English Lantern Clock:
George White &
About six years ago I came across a replica of an English Lantern Clock which was in very bad shape. At least it looked like it had been buried and dug up again. It was one of the infamous series of "Thomas Moore of Ipswich" lantern clocks. They were made in large quantities in, I guess, the fifties of the last century. I have since seen dozens of them.
Six years ago I knew nothing about lantern clocks. But because lantern clocks are made entirely of metal and have a robust appearance, qualities I very much like in clocks, I immediately fell in love with them.
All the parts of the rusty thing I found were present and I bought it for a reasonable price. It seemed a good idea to have the movement of the clock restored by the local clockmaker. But since I am a diesinker and engraver by profession I wanted to add something personal as well. So the clock was tidied up and it got a new bell that has a wonderful sound. Having no knowledge of lantern clocks, I engraved it with all kinds of patterns that (I now know) are stylistically very wrong but turned out to be very charming indeed. I still have that clock and enjoy it every day. My interest in English lantern clocks was born.
A few years later I bought another lantern clock which turned out to be a bad bargain. I made the classic mistake that a lot of antique collectors suffer at least once in their life. I got carried away with the desire to have a real antique lantern clock without exactly knowing what to look for. What was wrong I learned only slowly and many months later. It turned out to be a strange mix of parts from all different movements, with original elements of French and English lantern clocks joined together with modern parts.
Once bitten twice shy I have now become extremely careful when buying a lantern clock. But this bad experience didn't affect my interest in lantern clocks and I decided to turn this experience into something good. The first thing to do was to gather as much information about the subject as possible. The next thing was, in my case, trying to make a complete clock with my own hands. As said before, I am an engraver and die-sinker by profession and I have learned the crafts of a goldsmith. With these qualifications it was possible for me to make a complete frame of a lantern clock. Unfortunately the education of a goldsmith in the Netherlands provides students only with a rudimentary knowledge of clock making. But that was something that I could deal with later on in the manufacturing process.
Through both methods (studying and building) I hope to gain enough knowledge to become a local expert.