H. Norton – London. A miniature 'Act of Parliament' style wall clock.

miniature ‘Act of Parliament’ wall clock can be squeezed into any room. Even the “Tiny Houses” constructed on HGTV these days can accommodate this interesting example. The japanned finished wooden constructed case measures a mere 8 inches in length. The hanger mounted to the top adds an additional .75 inches. The case is 5 inches wide. The decorative brass bezel featuring a rope molding in the center fills that space. This bezel is fitted with a convex shaped piece of glass that protects the dial. The distance from the highest point in the bow in the convex form to the back of the case is approximately 3 inches deep. The white enamel dial measures 4.25 inches in diameter. It is also a convex form. Roman style hour numerals are displayed in a tumbled format. The quarter hours are indicated in an Arabic form. The hands are brass and well formed. The movement is good quality. It is most likely Austrian made and is a time only example. It is spring powered and designed to run two days on a full winding. The brass faced pendulum bob is supported by a steel rod that connects to the movement by a silk thread suspension. The motion of the brass bob can be viewed through the front of the case where an oval shaped opening is fitted with clear glass for that purpose. Around this oval, the clock is signed “H. Norton / LONDON.” It was customary to put the owners name or even the name of the business in which this clock was originally positioned on dial clocks. Perhaps that is why it is inscribed in this manner?

Of course this is not truly an ‘Act of Parliament’ clock. But it is sure fun to think of it that way. Some might call it a dial drop clock. It is in a way. The fact that the case is painted sort of takes it out of that category for me. What do you think?

What is an ‘Act of Parliament’ Clock? In 1797, the English Parliament passed a piece of legislation that declared that a tax would be collected on every clock in the realm. As a result, many private clock owners either hid their clocks or got rid of them altogether. Thus taverns and pubs became the preferred location for obtaining the correct time. The Tavern owners used their clocks as a draw to encourage patrons to stop by in order to find out the correct time. This of course was displayed on the clocks that were hung in their establishments. The hope was that they would stay for a pint or two or perhaps to even dine in the tavern.

This clock is inventory number 219092.


For more information about this clock click  here .