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New Haven Grandfather Clock

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Posted 5 years ago


(1 item)

This clock belonged to my parents and has recently come to my husband and I. We would like to restore the clock to working order. We have the movement, the pendulum, and the bell, but have not found the chime and time weights. The movement is labeled "New Haven" but has no other numbers or a date. The case is 6'3" tall and appears to be oak. The decorative cutwork on the glass doors and the lions on the lower front panel appear to have been added later. We have searched the internet and consulted local experts to no avail. We would like to find information on the clock so that we properly restore it to its original appearance and function. Any information, advice or insight that you could share would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. slackjack, 5 years ago
    Post your question @ NAWCC forum in clocks general. Include photos and DON'T ask for a value. Guarantee you will get an answer.
  2. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    If you get an answer, please be kind enough to post it back here.

    As you mentioned, your tall case appears to have been modified so there is no guarantee that the movement is even original to the case. The strike hammer could be for a cup bell. The three holes on the movement's back plate would suggest a mounting bracket for a bell.

    I don't see your tall case, nor your apparently chain-driven movement in any of my references, New Haven or Tall Case.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing your clock with the Collectors Weekly community.

  3. MVT, 5 years ago
    Slackjack - Thanks! I will post as you suggested. I really am only interested in caring for this clock properly, its priceless because it belonged to my parents.
    Bruce99 - I will be happy to share anything that I learn. Everyone here is so pleasant and very generous with their insight. There is a bell; silver in color. It was removed when the photo was taken, but we have it. Yes, there is a chain drive on this movement and appropriate openings in the case. My husband said that he thinks the movement and case belong together, but we both wonder if the case itself has been "decoratively" modified. Have you ever seen another clock with similar embellishments?
  4. MVT, 5 years ago
    P.S. Because the weights are missing, we aren't sure where to start in replacing them. Is there a formula or a reference chart for calculating the weights for a particular size/type of movement? We certainly don't want to damage anything.
  5. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    Your clock's case has elements of a Tall Case, (or Grandfather Clock) and what is called a "Mission Clock". Most Grandfather Clocks that I'm familiar with have very ornate, distinctively decorated faces or dials made from materials which stand out from the wood case. Your clock has a face that appears to be made from the same wood as the rest of the case. At least the grain patterns are not dissimilar. That's very characteristic of a Mission Clock.

    It also has an unusual number orientation, particularly the "4".

    The hands do appear to be New Haven, but hands are fit to a movement so that is not very helpful in identifying the case. I just do not find this pattern in my references. I lean toward it being a skillfully modified Mission Clock, but that's just a guess on my part.

    I wondered about the movement possibly being from a different case because of what appears to be two unused mounting brackets on the back plate. Again, that's nothing definitive. Clock manufacturers fit one movement to many different case designs.

    Here's a link to a New Haven Mission clock.
    The hands and face are similar...perhaps the pendulum? But that's pretty much where the similarities end.

    Regarding the weights: If references aren't available the minimum weight necessary to drive a clock's mechanisms(s) can be incrementally determined. Then it would just be a matter of ordering the appropriate weight(s) from a clock supply house. Timesavers or Merritts for example. However, as you know, that is something that should only be done once the clock is set to run with the least amount of friction possible. The movement should be properly cleaned and lubricated first otherwise you risk accelerated wear by forcing a clock to run when it really should be serviced.

    I hope that helps a little. I look forward to finding out more about your unique heirloom. Thanks again for sharing it with us.
  6. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    Here's another possibility, your heirloom may have been built at home from a plan or perhaps even a kit. There are plans available for Mission-style grandfather clocks readily available today.
  7. MVT, 5 years ago
    Thanks so much! You are so knowledgeable about clocks. I wondered if it was a Mission clock too, but I couldn't find any others with the curved top. It is possible that someone built it, but it is still quite old because my parents had it for 40 years and it looked just like this when they got it. Not to worry about us trying to put weights on this before it is thoroughly cleaned, lubricated, and running without weights, we are trying very hard to be good caretakers of this clock. Maybe it is an only child, but we are having a nice time learning about tall case clocks and the nice folks on this website. Have you been interested in clocks for a long time?
  8. gentlehands, 5 years ago
    (I am MVT's husband) After some detective work I found the clock in the J.S. Ford, Johnson and Co. 1904 catalog. It is on page 84. The one we have has been modified somewhat, but it is clearly exactly the same clock. This is a New Haven 8 day movement, offered in one of the famous J.S. Ford, Johnson cabinets. Ours has had a door added, glass in the sides, some wood cutouts, and the lion carving on an added front panel. I am now looking for appropriate weights for this clock. I plan on removing the added carvings and cutout work, but I plan to leave the glass and may well replace the added wood panels with glass to protect the clock form grandchildren and pets (I will simply replace the existing wood with glass.) In this way I hope to preserve the original character of the clock, while protecting it from its environment. I am open to suggestions and guidance.
  9. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    Very nice work! What lead you to look in a J.S. Ford, Johnson and Co. Catalog? I see that they were known for their "Mission" style furniture.

    As I originally suspected this is a skillfully modified Mission Clock!

    If you can find it locally available, I would try to use beveled glass panels. They add a very nice touch.

    I have been following the discussion over on the NAWCC message board as well. One of the members identified this particular movement as one he had previously worked on and stated that 8-9 pound weights in brass shells were what ran his movement. He included a couple of photos.

    The movement was listed in Ly's New Haven reference as circa 1915, but evidently this clock is possibly from 1904, depending upon how long J.S. Ford, Johnson and Co. cased this movement.

    Thanks for sharing the information. I'm relatively new to antique clock collecting. I really would like to know how you found this! :) Outstanding detective work!
  10. coggsworth, 3 years ago
    I recently worked on a clock with a very similar mechanism. It had two movements. The first was a New Haven time and strike movement with ladder chains. the second movement sat behind the first and played Westminster chimes. the chain for this movement were draped over the the white rollers that serve to space out the chains. The Westminster movement was made by a company in Canada. However it appeared to have been original to the clock. My guess us that New Haven didn't make Westminster movements for Grandfather clocks at this time and bought the Canadian movements.

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