- Museum number
Copper-gilt table clock in form of crucifix with St John and the two Maries at foot; hexagonal moulded base, surmounted by two circular stages containing bell for hours and alarm; brass works with balance; hour shown by revolving globe at top of cross surmounted by pelican in her piety.
- Production date
Height: 18 inches
- Curator's comments
- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum. This information is unedited and should be used accordingly.
South German (perhaps Augsburg) ca.1630.
PSA 3 (1856) 230 (meeting of 6th December 1855).
AJ 13 (1856) 98 (meeting of 7th December 1855.
Wood (1866) 86.
Lloyd (1964) 63.
Smith (1979) 35.
No signature or mark.
The case consists of the base containing the movement, the base-plate which covers the bottom and carries the feet, and the figures with the crucifix surmounting the base. The whole structure is made of brass with most parts gilded on the visible sides only, but the Corpus and six freestanding volute-ornaments are plain brass with some traces of silvering, and there can be little doubt that all these parts were originally silvered. The inside of the base plate is silvered and its outside with the feet was probably originally also silvered.
The base is made up of three parts, all of brass and gilded on the outside. At the bottom is a hexagonal profiled portion, which (though quite thin) appears to be cast. At the sides, and secured by screws, it carries two ornamental volutes (cast and silvered), each volute having a small turned finial of gilded brass screwed to it. The top of the heagonal part carries small silvered volutes at front and back, each surmounted by a gilded finial, and at the remaining corners there are four gilded finials. On the inside of the hexagonal part are the hook and stud for the attachment of the movement; at front-left is a hole to press home the latch. Along the lower edge of the base are three slots for securing the base-plate. At the top of this part is a large and carefully shaped aperture to allow room for the furniture on the front plate of the movement; some of the edges of the cut-out portions have gilding, which appears to be original.
The baseplate, of brass, appears to have been silvered all over; there is still substantial silvering on the inside. Three cherub feet are riveted to the base plate, and there are two hooks and a latch for securing it to the base. The plate has three holes for the winding squares of the movement, marked G(ehwerk), S(chlagwerk) and W(ecker). In addition there is a T-shaped hole associated with the straight balance spring.
The hexagonal part of the base is screwed to a round gallery of cast brass. The inside of the base of this gallery has complicated recesses to accomodate portions of the movement; some of these have traces of gilding (showing that the recesses and therefor the movement form part of the original construction).
The gallery is recessed in the top portion of the case, being secured by small srews. This portion is also round and made of cast brass; it has apertures to show the alarm-disc which is positioned inside it. The Cross, a hollow brass casting engraved to resemble wood, is riveted to this top portion, which additionally carries two silvered volutes, a silvered skull with crossed bones (these three parts secured by screws), and the figure of Mary Magdalen (secured by a screw and a nut). The two flanking figures (Mary the Mother and John) are each screwed into a volute. All three figures are of cast and gilded brass. The two angels holding the sign INRI form a separate casting, riveted to the cross. The silvered corpus is pinned to the cross by the nails through the hands and feet; this figure, more finely finished than the others, is a 19th-century replacement.
The apertures in the top of the case allow access to the steel alarm-disc, which is numbered twice 1-12 and has a series of holes for adjusting; it is adjusted from the top and can be viewed from top and side. The hat-shaped steel disc is made of a disc with a square hole which takes the place of the hat-rim, to which the raised portion is riveted by four studs; the raised portion consists of a wall (bent and brazed strip) brazed to the top disc.
The cross is surmounted by a sphere secured by the screwed figure of a Pelican in Piety. The sphere consists of two cast portions and has around its circumference a silvered band marked 1-12, with stars as half-hour marks. The sphere with the Pelican revolve with the hour-hand arbor and form the main dial of the clock. Originally there was a steel pointer held by the left-hand angel; an early photograph shows that this was still present in Morgan's time but it has now broken off and disappeared.
Plated movement, made largely of brass; two circular plates connected by five turned baluster pillars, riveted to the back plate and pinned to the front plate. The plates are engraved with a double circle just inside the edges, except for the movement side of the back plate which is plain. The back plate and the brass parts between the plates gilded. Going and striking trains have brass wheel with four crossings, except for the great wheels which are solid. The alarm train has wheels of steel, which are all solid.
The movement is secured to the top of the hexagonal base by a hook on one side and a stud on the other; the matching latch to lock the construction sits on the inside of the front plate of the movement..
12 ║ 60 50 40
── ║ ── ── ── 15 (x 2)
12-hour ← 48 ║ 6 5 5
Barrel: brass, one cap brazed, the other pinned over four studs (one stud broken off). Spring original; not blued, 17.7 x .4 mm. Inner end hooked into a slanted slot; outer end retained by cross-bar (riveted with one rivet) into slots in the caps of the barrel. Brass set-up wheel of 14.
Greatwheel: split fusee; sunk clickwork, brass clickspring, steel click. Fusee of 8 turns, cut for gut; 20 ratchet teeth for winding, steel nose. Conventional stopwork with lantern-block.
Contrate wheel: there is a steel end-plate, screwed to the outside of the front plate.
Scape wheel: screwed potance. Counter potance riveted; square follower plug, pinned in the hole. The escapement has been converted to straight balance spring, but the original hog-bristle regulator was retained.
Pinion-of-report of brass, meshing with the brass hour-hand wheel which is friction-tight on the long arbor carrying the steel star for unlocking the striking.
