- Museum number
Eight day longcase clock with verge escapement in a cocuswood-veneered architectural case
Cocuswood-veneered oak case of architectural design with plain panelled door and convex moulding beneath hood. Rising hood with pediment top and five ormolu plaques escutcheon plates chased with scrolls, masks, fruit and foliage.
Square gilded brass dial with winged cherub head spandrels. Silvered brass chapter ring with hours I-XII and minutes 5-60. The area within the chapter ring matted. Date aperture above VI. Blued-steel hour and minute hands.
Weight-driven eight-day movement with hour striking. Rectangular plates with scalloped upper corners and baluster pillars. Verge escapement and short bob pendulum. Bolt-and-shutter maintaining power. Striking train with count-wheel control for hours only. Vertical hammer arbor mounted on the back plate.
Great wheel 96
Centre wheel 90, pinion 8
Contrate wheel 72, pinion 6
Crown wheel 25, pinion 6
Canon pinion 36
Minute wheel 36, minute pinion 6
Hour wheel 72 - with pinion 12 driving date wheel 24
Great wheel 80
Pin wheel 48, pinion 8 - with pinion of report 4 driving count wheel 39
Hoop wheel 48, pinion 6
Warning wheel 48, pinion 6
Fly pinion 5
- Production date
Height: 193 centimetres (overall height of case)
Width: 30 centimetres (overall width of case)
Depth: 20 centimetres (overall depth of case)
- Curator's comments
Verge escapement is a replacement for an original verge.
Text from 'Clocks', by David Thompson, London, 2004, p. 74.
London, c. 1665
Height 193 cm, width 30 cm, depth 20 cm
"There is lately a way found out for making Clocks that go exact and keep equaller time than any now made without this regulator (examined and proved before his Highness the Lord Protector, by such doctors whose knowledge and learning is without exception) and are not subject to alter by change of weather, as others are, and may be made to go a week, or a month, or a year, with once winding up, as well as those that are wound up every day and keep time as well; and is very excellent for all House clocks that go either with springs or weights: and also Steeple clocks that are most subject to differ by change of weather. Made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, who made the first that were in England: you may have them at his house on the bank side in Mosses Alley Southwark and at the sign of the Mermaid in Lothbury, near Bartholomew Lane end, London."
Ahasuerus Fromanteel's famous advertisement placed in the 'London Mercury' in 1658 brings the clock-buying public's attention to the new technology that was the pendulum clock. Fromanteel had sent his son John to The Hague as part of his apprenticeship to learn the new technology from Salomon Coster who was making the new clocks for Christiaan Huygens. Fromanteel senior was born in Norwich in 1607 and apprenticed there to Jacques van Barton. He moved to London in 1631, became a Freeman of the Blacksmiths' Company and later in 1656 a Freeman of the Clockmakers' Company. On 3 September 1657 a contract was drawn up between Salomon Coster and Fromanteel's son John which was to last until May Day 1658. In the contract, John was to make clocks for which Coster would pay twenty gulden, unless Coster had provided the brass and steel, in which case he would be paid eighteen gulden. Coster would provide free beer, fire and light.
This new accuracy brought about a change in attitude to clocks. They were now commonly of eight-day duration and consequently of heavier construction: the driving weights alone could have a combined weight of 12.7 kg (28 lb). The need to protect the mechanism and dial of the clock from interfering hands and the need to support the increased weight of the clock led to the introduction of longcase or grandfather clocks, a style which was to remain popular for more than two centuries.
The clock has an ebonised pear-wood case of architectural style. Its dial shows hours and minutes and the clock strikes the hours using a count-wheel. The eight-day weight-driven movement has a verge escapement with a short 'bob' pendulum. Bolt-and-shutter maintaining power keeps the clock going during winding, an innovation introduced at this time to maintain the accuracy of the clock, and also to protect the escapement from damage during the winding process.
Fromanteel was one of the foremost makers of the new pendulum clocks in the 1660s, being one of those whose business in Southwark was not destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666. He also had a business in Amsterdam, where his family originated. He died in 1693.
- On display (G39/dc6)
- Latest: 5 (Aug 2016) Case. Door distorted, will not close - awaiting treatment by organics conservators
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The Ilbert Collection of clocks, prints and other related material was destined to be sold at Christie's auction house on 6th-7th November 1958. As a result of the generous donation of funds by Gilbert Edgar CBE the sale was cancelled and the material purchased privately from the beneficiaries of the Ilbert Estate.NL1Ilbert's watches were then acquired with further funds from Gilbert Edgar CBE, public donations and government funds. These were then registered in the series 1958,1201.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CAI.2099 (Ilbert Collection)