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wls1971

Put your sun glasses on it's Ormolu

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I had trip out Sunday to sunny Sunderland a area in the north east of England and about 90 miles from where I live. I had arranged to pick up a Winterhalder clock from a ebay seller in the afternoon so set about visiting the antique shops and centres of the north east on my way, disappointingly a few of the ones advertised as opening Sundays where shut so I travelled on up to Newcastle and visited a little back street antique centre. Whilst walking around I spotted a little Japy Freres porcelain and Ormolu clock it looked very black and grimy, the asking price was £70.00 pounds so I offered £60.00 which was accepted by the vendor,

I am very pleased with the way it has cleaned up, I took the case apart and soaked the parts in a weak solution of Horolene in a bucket overnight, I was surprised at how well the dirt came off and how well preserved the Ormolu was under all the grime, I have not done anything with the movement as yet, and have yet to clean the dial Bezel which is still as grimy as the rest of the clock was when bought, those I will leave till the weekend. It is however ticking away and keeping time as it is.The only thing I have done to the finish is to re lacquer with a mid tone Horolacq.IMG_2937.thumb.JPG.2e06ad1a921d9c92829f2c6bec953979.JPGIMG_2941.thumb.JPG.ff5106b8084bc9f10816bbb8bf1fa978.JPG

The Porcelain panels are made by Sevres and are in good condition as well.

Edited by wls1971
spelling as usual

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Its typical of the time very high Victorian about 1870-1880, understatement wasn't an option, and yes the other half does like it but she likes most things Victorian.

it's as camp as .........

I also like it so not sure what that say's about me.

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A bargain is that for £60. French strike movement, I expect it’s on a bell. The panels are good at a distance but the painting is of low quality, but who cares it has come up well. Is the case spelter?

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Yes the clock movement is French signed Japy and strikes on a bell its a open back one because it would have originally been on a plinth under a glass dome I suspect along with a couple of side pieces, the case i'm not sure if its spelter the metal when scratched looks coppery in colour under the surface and its too heavy I think for spelter.

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I like it, and at 60 quid a great buy, The only thing is why did you lacquer it? It is gold gilt on bronze and would never have been lacquered, maybe you were trying to dull the sparkel a bit :D

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Is that a W&H behind it, I have almost the same looking one, however not signed and is in elm veneer with 5 spiral gongs. I might now go into my 50 odd boxes of clocks to find it now you have sparked my memory.

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37 minutes ago, JimmyD said:

I like it, and at 60 quid a great buy, The only thing is why did you lacquer it? It is gold gilt on bronze and would never have been lacquered, maybe you were trying to dull the sparkel a bit :D

I Lacquered it because when I cleaned it there was plenty of old lacquer on it, I cleaned it off with a toothbrush so I assumed thats how it should be so I re lacquered, but now you have mentioned it that is what had probably darkened over the years and left the clock looking so dirty in the first place.

The clock behind is a walnut veneer Lenzkirch ting tang on the left and a W and H 3/4 westminster on the right  the clock on the far left is a Imhof world time clock.

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To test for spelter find a spot that can’t be seen and scratch it. If its spelter it will show a silvery colour. A light laquer will not harm it and it will prevent tarnish. 

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22 hours ago, oldhippy said:

To test for spelter find a spot that can’t be seen and scratch it. If its spelter it will show a silvery colour. A light laquer will not harm it and it will prevent tarnish. 

Gold does not tarnish, maybe that is why it costs so much?  wls1971 has already said it looks copper in colour, therefore I take it to be Bronze not Spelter.

If you have an ormolu, fire gilded or gilded bronze clock, they are all the same just different names give over time. If it has tarnish on it, this is because at some time it has been damaged, polished through the gilding or something else, and this has exposed the base metal and this is what will tarnish, the gilding itself will not tarnish.

Cleaning, I will call it an  ormolu clock as most know them by this name. I learned this through research. Sticking it in clock cleaning fluid works great, however the chemicals also attack the gilding and can damage the ormolu. Polishing is out, as all you are doing is rubbing through the gilding. I read that using boiling water will release all the gunk and not damage the ormolu as it was fire gilded at something like 2000 decrees. How I do it, I leave it in the boiling water for about 5 minutes and take a bit out and give it a scrub with a toothbrush to see how it is going, if needed put it back in and try again after another 5 minutes.  I move the pan into the sink run the tap into the other sink at warm put some dishwashing liquid on my toothbrush and give it a good clean and pat it dry with a cloth. The article said that you put the ormolu in the oven at a low heat to dry it completely, however I use a hairdryer on its hottest setting and it seems to do the job.  I would not use this method  on Spelter and frankly they are not worth the bother.

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Next time I get an ormolu clock i will try the method you describe, I was aware that Horolene is quite an aggressive mix of chemicals thats why I aired on the side of caution and used it at a far weaker concentration  than the 1 to 7 recommended by the manufacturer. I did use hot water, I think this has just softened the lacquer present on the clock and it came of easily with a tooth brush with little effort, the clock obviously had not suffered any tarnish just darkening of the old lacquer present on the clock.

I am pretty certain that the lacquer I have applied will not harm the clock but will over many years darken, these clocks where made to sit under a dome so would to a great extent be protected from dust and dirt, hence the open back seen on many of them.

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oldhippy, jimmyD thank you both for your insights on Ormolu, cleaning future ormolu clocks I shall use your method jimmy  A, Because it uses no chemicals and B its non abrasive which is the most important note of all with these clocks.

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12 hours ago, oldhippy said:

It is always best to make sure comments are as accurate as possible. Many on here are hobbyists or armatures; they rely on those with experience to be correct.  :D

I was going to let this go with my "Whatever" comment untill the above comment.

I absolutely agree with the above comment, that is why I have added the information below from Wikipedia so that people on here are not misled by un-researched comments as they "rely on those with experience to be correct."

Wikipedia;

"Gilding is any decorative technique for applying a very thin coating of gold to solid surfaces such as metal (most common), wood, porcelain, or stone. A gilded object is also described as "gilt". Where metal is gilded, it was traditionally silver in the West, to make silver-gilt (or vermeil) objects, but gilt-bronze is commonly used in China, and also called ormolu if it is Western. Methods of gilding include hand application and gluing, typically of gold leaf, chemical gilding, and electroplating, the last also called gold plating.[1] Parcel-gilt (partial gilt) objects are only gilded over part of their surfaces. This may mean that all of the inside, and none of the outside, of a chalice or similar vessel is gilded, or that patterns or images are made up by using a combination of gilt and ungilted areas. Gilding gives an object a gold appearance at a fraction of the cost of creating a solid gold object. In addition, a solid gold piece would often be too soft or too heavy for practical use. A gilt surface also does not tarnish as silver does."

The link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilding

Maybe your emogi is not smiling quite as much now.

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I was just correcting you on gold and tarnish that was all. I never mentioned gilding. Still  its nice to see you have found info about such a thing. I thank you for that. 

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20 hours ago, oldhippy said:

I was just correcting you on gold and tarnish that was all.

Where did I need correcting?

I said, "Gold does not tarnish, maybe that is why it costs so much?" and then went on to explain that it is the base metal that tarnish.

You had also said,

On 5/2/2019 at 5:54 PM, oldhippy said:

The only gold that does not tarnish is 24 ct gold, which is pure. 

Does not the above say that, let's make it simple for you , if you have a 9 ct gold ring the gold in that ring will not tarnish, why, because it is 24 ct, it is the other metals that are mixed with the ring that tarnishes it. The gold in a 9 ct ring is 24 ct!!!

Therefore I do not need correcting it is you that needs correcting.

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