Back Up

Unknown, Paris, France, 1786. Single train 14 day duration, tic-tac, one-half second pendulum. Movement with front gilt plate surrounded by three bronze figures of Atlas holding a glass celestial sphere; within the sphere a clockwork-driven orrery with plants to Saturn including working Earth-Moon system.

Other examples appear on this page to compare and contrast with current example. To save verbiage I will label each, including this example A through H.

The main takeaway from this exercise is the fact that all of these eight examples share at least one or more components in common with the current example as well as with each other. The other interesting observation is that none of these have a name identification for the clockmaker. This leads to the conclusion that the orrery of what ever style (it seems two are illustrated in these examples) was outsourced by the clockmaker. That may have also included the movement as well, since the type and shape as well as the ancillary orrery drive mechanism required a movement plate that would not be suitable for any other purpose. Even the base right down to the gilt inserts have been duplicated as well as the various types of statuary in various examples as well as the dial and hands.

All of this proves that clock making, even that which encompassed unusual or fairly limited production runs as these surely were, was a well established industry with a defined and well developed division of sourcing of both parts and labor which was called upon to produce a product for the end user.

I first became aware of this in another complex clock that I was researching that used a similar tellurion dial and mechanism for a variety of clocks made during the same period. The link is: http://www.my-time-machines.net/pouvillon_restoration3a.htm

A. The example illustrated, unknown maker, most likely Paris, France. 1786
B. Example in the collection of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, likely the same origin and closely dated to the example here.
C. Unknown maker, likely from France, last quarter of 18th century
D. Attributed to Antide Janvier, Paris, France, c.1800
E. Glass globe is signed "a`Paris chez la St. Forum rue de la Harpe 1773, probably not also the clockmaker.
F. Unknown maker, likely from France, last quarter of the 18th century
G. Unknown maker, likely from France, last quarter of the 18th century
H. Unknown maker, likely from France, last quarter of the 18th century

 

Example A, is the project illustrated, next photo, Example B, from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. The main difference between the two is the different style of orrery in example B. Next that example also lacks the gilt dial surround. While the dial ring is nearly identical it is of a different style having Roman numerals, but has identical hands (the original hour hand was intact, but the minute hand was half missing and replaced with a different style hand as an exact replica was unavailable. However enough of the minute hand was extant to prove a match to other examples). The base and decorative plaques are identical excepting for color. The movement plates, wheel planting and orrery demonstration drive are identical. When the photo was taken in 2011, the arbor of the clock drive to the orrery was missing. Currently the clock is disassembled and not on display.

   

First photo the front movement plate from the example illustrated and the next photo from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. 

 

 First photo the rear movement plate from the example illustrated and the next photo from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. 

Example C.  This clock has an identical orrery to the one I have restored, example A. One can see the drive from the clock to the orrery is out of alignment with the arbor pivot visible and pinned under the orrery table. In this example the orrery table is attached to the orrery support plate by one center pillar rather than three around the table radius. After seeing this example it is quite possible that the Earth and moon were also stars on my example, it is clear that the Earth as received was not original and the Moon as was the Mars star were missing. I did replace the Moon using a small pearl with one-half painted black, but decided to leave the Earth as received.

 

Example D, attributed to Antide Janvier.

 

Example D. The orrery mechanism is identical to example A.

 

Example D. While the orrery is identical to example A, the maker, possibly Janvier, did dress it up nicely by substituting the stars for more realistic examples of the planets and using for the Earth in what appears to be a sterling or silver plated sphere with accurate continents and latitude, longitude engravings.

 

Example D. The cast figures of Atlas are certainly from the same source as examples A and B.

 

Example E, first photo. This clock has the same cast, gilt dial surround as A. There is no orrery here, but an Earth globe. The next photo is example F. It has the same statuary castings as the prior example E. The orrery appears to be very similar or identical to example B, and the lower time dial is identical to example A and G. the hands are identical to that on examples A and B and G. The movement itself is completely different in design as it must be to accommodate a subsidiary calendar dial.

 

Example F. It looks to me that in addition to restoration and cleaning there have been some parts replacements. The planets look to be newer and rarely if ever, have I seen them drilled all the way through. Also the armatures appear to be made of curved copper wire The sun appears to be a turned ball, while it is usually a polished brass ball with gilding applied over the surface. In this example as in example B and C, the drive arbor from the clock to the orrery has been disconnected.

 

Example F. 

 

Example G, first photo. Although the original photo is a lower resolution, it appears to have the identical dial and as example A and F; the '6' and '9' are of a distinctive style, dial hands same as as example A, B and F. The marble base and decorative gilt inserts are also identical to example A and example B , excepting the color in example B. In the next photo, example H, looks to have the same or nearly same orrery style as example B, and F and G. The clock movement appears to be very nearly identical to that of example A and example B. Of course the gilt scroll frame holding the glass sphere are identical between examples G and H.

 

Example H. Orrery and sphere close up.

Back Up