New England Chapter No. 8 NAWCC


Meeting Highlights
by Brian Wilcox


Ron Price
"Clocks and Watches on the Internet"

Joe Brown
"A Primer On The Repair Of French Clocks"

Chapter 8

Runs a large and busy mart

The early summer meeting took place at The Holiday Inn at Boxborough Woods Massachusetts on Saturday June 14,1997.The mart was opened at 8.30am. There were 78 mart tables and 335 members and their guests attended .

The featured luncheon speaker was Dr.Roger Robinson. Dr.Robinson is a Trustee of the NAWCC Museum,Silver Star Fellow,and co-founder with his wife Imogene,of The Willard House Museum in Grafton Massachusetts.

Dr.Robinson`s presentation was entitled "The Willard Family Clocks."with a particular emphasis on the Willard Family tall case clocks.

According to Dr.Robinson, his wife Imogene first introduced him to antiquing and taught him the finer points of identifying a good antique. In 1946, he and his wife acquired their first Willard clock, The overall height of the clock is 88 inches, made of cherry wood with solid brass finials, with an "American style " door in the Queen Anne style. The clock was made by Simon Willard when he was 18 years old, has a silver on brass dial which is inscribed in Latin "Time like life passes quickly."Simon Willard was quite pleased that he could speak some latin. That first clock "hooked " the Robinsons to the Willard Family and their clocks.This led them to search for more Willard clocks .In 1968 the Robinsons purchased Willard house, which was about to be demolished to make way for suburban development,restored it to its present condition.The Willard house and Museum was opened in June 1971 with Mrs.Robinson serving as Director. Now some twenty -five years later Dr.Robinson shared his experiences and described the clocks which we know as part of the Willard House Museum Collection.

According to Dr.Robinson, the purchase of a fine clock should be approached carefully. You can never have enough information about the clock. His advice is to seek the help of professionals, because mistakes can be very costly. Although most of the Willards cases were rarely signed, the quality of the cabinet makers work was excellent.They were regarded as a piece of furniture which attracted the attention of prominent Americans.Even today the case is valued at seventy-five to eighty per cent of the purchase price.Your inspection should always start at the back of the clock. Inspect the type of wood and its thickness. Is it a married piece ?-View the inside, are the joints glued or hidden mitered-no stain or paint, and is the finish an even mature natural color? All these questions will provide some of the answers as to authenticity and condition of the clock.

The presentation was a comprehensive one, Dr.Robinson described in some detail the clocks in the Willard House collection, outlining the transition from the English to the American style cases. The Willard clock cases range in style from "Queen Anne to Chippendale and Hepplewhite." Dr. Robinson's excellent presentation re-inforced the fact that the Willard Clocks in the museum collection are memorable. The Chapter Council are very privileged to have Dr Robinson speak at a Chapter Meeting and we thank him for sharing his remarkable knowledge and insight into the history of the Willard Family and their clocks.

To learn more of The Willards, the Willard House and Museum is open to the public and guided tours are provided free to all NAWCC members with a current ID card. Please call the Museum for further information or details about up coming events.

Recently published by NAWCC -"The Willard House and Clock Museum and the Willard Family Clock makers" by Dr. Roger Robinson and Herschel B.Burt.This book was reviewed by Chris H.Bailey in February `s Bulletin and provides more of the Willard story. This is available from the Museum Gift Shop, is a limited run book and is excellent value..

You can also borrow from NAWCC lending library two videos by Dr.Robinson, Restoration of the Willard House, and clock shop, (for chapter use only-#47) and Willard Family Tall Cases (#598).

Ron Price presented the morning workshop, entitled "Clocks and watches on the internet." An innovation and bold choice by the Program Chair and Ron Price, presenting a workshop that does not tic and tock, but rather point and click. Ron Price , best known as an authority on the Waltham Model 57 Watch, gave a well attended workshop. It was

a guide to the internet-what`s out there, where to find it, and how to use it -another tool to clocks and watches.

With the use of his laptop, and a special projector, we were all able to view the activity on a large screen. As Ron pointed and clicked, we ventured into the world of the computer. The magic of words like: email, on line, Archie, Veronica and gophers--and the initials--HTML; FAQ-HTTP; SMTP to mention just a few. We started at the beginning and learned how the Internet could help us in the world of horology. With the home page of our own NAWCC, and its related links to Willard House and other Chapters-Not forgetting Chapter Eight `s Home page, and some of the sources of information that are available on the Web, we can find everything we need in the world of horology.

The workshop was well received by web users and novices. It was directed to both, and was enough to open the eyes of some of the " unconverted.'' Overheard at the end of the workshop--" I suppose we`ll have to buy a computer."-The couple this writer met at lunch were two competent browsers who had said, " We've picked up a few tips." All the remarks positive and there was certainly information there for everyone -the novice, the intermediate user, and the expert.

Ron Price, a computer engineer with Master degrees in engineering and computer science, has been collecting antique pocket watches seriously for about ten years, and is researching the first watches produced by The Boston Watch Company. He has researched the Waltham Model 57 pocket watch, and will be making a presentation at the 1997 NAWCC Seminar. He has built the Chapter Eight Home page and linked it to the NAWCC home page and other NAWCC Chapters. Drop in and browse at http:/ .

The afternoon workshop was, " A primer on the repair of French clocks". Joe Brown helped us take the mystique out of handling these wonderfully crafted and delicate movements. Joe Brown, no stranger to us here in the Northeast, presented the workshop.

Some fifty people attended the workshop which began with an introduction to the clock ,its early production, the quality, the size and shape. The basic movement design covered a broad rang of applications in timepieces, striking and carriage clocks. Movements in various stages of repair were passed through the workshop, each one labeled with comments that provide plenty of questions and comments. Front and rear plate reassemblies were demonstrated with strike train adjustments. The different striking systems in French clocks were also reviewed. Replacement pendulums and the Brocot suspension completed a very fine workshop. Everyone was given a comprehensive clockshop manual "Repairing French Clocks" compiled and written by Joe Brown.The workshop ran well beyond its alloted time and was very well received.

Joe Brown is a NAWCC Fellow, Trustee of Willard House & Clock Museum, Council Director and longstanding member of Chapter Eight. He specializes in the restoration of 18th and 19th century clocks and watches. A well respected authority on watches and clocks, Joe has published numerous papers on horogical subjects and lectures frequently on his passion.He works from the Clockmakers Workshop in Sudbury. He also has another passion -jazz-ask him Joe and Ron Price are also reviewing micro-fiche records of The Waltham Watch Company, with a view to providing copies to be available on loan, for members of Chapter Eight through the Greater Boston Library system.

At a recent Council Meeting held at Willard House the Museum Committee Chair announced the selection of The American Clock & Watch Museum as the recipient of the Museum Intern grant. The Museum Committee also approved the selection of Shellene U. Willard as museum intern. Ms.Willard will be working directly with Chris Bailey and will assist in making a condition report, will handle minor restoration and will work on the development of a new exhibition about the origins of the industrial revolution.

"Ms.Willard has no direct family relationship with the Willard Clock Makers, she could be considered a very distant relative because she is a descendant of one of the branches of Massachusetts Willards. At the moment, Shelene`s assignment will not be Willard related."

The museum committee reported that the copying of micro fiche was still ongoing. Joe Brown and Ron Price are reviewing the Waltham Watch Company records. The review is necessary to determine what records to be copied,The review is being performed at Sudbury Library and the micro fiche records belong to Harvard Library.

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