One cannot deny the classic style of an American Ogee clock. This one is in great shape and required almost nothing to get it to top form. 30-hour shelf clocks are abundant but not many cases survive years of wear and tear.
This George H. Clark 30-hour shelf clock is a very good example of Connecticut form. The case form is called an “og” or “ogee”, a mathematical term that describes the “S” curve shape in the primary molding that surrounds the door.
The clock has a brass time and strike, weight driven movement with an excellent original printed paper label on the interior reading in part “Made and Sold at/46 Courtlandt St/New York…. George H. Clark”. It measures 28 x 17 x 4.5”. This rectangular shaped case is decorated with nicely grained mahogany veneers. The veneer has very little if any losses.
The dial face
The upper section of the door is fitted with clear glass. Through this one can view the painted wood dial. The wood dial tells me that it is an early pre-1850 clock. This dial is formatted with a Roman numeral time track.
It is always a challenge matching 100+-year-old paint but by combining white. brown and yellow acrylic paint I was able to approximate the original colour. Some Roman Numerals were touched up with black acrylic paint.
I also glued two small blocks under the left and right “L” pins to centre the dial correctly.
The lower section features a beehive painted tablet. The tablet is a replacement but fairly close to what would have been there at the time.
Observations regarding the movement
The movement looks like an early (unmarked) Waterbury, ca. 1860 type 2.411. Waterbury movements have “quarter-round” corners, while most other ogee movements tend to have the “tombstones” or plain rectangles. The movement could have been swapped but It is difficult to tell.
Everything except the movement points to a period between 1840-50. If the movement is a replacement it was likely an early replacement.
30-hour movements will run surprisingly well with horrible pivot wear. However, regarding repair, my view is this: I do not normally install new bushings in every single pivot hole on the movement. If a bushing hole is passable I will leave it as-is but if the hole is quite oblong I will install a new bushing to mitigate potential gear meshing issues in the future.
Addressing the movement
I will also ignore some past repairs. For example, in this particular movement I noticed 4 punch marks around the escape wheel bridge pivot hole. As most clock repairers know using a punch to close a pivot hole was an acceptable practice many years ago though it is not considered a good practice today. In this particular case, the pivot hole was in good shape and I decided to leave it as-is. After assessing the movement further, I installed one bushing on the second wheel front plate strike side (S2) and the second on the second wheel strike side rear plate (T2). Just two bushings. As to the three lantern pinions, they were in very good condition.
Reassembly was routine. The time side ran fine.
Adjusting the strike side was not easy and should have been a simple procedure. The problem was not only correctly positioning the warning pin on the fly but ensuring that the warning hook lever could actually meet the warning hook. The levers in this clock had been bent every which way making it a real challenge to find the correct angles. It did not strike correctly before servicing. Trial and error combined with colourful language certainly helped correct the strike.
The gong block and coil were also cleaned up. Tip; it helps to put the same screws back in the same holes. Seems trivial but it is a good practice. Not all screws are the same.
Little time was spent on this clock and I was fortunate to have an almost perfect case. The previous owner knew how to take care of the case but the movement neede work. When many of these clocks stopped they simply became decorations but I am sure that this one will run reliably for many more years to come.
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