French Industrial Series. A "Davy Lamp." Novelty desk clock.

This very interesting clock was made in France circa 1890 and is associated with the work of A. R. Guilmet. This model is one of a series of clocks that share industrial themes. This example is modeled after Davy lamp and is in very good condition.

A Davy lamp is a safety lamp for use in flammable atmospheres. It was invented by Sir Humphry Davy in 1815. It consists of a wick with it’s flame enclosed in a mesh screen.

This case is constructed in brass and is brightly finished. The polished brass has been treated with a light lacquer protective finish so it should tarnish very slowly. The upper turret features a brass carrying ring mounted to the top. The capped roof is lightly engraved with the name “ S. S. Ladoga N. Y. Y. C.” The cylinder of glass below it protects a compass that is mounted inside. The central part of the case displays three separate dials. Each is protected by beveled glass. These dials include a time dial, a thermometer and a barometer. All three dials are treated with a silver wash. The scales on each are finished in black. The contrast is easy to read. The timepiece is spring wound and designed to run 8-days on a wind. The time mechanism is behind the dial inside the case. The case sits up on three pad feet. The legs secure the top and bottom of the case together. This clock has a very interesting look and is an easy conversation starter.

For additional information about this clockmaker please read Derek Roberts’ book titled “Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clock.”

This clock stands approximately 10.5 inches tall. It is inventory number 216058.

The S. S. Ladoga was a steam cargo ship that was built in 1892 by William Doxford & Sons Ltd in Sunderland, UK. This ship disappeared after a collision off the the coast of Hastings on March 15, 1903. I am speculating that the one of the owners / financiers was a member of the New York Yacht Club and this clock was made and presented to him as a gift.

Condition: This case has been recently cleaned, polished and highlighted with a silver wash. All of the components have been protected with a spray lacquer finish. The spring powered movements have been fully serviced and are currently in excellent working order.

About André Romain Guilmet of Paris, France.

André Romain Guilmet was born on the 10th of December 1827 in La Ferté-Gaucher, France. He is best in the world of horology as a manufacturer of mystery clocks and clocks that feature an industrial theme. He is also credited as a watchmaker and inventor. He applied for a number of patents for designs. One of the more well known applications relates to the bicycle. It was his idea to put the driving chain below the seat. His most popular “mystery clock” (mysterieuse with glass pendulum) was that of a woman who held a pendulum in her outstretched hand and arm. She is usually positioned standing on a marble base with a clock below. The pendulum is impulsed by the mechanism underneath her that moves the figure imperceptibly from side to side. The industrial series of clocks features automated clocks in the form of windmills, lighthouses, automobiles, boats, steam hammers, boilers, etc. All of which are excellent quality.

For additional information about this clockmaker please read Derek Roberts’ book titled “Mystery, Novelty and Fantasy Clock.”


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