J. Smith & Son of St. John's Square, Clerkenwell, England. An elaborately cased year running regulator. 218145

218145 J. Smith & Son of St. John’s Square, Clerkenwell, England. An elaborately cased year-running regulator.

This important high-grade astronomical regulator is designed to run for a year on a full winding. This clock was made in Clerkenwell, England, circa 1875. This very clock is pictured in Derek Roberts, English Precision Pendulum Clocks on page 235, plates 22-9A and B.

This regulator is very unusual in that it is designed to run for one year with each winding. Very few regulators are formatted in this manner due to the incredibly difficult process of manufacturing a movement to run for this extended period of time. This timepiece is a working testament to this clockmaking company’s high level of skill. This movement is of exceptional quality. The rectangular-shaped plates are heavily constructed and are secured by four heavy brass pillars. The pillars are fastened with large screws that extend through the plates. The movement features design elements that include a Graham dead-beat escapement. The gearing is oversized and very light. A number of these gears are constructed with eight crossings. All are supported on hardened steel shafts. Other construction features include Harrison’s maintaining power, a grooved winding barrel to track the winding cord, a fine adjustment for the beat located at the top of the crutch assembly, and an adjustment for the crutch fork itself. The pendulum is carried or supported by a heavy brass bracket that is mounted to the backplate. A nicely shaped cradle locks the pendulum in place. The pendulum features a steel flat bar rod that supports a decorative cradle and single glass jar. The jar holds a volume of mercury that is used for temperature compensation. This bob format is attractive and incorporates a fine regulation adjustment in its design. A large brass cylindrical weight powers this movement. The weight is compounded and descends down the left side of the case. The pulley that holds the weight is decoratively formed and features six crossings. It is also very well made.

The movement is mounted onto a decorative wooden carved bracket attached to the clock case’s backboard. This bracket is finely finished and features some of the same decorative moldings exhibited in the case design. The works are secured to this with three large brass brackets. Two are located at the back of the works, and the third is located on the front plate. Shaped thumb screws lock the works in position from the underside.

This brass dial is engraved in an astronomical dial format having individual dials for the seconds, minutes and an hour display. Please note that the hours are formatted with Roman-style numerals in the traditional 12-hour format. Arabic numerals are used for the minutes and seconds registrars. This dial is engraved with the Marker’s name across the middle. It reads, "J. SMITH & SON CLERKENWELL." This brass dial is finished with a silver wash. This provides a stark contrast between it and the engraved details, as well as the three blued steel hands. A brass trim ring frames the dial.

The case is constructed in mahogany and is described by Roberts as an “elaborate variant of the arched case form.” It features the best selections of flamboyantly figured mahogany veneers. The case is raised up off the floor on large pad feet. The base moldings and the base section are constructed in a stepped design giving it a three-dimensional quality. The middle section of the base is set inwards by almost .75 inches, and the moldings are designed to follow this usual form. The upper base molding is a cove design. The lower edge of which is carved in an egg and dart pattern. The waist section features three large panels of glass. One is located on the front, and two are used in the design of the sides. The backboard is veneered with mahogany. The two side and front glass panels are framed with large fluted columns. These terminate in carved capitals. The top of the arch on the front section is also embellished with carvings. These carvings are well executed. The front panel forms a door that is secured in place with two pins and a cabinet lock and key. The door lock is located at the top of the case. Through this glass, this one can view the dial, movement, pendulum and weight. You will also see the pendulum swing indicator, which is mounted to the top of the base panel and positioned below the pendulum. To the right is a hole. The weight will descend through this hole and into the base to increase the run time.

This clock was made circa 1875. This case measures approximately 6 feet and 9 inches (91 inches) tall to the top of the molding. At the base molding, the case is 23 inches wide and 12.75 inches deep.



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