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    Categories: blog

A Matter of Time

In today’s willy-nilly, dash this-way-and-that world, time is something on everyone’s mind. Most of us never have enough of it; some of us waste more of it than we use wisely, and some of us try to ignore the passing of it. So, in honour of the summer season, quickly ticking away towards autumn, today’s pictures are all about time…or the recording of it anyways. A couple of modern faces, and some vintage clocks. This vintage pocket watch is opened to show the delicate floral designs painted on it’s face.  It used to belong to my dad, but he seldom carried it. The hanging ring and outer edges of the watch are intricately carved, and though it may bear floral designs, it is a man’s pocket watch. Blurred in the background is another intricately detailed standing shelf clock which was sent to me from Holland by a friend, along with two 3-candle candle sticks (and isn’t that a tongue twister).

This clock face and “head” belongs to a grandfather clock. A modern, and very inexpensive one. While most of us who are enamoured of grandfather clocks would really prefer a “real” one, this semi-realistic one can had be had for around $100, and while it runs on battery (chimes as well), it keeps reasonable time. It’s just a little disappointing to those of us wishing for an old timepiece. The face and numbers are large and easily read, and surrounding framework is real wood, but the fancy top bits are resin, made to look like wood. Eventually, we inherited a large grandfather clock made of cherry wood, and this one was passed on to my daughter.

The clock that was passed on to us from my aunt is gorgeous, but it is way too large for our small house and to be honest, it is’t really my “taste” I guess (I prefer more modern design, and this is quite traditional). My husband was the one who wanted this grandfather clock, and I agreed on one condition – that he would be the one to maintain it. It’s an 8-day clock, which means it needs wound up (in three places, no less) every 8 days. In the beginning, he did that regularly (and oh, how I wished he wouldn’t). The clock is LOUD, not only clanging out it’s bell strikes every hour, but also on the half hour. On the hour, after it’s done striking, it plays a tune – there are several to choose from – Westminster Chimes being the one we usually leave it set at. The tones of this clock are quite appealing, but it’s so loud that I can hear it striking even during the night hours, and we sleep upstairs, while the clock is on the main floor of the house. Cleaning it is a lot of work. You don’t just “dust” this clock. The casing is all fine cherry wood that needs polished. There are “wings” on either side filled with glass shelving and glass windows, and of course the door showing the weights and pendulum is glass. Lovely clock, but a lot of work.

For almost anyone over the age of 6 or 7, this clock is instantly recognizable as the kind found in schoolrooms all over north america (for all I know, south america and europe too, since I’ve never been in any of their schoolrooms). Though I really enjoyed school (yeah, I was a weird kid, even then I guess) there were many times when I secretly (or maybe not so secretly as far as the teacher was concerned) watched one of these clocks tick down the minutes to the closing bell of the day…Friday’s before a holiday weekend, Christmas break, the last day of school in June. Hey, this really brings back some memories 🙂

This beautiful clock is an antique bronze on a marble base. The bronze figure is Diana the Huntress, with her hunting dog and bow, she is a graceful figure atop this elegant base. The clock was found many years ago (65+) in an antique store in New Jersey by my great aunt. At some time in the past, it was given to her niece (my aunt), who was the owner of this clock at the time it was photographed. It’s an 8-day clock that still works, and has beautifully toned chimes. (Edit: since that time, I have also inherited this clock from my aunt. It was given to me after she moved into a retirement home and had no space for it. I don’t keep the clock running (having one chiming clock is more than enough for me), but I have always been very taken with the bronze figure on it, and this particular bronze is so finely done and so detailed that I’d have been happy just to have the figure. The bronze piece lifts off the top of the clock; it’s just mounted on two posts that come up out of the marble and if I had my way, I’d have the figure mounted on a base instead. On it own, the bronze piece is worth more than the clock.)

This clock displayed in a mirror (notice the numbers are reversed?) was lovingly hand-built by my uncle (gone many years now) out of pine in a colonial style. He made this for my aunt (the owner of the previous clocks) to match her colonial dining room set. The clock on top opens from the front to reveal the fittings, and a space behind to keep little treasures. The shelves hold family antiques, and the little cupboard at the bottom holds more small bits and pieces. The knobs on the upper clock and lower door are blue and white pottery pieces from Holland. After my aunt entered the retirement home, this clock went to my youngest daughter. My aunt was loathe to just sell it off to anyone, since her hubby had built it especially for her, and my daughter really wanted this clock – for a couple of reasons. She and my aunt had formed a special bond, and my daughter really wanted to honour both her, and Uncle John by making a special place in her home for this family piece.

This grungy little clock was simply a dollar store purchase that runs on batteries. I bought it because I was attracted to the green and white squares in the center (don’t ask), and though it is a number of years old now, it still ticks on. Out of the many clocks we’ve owned, this one just seems to keep on going (with new evereadies of course) and keeps better time than some of our more expensive clocks. It’s a little ugly around the edges, but I think that might be one of the things I find endearing about it.

This last piece isn’t exactly a “clock”, nor are they working timepieces, but … oh, I don’t know, I guess I found the results of my quest for ways to retain some historical reference to my in-laws lives a little interesting. After my father-in-law passed away and my mother-in-law was packing up house to move into an apartment, my husband returned home from a visit with her carrying a large zipper-baggie full of old watches. I don’t think she’d actually taken time to really look at them. It looked as though she just tossed every non-working, or non-used watched into the baggie.

She’d told my husband none of them worked. As I was looking through them, I noted that a number of them had engraving on the back – one of which nearly broke my heart. It was the first watch my father-in-law had bought her, the same year they married. She was 18. On the back, the engraving had the year, and her name, and then “with all my lover forever”, and then his name. She’d kept it all those years and now just wanted to toss it? No. I couldn’t do it. The watch face was very tiny, but had an orange colour to it, which was unusual. The fittings around the bevel were gold, and the numbers on the face were gold. The bevel was the most unusual shape I’d ever seen, but it was badly cracked. Carefully, I wound it, and held it to my ear. It ticked! I sent my husband to the jewellery shop we frequent to see if there was any way to replace the bevel, and have the watch given a general overhaul. A little over $100 later, we had it back, working and with a custom made bevel that replicated the original. We gave it back to her. But, I was still left with a bag of watches, most of which could not be fixed. Some ordinary digital watches, and few standard Timex ones, we did throw out, but the others … well, the others I pulled apart and used the pieces to create this shadow box display. Most of the backs you see on here have some sort of engraving. Near the bottom of the display you’ll see a watch face with Pegasus on it – that is an old Pegasus watch – quite rare to find a face in this good of a condition, but alas, the watch itself couldn’t be fixed.

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