An exceptional example of an antique American cast iron ‘Novelty Clock’. During the second half of the 19th century American founders developed the ability to cast complex and delicate Victorian forms in iron – items ranging from quite large architectural elements to pieces like this. The artistic and technological complexity and detail achieved in these cast iron objects was very impressive and well appreciated by the public. However, cast iron has a tendency to become brittle and unfortunately few of these most interesting cast iron patriotic clocks have survived.
This beautiful clock’s cast iron case features an American spread wing eagle over two crossed American flags with a US Army soldier and US Navy sailor (both in period 1898 uniforms) flanking a thirty hour lever escapement clock movement supported on a ‘C’ scroll and grape motif base. An excellent presentation of American national pride in that period.
An important feature of this piece is that it retains 90% of its original polychrome painted finish! The colors are rich with minimal edge wear and a few chips from handling. It is well known among antiquarians that the paints of the 19th century tended to flake and chip off iron, and if rust got to the metal paint would perish. Very few antique painted iron objects have retained any of their original painted finish – this one has survived in truly remarkable condition.
This clock retains its original thirty hour timepiece movement with lever escapement. Clocks of this genre were built with decent quality mass production works. Most owners didn’t bother caring for their movements and simply replaced the movement when needed. This clock has its original movement, the case back cover marked, “Pat. Oct.26, 1902, Pats. Pendg.” The movement is complete but not running. When we apply finger pressure to one of the main wheels the movement ticks off nicely which indicates a professional cleaning and adjustment should put it in running condition. The original painted dial and hands are in excellent condition.
This rare, handsome, impressive, and original collector’s piece which should stand out in any collection of Americana.
Dimensions: height 11″, width 9 1/2″, depth 3 1/2″, dial/bezel diameter 2 7/8″