64 ┌ 48 45 40
── │ ── ── ──
8 ┤ 8 5 5
5 ║ ┘
12-hour ← 65 ║
Spring: standing barrel. Spring old but probably not original; fairly irregular, with traces of blueing; 18/19 x .3/.4 mm (there are a few incipient cracks). Outer end of the spring hooked in a half slot in the wall; inner end now hooked on a steel stud on a brass mantle around the steel arbor, which retains the slanted slot of the original hooking.
Great wheel: split construction. Sunk clickwork; brass clickspring, steel click, 21 ratchet teeth for winding.
2nd wheel: 6 steel lifting pins. The pinion-of-report is a lantern cut into the end of the arbor.
4th wheel: brass stud near the arbor for locking.
Fly: heavy brass fly. The fly runs in blind holes.
Countwheel: brass ring with indicator on the central disc.
Steel detends with decorative brass locking arm.
Unwarned striking with hammerlifting and overlift off the 2nd wheel and random locking on the 4th.
8 ║ 40 30 24
─── ║ ── ── ── 11 (x 2)
stopwork ← 16+ ║ 10 6 6
Spring: standing barrel. Spring original; not blued, 18.0 x .4 mm. Outer end of the spring hooked in a half slot in the wall; inner end hooked into a slanted slot.
Greatwheel: split construction, 12 ratchet teeth for winding. The wheel is made of a double thickness of steel to sink the steel click and the brass clickspring.
Scape wheel: screwed potance, riveted counter-potance.
Geared stopwork: pinion of 8 meshing with brass wheel of 16 teeth and an uncut section.
Locking-detend slides between the plates. The alarm is cocked; it is unlocked by a stud on a disc which sits on a pipe around the hour-hand arbor. The stud is the end of a stiff spring which locks the pipe of the steel alarm-disc into a groove of the hour-hand arbor.
Great wheel - 1 rev. in 4 hours.
Escapement - 8.000 beats per hour.
Duration - 32 hours.
Great wheel - 3¼ revs in 24 hours.
All trains wind anti-clockwise.
Clock: Hight - 475 mm.
Width - 162 mm.
Depth - 185 mm.
Movement: distance between the plates - 26 mm.
The going train has been fitted with a straight balance spring; there are two unused screwholes in the cock, suggesting that the supports for the screw of the slide-regulator have been shifted (the present supports are riveted). The letters A and R were scratched in the back plate to indicate which way the regulator screw is to be turned (see History and Provenance). The wheel-balance, of gilded brass, has been made heavier by adding solder to the underside; a small portion of the clickspring of the set-up of the going train mainspring was filed away to clear the thicker balance. The conversion may date from the late 17th century. Originally there aparently was a larger head to the screw-regulator, for which the T-shaped hole in the baseplate was cut. The baseplate has been hammered to allow room for the conversion.
Otherwise the movement has been very little interfered with. Two notches have been filed in the front plate, to allow access to the side-ornament of the case.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
The letters A(vant) and R(etard), scratched in the backplate near the regulator, suggest that the clock at one time was in a French speaking area.
Octavius Morgan collection. Morgan showed the clock at the Society of Antiquaries of London on 6th December 1855, and at the Archaeological Institute on the next day.
Octavius Morgan bequest; reg. 1888,12-1,117.
This is an unusual crucifix clock, but it is not a concoction (except in that the Corpus has been replaced). Two other crucifix clocks of unusual shape, not identical to this one but possibly related to it, are in the Math.Phys.Salon, Dresden 1) and in the Historisches Museum, Basel 2). All three clocks are presumably South-German and would appear to date from the 2nd quarter or middle of the 17th century.
1) Schardin (1989) no.25. This clock, which is unsigned, has a stackfreed and full-hour striking. The object is mentioned in the Dresden Kunstkammer-collection since 1674. The clock was badly damaged during the bombing of 1945; for the restauration, with many technical details of the movement, see Lang (1987).
2) Coll. Nathan-Rupp: Ackermann (1984) no.56. The clock is unsigned; it has full- and quarter striking, and the movement has a fusee and five baluster-pillars.
Fusee not reversed.
Inside the contrate of the alarm a layer of red brazing (apparently brazing the band).
Note the position of the end plate for the contrate of the going: it prevents the wheel from riding up!
Compare the equally weird and in parts similar crucifix in Dresden: Schardin (1989) no.25.
The clock is difficult to assemble and disassemble. The top portion of the case has to be removed from the gallery-part, because the alarm-disc will not pass throught the gallery.
Diameter of backplate of movement - 89.5 mm.
The gallery part has recesses to take the top-furniture of the movement; some of these have specs of gilding showing that they are original.
The hexagonal base appears to have a top of copper, apparently brazed to the rest.
The disc that holds the counthweel (ring) also has the indicator for the last hour struck.
Scratched on the back plate, to go with the regulator: A and R.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
PSA 3 (1856) 230 (meeting of 6th December 1855).
AJ 13 (1856) 98 (meeting of 7th December 1855.
Wood (1866) E.J.Wood, Curiosities of Clocks and Watches (London 1866).
Lloyd (1964) H.A.Lloyd, The Collector's Dictionary of Clocks (London 1964).
Smith (1979) A.Smith ed., The Country Life International Dictionary of Clocks (London etc. 1979).
- On display (G38/dc4)
Latest: 3 (Jun 2015)
5 (Nov 1996)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number