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Help to identify tall case clock


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Gents - purchased a tall case clock some 50 years ago and it has certainly been reliable.  Have always wondered how old it might be and who might be the maker.  The face looks to say something for the maker's name like Rouak  Kirkalan but very hard to read.   I had a part repaired about ten years ago - maybe the snail tail?? - but other than that it has been no problem.

Does anyone have an idea about the identity/age of this old clock?

Pictures attached.



1 Tall case clock.jpg

2 weights.jpg

3 Clockface.jpg

4 Maker 1st name.jpg

5 Maker last name.jpg

6 Clockface castle scene.jpg

7 back showing clockworks repaired.jpg

8 back showing repair close up.jpg

9 ckwork internal gearing.jpg

10 clockworks from side.jpg

11 clockworks other side.jpg

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I don't like asking about the quality of other members clocks, incase the answer upsets them but I know next to nothing about clocks and would like to know about the quality of this one.  Hope you don't mind @tyl. Also @oldhippy, how do you tell a good clock movement from a bad one, I've got pretty good at watch movements but clueless at clocks. 

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These Longcase clocks are known as White Dial Clocks.

According to the dial features it dates about 1825. With late white dials the painting is crude and not fine. This ties in with the case as the later the clock case the shorter the door. One way of finding the makers name is to shine an ultra violet light on the dial it normally helps. The hood has what is called swan neck 

Movement is standard 8 day duration with rack striking on a bell. It has had a repair to the rack are which in not good it needs to be remade. There are parts missing to operate the calendar. Parts can be made to have it fully operational. The crutch is wrong with a bad repair the suspension spring is the wrong length for the crutch, this makes me think the weights are not the original; also the pendulum might not be the original, because if everything was as it should be the clock would gain a lot.  It needs a good service as it is very dirty and one of the lines is starting to fray.



A lot of experience I have about 30 years in horology mainly with high grade clocks. I also worked as an adviser  on clocks for one of the main antique shops. I also valued clocks as well. There are many good books about clocks and the different types. Look up Brian Loomes he has a vast range of books many on Longcase clocks. 

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Thank you for all the pictures and information. I have rarely seen this type in the states. The northeast US has lots of Waterbury/Seth Thomas and Howard Miller though I’ve been to some of the historic homes and antique shops on Beacon Hill in Boston and sometime see examples like this. They seem very exotic here…

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rehajm, please don't get me wrong but The English and French clocks from around 1910 and back are far superior to any American clock. I know Howard Miller clocks are famous in the states but they are very poor. 

Any thing you need to know about the photos such as the names of parts just ask me. 

Edited by oldhippy
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OHippy - thank you so much for the info.  1825 - and it still works well.  You are correct about the weights.  Years ago we sent it out for repair as it just would not run.  When we got it back he had substituted either one or two much heavier weights and I had to go back and retrieve the originals.  Actually I do not remember if the weights now are the original or the heavier weights.   I attach a picture of one weight not used and I believe it is the heavier one supplied by the repair man  which I did not like and removed. But the clock runs perfectly.  

It was cleaned and serviced about seven or eight years ago and the gut strings were replaced.  At least that is what I had requested.  Guess the cleaning was not actually accomplished.  I asked the repairman about fabricating new gears to get the calendar to work again and he was absolutely not interested.  Said it would cost more than the clock was worth - so I skipped it.  

Wife thinks we were told this clock was Irish when we purchased it.  Do you think at least that it is not American?

So with all the old and possibly incorrect repairs, it may not be a valuable clock (in fact a few of my parts no longer work either) but it has become an old friend and we accept it with all its shortcomings.

Thank you again for all your insight.  Weight pic attached - quite a heavy weight too.

Weight tall case clock.jpg

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Adding more weight will cause more damage. As you know the weights drive the clock and strike, so more weight will force the clock to work when it really needs repairing. It certainly is not American and it could be Irish . That weight looks a monster and would be more at home with a mouth duration Longcase.  The movement might have been washed out in something but certainly not cleaned properly. As for the wheels missing I don't expect he had the equipment or tools to undertake making wheels. He is completely wrong about it not being worth repairing. A clock in complete working condition will add value. If you can work out the name on the dial I will be able to give a better date. Just ask if you need more help or advice.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

OldHippy - I am now the proud owner of Watchmakers & Clockmakers of The World by G.H. Baillie first printed in 1929 in a quest to identify the tallcase clock maker.

I purchased a black light but it was no help in reading the name on the clockface. 

And I have not found any clockmaker in the book who seems to match the unreadable clockface.  I am up to the "L's" in the book.  For now I am guessing the name is close to Pirkalan, Pickalun, Kirkalan, Sirkalun, Birkalan for the last name. (The first letter is just a guess as it is virtually unreadable.)  It has a scrolled top half like capital S or P or F or K.  And Ruaak or Ruaah for the first name. 

Not giving up. 

And thank you again for the advice on the mantel clock.  I was able to adjust the pendulum to make it longer - enough that it finally ran too slowly for the first time - and will gradually shorten it until it keeps perfect time.  Happy.

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Sometimes shining the light at different angles can help. I remember you saying you thought it came from Ireland I forgot to say there was nothing in the case design or the dial painting to indicate that it did. There is a vol two book which Brian Loomes is the author

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  • 2 months later...

Giving up on attempting to identify the maker.  It did just strike ten times and bring a smile to my face.  

The mantel clock is running well but must be lifted on two pennies on the right side.  I believe I can fix this by loosening the entire clockwork and twisting it a bit when I let the right side down.  

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