. As a clock shop man in Wells, Somerset put it to me in July 1999, American clocks were very crude. Mine is undoubtedly very crude so I think it is American. I can’t find any makers marks.

Posty has an alarm that would surely have woken a neighbourhood – not just the postman.

My Dad had this clock for years but it fell out of use and was just kept up as an ornament. This also applied to his aunt’s similar clock. After his death, his widow gave me the postman’s clock and I found some gentle work with meths and clock oil was all it needed to get it to work. Like the others, it has been going steadily for a couple of years now, although I find it hard to keep it regulated. I then got my step mother’s clock – ex great aunt’s working, too.

Posty’s works with the bell on top.

I have seen a similar clock in a folk life museum in Selkirk, Scotland. They didn’t know anything about it. I have also seen a postman’s clock on sale in a clock shop in Wells, Somerset. This Black Forest model had an ornate face which, to my eye, made it less attractive.

If anybody can help me to identify likely age and maker I’d be interested to hear. Don’t worry about the value. It is next to nothing!

In December 1999 I acquired a cuckoo clock from a local Christmas bazaar. I was told it didn’t work well and as a result I paid just £3 for it. To be honest, I think it is rather over the top in style, but I relished the challenge of getting the thing going. I was rather disappointed here, for it took virtually no time to straighten a link wire, to make the bird do a full cuckoo and to lightly oil some works so that it would keep running. My surprise came when I hung the clock and attached weights. I had wondered about the second door which contained what I called a cheese man. In fact, as this door opens, every half hour, a music box plays.

Here is a photo of this clock.

Cuckoo is the only old clock I have bought. All the others I have belonged to members of the family.

Since this was last updated in the year 2000, I have acquired more family clocks and some ment5ioned here have failed. I must get round to them again.

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3 Responses to “Clocks”

  1. dave boston-dunn Says:

    hey up there, i was given a postmans clock that had been unused for years. i have got the mechanism to work. but there was no weights, pendulum, or bob with the clock. could you tell me the length of the pendulum, weight of the bob and what weight the weights should be. i could just try to scale sizes etc from photos but would love to have the old clock working. many thanks if you reply.
    brgds, big dave.

    • locksands Says:

      Just back from a short break. I will measure up for you some time.

      • dave boston-dunn Says:

        hey up there, many thanks for response, i cannot wait to get the old clock ticking. i cannot understand why people throw things like this away, beats me.
        brgds, big dave.

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