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The golden age of English clockmaking

Postby koimaster » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:11 pm

The first recognisable English clock - the lantern clock - evolved around the beginning of the seventeenth century. This quickly developed into an all-brass cased clock with a weight-driven striking movement surmounted by a bell. The dial had only an hour-hand.

English makers were quick to adopt and improve the new pendulum technology, developed in the Netherlands in the 1650s. The longcase clock evolved naturally in the latter part of the seventeenth century as a practical method of protecting the new, long pendulums. The earliest cases were small and narrow, but by the beginning of the eighteenth century they had increased dramatically in height. Case styles evolved rapidly from the severe, ebonised style of Knibb to elaborate marquetry cases (e.g the Windmills, Lyons and Johnson clocks in the Heritage Services collection). However the eighteenth century saw a return to more subdued cases veneered in walnut and mahogany. By the nineteenth century more widespread demand led to a reduction in height, and the use of cheaper woods such as oak.

Spring-driven table clocks probably evolved from the desire to make clocks portable within a large house, thus reducing the enormous cost of purchasing several individual longcase clocks. English 'bracket' clocks, as they are known, almost always have carrying-handles for this purpose. The magnificent ebonised, quarter-repeating example by Thomas Tompion has a strike/silent facility so that the bell can be silenced when required

http://www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk/sebc/vi ... making.cfm


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