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My grandfather clock, circa 1800

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Posted 5 years ago

(1 item)

Please help pinpointing the exact year of manufacturing of his tall clock that has been in my family for generations. The inscription inside says "Osbornes Mfgs. Birmingham Eng."
Louise Fauteux

Unsolved Mystery

Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.


  1. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    Beautiful clock.
    Here's an interesting article on English Clocks in American Cases. Osborne is mentioned several times:


  2. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
    Great Bruce. I enjoyed that link.
  3. Lmfauteux, 5 years ago
    Thanks Bruce.
    I had read this article and that is what prompted my posting to know more. I am Canadian, so I don't think the casing is American. Since the inscription mentions Osbornes, I was wondering if the casing could by English also?
  4. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    I found this information:

    Osborne is one of the best known early dialmakers. Thomas Hadley Osborne was originally in partnership with James Wilson from 1772-77 and thereafter was working on his own. The firm are listed as making dials on their own from 1779-1813. I don't know if that helps any or not.

    The case looks like it is in much better condition, and possibly newer, than the dial. How long has it been in your family? (You say "generations")

    A very lovely clock. I particularly like the Lion "Knob" on the door! :)
  5. Lmfauteux, 5 years ago
    Hi Bruce,
    I remember this clock at my grand-father house but it comes from the family of another of his ancestors who was born close to Quebec city in 1800. So wether his father or he acquired it himself makes this clock close to 200 years old!
    I had the mechanism cleaned a few times since I have owned it and the clockmaker estimated it's age at 175 in 1996. As for the casing, it was also "cleaned" or "refreshed", I don't know how to call it, by a cabinet-maker in 1996. That's why it looks so good! For obvious reasons, the clock-maker did not want to tamper with the face of the clock that is a bit washed-out. The moon cycles on top of the face of the clock doesn't move anymore, unfortunately...
  6. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    Yes, you don't want to touch the dial if at all possible.

    The case restoration looks to have been very well done. If it hadn't been in your family so long I would wonder if the clock were an extremely good reproduction with a genuine antique dial/movement. No glossy polyurethane! Excellent.

    How long has the Lunar Month Dial been out of order? Was the issue there when you last had the movement serviced? If not, the moon dial may be a simple fix. It's usually a ratchet mechanism of some sort with a spring that 'locks' a tooth which has been 'advanced' by the movement. Usually, two teeth are advanced per day (1 per 12 hour period). It occurs so slowly that it's hard to see what's happening. You would have to advance the clock through a 12 hour period and watch the moon dial carefully to see if it "oscillates" instead of advancing. If it does, it's just not locking. If it doesn't move at all, something else is wrong...or perhaps the problem has already been diagnosed?

    It's really a fabulous clock! I would only let a skilled, well-established clock-maker anywhere near it.

  7. Lmfauteux, 5 years ago
    Hi Bruce,
    Thanks for the tips.I will look at the moon more closely. It has not been working since I have it, maybe before. I had not noticed when it was in my parent's house.
    As for well-skilled and established clock-makers, I afraid to call the one I had and discover he died and has no replacement!
  8. Bruce99 Bruce99, 5 years ago
    You're very welcome.

    You might try check the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors business directory at http://nawcc.org/index.php/business-directory

    You can search for clock repair folks by Country, etc. There might be someone near to you.


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