New England Chapter No. 8 NAWCC


Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge Massachusetts

Meeting Highlights submitted by Richard Trepp

The April 28th meeting was held at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA. There were 260 registrations and 72 tables in the Mart. Educational programs and a featured luncheon speaker were the highlights of the day.

Chapter member Arnaud Meurs, a collector and dealer in early wood works clocks, Dutch clocks, and early Black Forest items, presented colorful slides and spoke about BLACK FOREST CLOCKS PRIOR TO 1900. Before 1870, the manufacture of early Black Forest clocks was a cottage industry. Small family shops, hand made parts were the rule. Early one-day clocks were chain wound and later 8 day clocks had winding holes in the dial. The wag on the wall and the cuckoos are the most visible examples that we see today. Clocks were not only made in Germany, but also in France and Switzerland. After 1870, the clock craftsmen came together in small factories for increased production and efficiency. Arnaud pointed out some general chacteristics to look for in Black Forest Clocks: Very Early clocks had only an hour hand. Early dials of wood were painted and often had pillars painted on both sides of the dial for the wag on the wall clocks. After 1840, decals came into use for the faces. The early dials were flat and the later ones had raised chapter rings. Older cuckoos had large birds and bellows on top of the clock. Later the bellows were moved inside of the case. Arnaud's talk generated many interesting questions at the end of the program. ­ Dave Gallup

The morning's second workshop was presented by chapter member Bob Simon who spoke on his longtime collecting interest in the history and operation of master clocks. Bob began by reminding us of the new book, Selling the True Time, by Ian Bartky who was a Chapter 8 luncheon speaker last year. He then proceeded through a full tray of fascinating slides detailing the many familiar and rare versions of precision "master" clocks designed to transmit accurate time to "slave" clocks some distance away. We first saw examples of early European master clocks, including ones on display at Upton Hall in England, which typically use a "gravity arm" rather than more common escapements. In this country, with the growing use of electricity for all kinds of tasks in the 1870's and 1880's, high-quality weight-driven regulators were wired to distant "standard" clocks at observatories, and also connected to any number of slave clocks within the same building or system. Bob showed photographs of fine Howard master clocks with beautifully-made movements.. He estimates that 600-800 Howards were manufactured. After illustrating some rare clocks by Hahl, Blodgett Brothers, Stromberg, and later European makers, he offered more details on clocks by Standard Electric and International which represented that majority of master clocks sold in this country. Another major player, Self-Winding Clock Company, made the two master clock systems for the Panama Canal, one at each end of the waterway, which also were linked by radio to the Naval Observatory. We were shown slides, too of some unusual marine master clocks. These featured top-quality chronometer or lever escapements rather than the mercury and Invar pendulums with deadbeat pallets employed on dry land. Finally, Bob discussed the Warren Telechron master clocks designed to maintain 60-cycle current from utility company generators. 300-400 Model A's and approximately 1,000 Model B's were produced. These allowed steady AC current to flow from the power stations where they were installed, essentially making every residential electric clock a "slave" to these masters. ­ Bob Frishman

CLOCK PATENTS: 1816-1861 was the after luncheon talk by Snowden Taylor, the well- known author, lecturer, and Chairman of the Research Committee for the NAWCC Bulletin. The first US patent was issued in 1790. The Eli Terry patent of 1816 for wooden movements, used by Seth Thomas, an apprentice of Eli Terry, was full of loopholes by today's standards. After the 1823 patent for movements used by Thomas, Terry sued Thomas for patent infringement. This was settled out of court but by 1829 many others were copying the movement. Ephraim Downes and Asa Hopkins were at least two honest makers who paid Terry for use of his patent. Joseph Ives patented the mirror clocks and later roller pinions. Chauncy Jerome patented the bronze looking glass case and the use of brass springs. Snowden gave a great program and covered many more early- patented developments. After the Civil War things changed and patents provided little protection. A patent was more of a prestige item. Its interesting to speculate what a litigious society that we have today might have done back them. - Dave Gallup

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Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge Massachusetts

The hotel is located opposite Old Sturbridge Village on Route 20

From Massachusetts, take the Mass Pike (1-90) west to exit 9 to Rte 20 west through the lights to the Host Hotel on the right.
From Connecticut and New York, take 1-84 east to Rte 20 west in Sturbridge, through the lights to the Host Hotel on the right.
From Rhode Island, take Rte 146 north to Rte 20 west in Sturbridge, through the lights to the Host Hotel on the right.

Those desiring overnight lodging should contact the hotel directly at 1-800-582-3232 or 508-347-7393.

Registrations before April 23, 2001 are $19.
Registrations received after April 23, 2000 and "walk-ins" will be $25.
As always, registration includes your luncheon and is required for participation in any of the meeting activities.

7:30 AM Registration name tags available for those members who preregistered.
Registration table open for "walk-ins".
8:00 AM Mart area open for setup by table holders.
8:30 AM Mart opens.
This colorful slide presentation will be given by Chapter member Arnaud Meurs., and will feature Black Forest clocks prior to the industrialization of the German clock industry. Arnaud has lectured and exhibited his clocks at NAWCC chapters in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut as well as throughout New England.
A brief history of and indepth look at the mechanical operation of unusual master clock systems, presented by Chapter member Bob Simon. Bob will explore escapements, electro-mechanical oddities, slave clocks and synchronized time systems. The slides to be shown are from many sources and have been put together through many years of research. Bob's field of expertise covers time recording clocks, watchman clocks, and bank time locks. He is a Railroad Civil Engineer by profession and a past president of the Pittsburgh PA chapter of the NAWCC.
noon Lunch
Luncheon Speaker:
Back by popular demand, Snowden Taylor will present a new lecture of his: CLOCK PATENTS: 1816-1861: a close look at the effect and influence of patents on early American design and manufacture. Snowden is known to many of you through the NAWCC Bulletin as Chairman of the Research Committee. His findings appear in every issue of the Bulletin. His specialty is early wooden and brass clocks. He has written numerous articles and co-authored books with Ken Roberts on Eli Terry and the Forestville clockmakers. He is a past president of the American Clock and Watch Museum. A retired professor of physics, he continues to present dynamic programs to chapters, regional and national meetings of the NAWCC. He a Fellow and Silver Star of the NAWCC.
3:00 PM Mart closes, security ends.

Special Note: The Silent Auction Table will run from 8:30 to 10:30 A.M. This will allow a more orderly closing and picking up and packing up for all people involved.

President's Message - Bob Frishman

"Nobody who is interested in clocks and watches in NEW England should be able to claim that he or she has never heard of us." I stressed this statement in a recent press release because one of my main goals as your new president is to make sure that this is true. While we will continue our successful format of workshops, marts, and lectures, we must attract new people to our chapter and make them feel welcome. When I am set up at antique shows or attending meetings of other groups, I'm always on the lookout for people who might be getting the "horology bug", and many of them have become NAWCC members. I encourage each of you to bring in some "new blood". Please let me know if there is some personal contact or publicity opportunity in your area where I can help spread the word.

Chapter Contacts:
If you any of you have a question or wish to contact someone in the chapter, get in touch with any of these four and they will get your message to the right person if they cannot help you.

President Bob Frishman
53 Poor St., Andover MA 01810

1st Vice Pres Dave Deutemiam
81 Kingman St., Lakeville, MA 02347

Treasurer Wayne Paskerian
5 Warren St., Winchester, MA 01890

Secretary Dick Trepp
573 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA 01106

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