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SPECIAL CLOCKS

Every now and then, a clock comes through the shop that causes real excitement. We thought it would be fun to share those with you.

The Dent Clock

This clock is attributed to Edward John Dent, the man who received the contract to build the clock for the tower at the Houses of Parliament in London -- the "Big Ben" clock. (Note that Big Ben refers to the bell, not the clock.) The beautifully engraved dial reads, "DENT. / TO THE QUEEN / 33, COCKSPUR STREET / LONDON." (Close-up here) E.J. Dent died in 1853, a year after the contract for the big clock was signed. The clock was manufactured by his stepson, Frederick Dent.

The case is an extraordinarily carved work of art. The 8-day, time and strike movement is also a beautiful piece of work, with heavy, solid brass plates and two fusees for winding.

We gave this clock a movement overhaul. Its back canon arbor pivot was badly worn, as was a bearing hole in the strike train. Both of these required that the holes be bushed. Dave made a cutter that matched the conical angle of the existing "oil sinks," and hand-turned new bushings which, when installed, were as close to "invisble" as possible.

The Whiteside Clock

This dial and movement came from a clock made by Thomas Whiteside of Lexington, VA. It was made around 1779, making it one of the earliest clocks made in America. It is one of only a dozen or so made by Whiteside, and the only one on which he signed the dial.

The dial shows both Whiteside's name and that of Thomas Lynch, who was the original purchaser of the clock. Descendants of Lynch still own the clock today.

As with other brass clocks of this era, the movement also features heavy brass plates (side view, exploded view). It also has a heavy iron cup bell on top that produces quite a loud hour strike.

We gave this clock a movement overhaul, and made small modifications to re-enable operation of the moon-phase dial which hadn't worked in years. We also replaced anachronistic modern bushings with the same sort of "invisible" bushings provided on the Dent clock.

On the advice of experts from the NAWCC, we also replaced the frayed brass weight cables (not original) with stainless steel cables. While stainless steel is anachronistic -- gut cable would have been used -- this was not a museum clock; it was in constant daily use. Stainless steel provides a more reliable cable with less chance that the weights will fall and damage the antique case.

The Nixon Clock

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There was really nothing remarkable about this early-20th century Ingraham ebonized wood mantel clock except its provenance: The clock is in the Richard M. Nixon Birthplace Museum in Yorba Linda, CA. It came to Prestige through the Orange County Chapter of NAWCC, which routinely provides service to local museum clocks as a public service.

We were told by museum personnel that this clock did in fact belong to the Nixon family. Putting politics aside, it was a special experience to work on a clock with such an interesting history.

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