- Museum number
Lantern clock; weight-driven; formerly with verge escapement and balance, converted to recoil escapement with long pendulum at an early date; count-wheel striking.
Alarm mechanism, doors, bell and strap all missing.
- Production date
- 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- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum.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.
LANTERN CLOCK WITH INITIALS NT; POSSIBLY ORIGINALLY WITH JACK.
Given by P.G.Coole, Esq., 83 Bargery Road, London, S.E.26.
White (1989) 62, 85, 500 ff.
Analysis of hoop wheel, count wheel and frame: White (1989) 500 ff.
The letters "N" and "T" are engraved at the bottom corners of the front fret. On the second wheel of the going train a founder's mark (see Commentary).
Casing and dial.
Lantern clock, the doors and the back plate missing. The doors were hinged in holes in the plates; the back was fixed by a riveted peg in the bottom (compare the dial plate) and secured by two pins at the top.
A brass dial plate, which is held in the bottom plate of the movement by a riveted peg, and secured to the top plate by a pin. At the top of the dial plate, behind the chapter ring, is a square hole, matched by a filled hole in the front bar of the movement, and clearly the remains of the earlier construction, in which the top of the dial plate had a long foot which secured it to the front bar of the movement (there are no traces on the chapter ring) At top left the dial plate has a hole for the release of the alarm (release now missing). The silvered brass chapter ring is pinned to the dial plate by four feet (converted from three, see above). At the centre of the dial is the silvered brass alarm setting disc.
The outer corners of the dial plate are engraved with simple flowers; inside the chapter ring is a gadrooned pattern. The chapter ring is divided I - XII with simple half-hour marks on the outer ring. The alarm disc is divided I - XII and has a gadrooned ornament at the centre.
The dial has a massive brass hand (original).
Three frets, cast after the same pattern, are each attached by two screws. The frets are of severely rectangular form; the strap-work ornament is pierced, and the front fret is additionally engraved.
Bell strap and bell are missing. Since three of the finials are without a hole it is likely that the bell strap had arms which fitted around the finial; the hole in the fourth finial, at back left, is probably a repair.
Posted frame movement, with two iron plates separated at the corners by four brass pillars. The pillars have simple ornamental rings at top and bottom and square bases and capitals; they are screwed to the plates by ornamented ball feet at the bottom and by vase-shaped finials at the top. The finials have on the inside holes for securing the spider; spider and bell are missing.
The movement has four brass bars to hold the wheels; front and back bar have the characteristic cross-shape. Brass wheels; all wheels have four crossings. At the back of the top plate, near the centre, are two empty screw holes for the original suspension-loop.
All iron parts are heavily corroded.
8 8 ║ 70 60
── ─ ║ ── ── 36 (x 2)
12-hour ← 48 8 ║ 7 6
Great wheel: cord-wheel fixed on the arbor.
Idler pinion and pinion-of-report: both of brass.
The brass hour-hand wheel is sandwiched friction-tight between the brass star wheel and an iron sprung washer.
Filled holes show that this part of the movement was completely re-trained (probably still in the 17th century, see Conversions). The centre bar has, above the great-wheel holes, two square holes (one filled) showing where the bottom support of the verge was positioned; there are two filled holes where the stirrup for the escape wheel used to be.
4 ║ 56 54 48
── ║ ── ── ──
12-hour ← 39 ║ 7 6 6
Great wheel: 8 lifting pins. The pinion of report is a lantern cut into the end of the arbor. Cord-wheel held on the arbor by a tight washer; click, acting on the crossings of the wheel, with integral spring.
2nd wheel: single iron hoop.
3rd wheel: pin for warning.
Heavy brass fly.
Count wheel: brass wheel with iron disc.
Steel detents (warning detent missing).
Warned striking with warning on the 3rd wheel and locking on the hoop of the 2nd wheel.
In the front right corner of the top plate are one round and two square holes; the round hole is matched by a similar one in the bottom plate, which has a rivet next to it. The arrangement is reminiscent of the vertical hammer-arbor in many Gothic clocks, with the hammer-spring parallel to it. Since there already was a hammer it is suggested that these are remains of simple jack, which was operated by the hammer and appeared to strike the bell from the outside.
The alarm-mechanism, which will have been positioned on the outside of the back-plate as is usual in lantern clocks, will have been discarded when the pendulum was fitted. The detent has also disappeared, but the characteristic hole in the top left corner of the dial plate shows where it was positioned. The alarm setting disc is still mounted on the iron unlocking-piece, but the pin which lifted the detent has been removed.
Going train: great wheel - ½ rev. per hour.
escapement - 3600 beats per hour (seconds pendulum)
Striking train: great wheel - 19½ revs. in 24 hours.
The clock has been converted to pendulum; judging by the shape of the anchor and the fact that one of the wheels has a caster's mark, this conversion probably took place in the third quarter of the 17th century. For this conversion the going train was completely re-trained, and the wheel re-positioned: there are many filled holes in the front and centre bars to show for this (the wheels of the striking train are original).It appears that the original dial wheel was retained, and this caused the extraordinary construction with a small idler pinion. The original loop and the alarum mechanism were in the way of the crutch of the pendulum and its suspension and were therefore discarded. The jack may have disappeared at the same time.
The conversion accounts for the discrepancy in the duration of the two trains: the great wheel of the going train makes 6 revs. in 24 hours against that of the striking train 19½. In the original going train the great wheel presumably made 1 rev. per hour.
Height (over all) - 275 mm.
Top plate: width - 149 mm, depth - 148 mm
Bottom plate: width - 147 mm, depth 146 mm
Distance between the plates - 161 mm.
Movement: distance between the bars, going - 50 mm, striking - 48 mm.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
Presented in 1967 by P.G.Coole, Esq., 83 Bargery Road, London, S.E.26. Reg.1967,12-4,1.
The definitive study on lantern clocks is White (1989), and following comments draw heavily from that book.
White classifies this clock as First Period second type, ca.1615-25 (the first type being yet closer to the Flemish pre-cursor of this clock type). Early features are: iron plates and hoop, bell strap secured by forked arms around the finials rather than by pins into them, and the ornament of the dial plate. The original construction of the attachment of the dial plate, by a long peg into the front bar of the movement, is a variant of the type described by White (pp.90-1), where the peg is fixed to the chapter ring and secures both this and the dial plate. No jack of the type which this clock is thought to have had is recorded.
It is interesting to note that the way to pivot the alarm detent directly in the dial plate, a characteristic of the English lantern clock, also derives from the low countries: the so-called Heemkerck and Barentsz clock (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), which was abandoned on Nova Zembla in 1596 and recovered in the 19th century, already has this construction 1).
The initials 'N T' may well refer to an owner rather than to the maker of this clock. - The founder's mark is not certainly identified; it may be the same as White (1989) 491 no.9 and there tentatively decyphered as monogram IS, thought to be the mark of a 17th century London brass founder.
1) This clock is thought to have already had some age when it was taken on the ill-fated expedition by .. Heemskerck and .. Barentsz., during which they hoped to find the North-East passage. In the Amsterdam clock the alarm detent is pivoted directly in the dial plate, but the construction is different from that of the later lantern clocks in that the unlocking arm was in front of, not behind the dial. For this clock see Maurice (1976) fig.53.
Pinion-of-report now riveted and not removed, therefore the great wheel going
not taken out.Examined as carefully as possible; it does not appear to have a founder's mark.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
White (1989) G.White, English Lantern Clocks (Woodbridge 1989).
- Not on display
- Latest: 4 (Jul 2015)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number