An ogee clock is so-called because it is a 19th century U.S. shelf clock with a distinctive S-curve (convex above and concave below) molding.
30-hour ogee clocks were very popular from the early 1840s to as late as the 1890s, a good run for a distinctive style of clock. Before the days of the Internet, these clocks fetched hundreds of dollars at auctions houses and antique stores. Along came eBay and prospective buyers quickly learned that large numbers of these clocks were produced in their day and the supply of clocks flooded the net and prices dropped accordingly. I have 5 ogee clocks among my collection of over 100 clocks and have never paid more than $60 for any of them.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. The distinctive case has housed movements other than the 30-hour time and strike commonly found and some are quite desirable. Fusee, single weight 8-day time-only, calendar models, minis, Gesso fronts, 8-day time and strike clocks, and a few unusual ones have good value.
30-hour clocks are worth collecting and if you a new to clock repair, they are a great clock to begin your journey.
This is a Chauncey Jerome 30-hour or one-day clock from about 1844-1845 and based on my research, the movement is from the same period. So, an excellent chance that the case and movement started life together. The pendulum bob looks very old and hard to say if original as pendulums often go missing during a clock’s life. But I’m not sure a modern pendulum bob would have similar detail.
The dial is in good condition with attractive Gesso spandrels although the Jerome name under the twelve is barely readable and the chapter ring has faded. The moon hands also look original and the clock came with the correct weights. The mahogany veneer, while very dirty is almost flawless.
Not original is the strike bell as the clock would have had a coil gong. The suspension spring and leader are missing. A top wooden block that attaches the movement to the case is also missing and the label, printed by John Benham, though readable, has some losses. The suspension spring and leader can be easily sourced, the block fashioned from old stock and I have a spare Jerome style coiled gong in my parts bin.
The tablet design did not look original at first glance but after removing a piece of cardboard (first photo) and Christmas wrapping paper behind the glass I discovered a frosted tablet with thistles and flowers. The red paint might have been added and it is very possible that it was not painted originally.
The plan is to service the movement, source missing parts, and refresh the case.
I am not a strong believer in maintaining the original patina which one reader opined is just another word for dirt. The case will be cleaned with Murphy’s Soap and a coat of shellac will be applied.
Original materials and techniques will be used when working on the case. This includes the use of traditional shellac (flakes mixed with shellac lacquer), and fasteners like old slot head screws, old wood, and square nails. The replacement coil gong is very similar to other Jeromes I have seen and will come out of a donor ogee case. There are a few stray pieces of label at the bottom of the case that will be glued back in place.
There is not a lot of demand for ogee clocks today as reflected in their asking price. Perhaps the 30-hour ones are considered a hassle for some as they must be wound once per day, nevertheless, I find them very appealing.
Coming soon will be an article on servicing the movement and later on, refreshing the case.