Dating longcase clock dials
Good timekeeper, as is my own almost identical clock. Most makers tended to follow the style of the day.
Unfortunately the maker's stamp shows that the clock was built in so someone seems to have tried to create a false provenance. George Prior is recorded as a London maker, well known and distinguished, a supplier to the home, English market, and to the Turkish market.
To preserve the authenticity of the clock I did not modify this but I did manage to improve the fit of the stud. The corner decoration tends to be full colour scenes, often of country scenes, sometimes of the four seasons, countries England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales or the four continents. After repair and regulation the clock proved to be an excellent timekeeper, accurate to within half a minute per week. This would fool most casual observers. Arch dials began about and continued as the preferred style through to current times.
Around the same period, with a slightly larger dial and a wooden hood to keep the dust out of the clock movement. Smiths Enfield movement with pendulum recoil escapement.
Matching hands started about the same time as the painted dial, in the early s. So identifying a clock just from its name can be difficult and needs careful study. If all of the feasible date ranges for all of the components overlap, there is a good probability that you have an authentic clock, not a marriage. After straightening the crutch and adjusting the fork, cleaning and oiling, the clock ran perfectly, keeping good time.
Swan necks are predominantly a provincial feature, although it is possible, but unlikely, that London makers custom made features such as the swan-neck pediment for a provincial customer. By the vast majority of grandfather clocks had two hands, for the hours and minutes. The hands were made of steel, very fine, often blued or blacked and not exactly matching. The minutes were usually dots, and not the lines inside two narrow concentric circles that we are used to, but often the minute numbers changed to the quarters only, instead of every five minutes. Pendulums too have a time progression, to they had a thin wire rod with a small rounded bob, often plain lead.
Two later dials, the painting filling the dial and arch. We can see that the dial fits very well into the case and hood.
We must judge whether they are contemporary, whether they belong together, and whether they likely started life together as one clock. Unfortunately there are lots of these clocks around still, if you want a nice original clock you need to know what to look for. Re-ground and polished, re-assembled and everything works fine. Early clocks to had a small dial, eight or nine inches square. The hands are non-matching steel.
Apart from extensive damage to the case, the pendulum and crutch were severely distorted. Customer reported that the clock would not run for more than a few hours. Only a few custom-built grandfather clocks were made after this date.
Circa to Another late dial, from the end of the Grandfather clock production days. Not working when received. All three winding arbors would have been in the centre section of the dial plate. Some case features - - - Early clock trunk doors fit flush inside the door opening, from onwards the door was given a larger edge and covered the hole sides by fitting against the case front. Pendulum crutch and fork severely distorted.