THE CLOCK's KNOWN HISTORY: Our unique museum acquired this rare and unusual Canadian-made floor clock in June of 2005. The clock's "history", recorded in French probably in the 1920s, indicated that it was made in the early 1820s north of Montreal, Lower Canada. The maker is recorded as Xavier Clement, a man who apparently made spinning wheels at that time. A scan of that small document, which includes the English translation provided by the previous owners of the clock, is included below.
THE CASE: The main case and removable hood are made of pine wood with a dark finish. In bright light there is evidence for grain painting seen through the outer finish. Some sections of the front (probably cut from the same board) show evidence for aging perhaps caused by severe temperature and humidity variations over the clock's lifetime of almost two centuries.
THE DIALS: They are made from wood, with hand-painted numbers, chapter ring, and ornamentation that includes the colourful rainbow ring around both dials and the two moons on the moon phase dial.
THE WOOD MOVEMENT: In this gallery you will see many pictures of the various wood components in the three-train movement, including the gears and pulleys. This 8-day, weight-driven pendulum clock has a painted pine wood case in the 1820s piller & scroll hood style better known for the Twiss pine-case floor clocks made in their own factory in Montreal, province of Lower Canada in the 1820s.
The Twiss brothers used 30-hour wood time & strike movements imported from Connecticut, and tin-can weights filled with stones or sand. This Xavier Clement clock has two much larger tin can weights (stones) for running the eight-day time and strike gear trains, plus a smaller lead weight for the third gear train that runs the simple quarter-hour strike on four bells.
This unusual movement also has a simple calendar system driven by two wood gears, one with seven teeth (for day of the week) and the other with thirty-one teeth (for day of the month). Two small hands indicate the day and date on the main dial below the centre. The first letter of the French word for each day of the week is printed in pencil on the calendar dial - for example j = jeudi (Thursday) and v = vendredi (Friday). See the pictures in this Gallery.
Note that the brass hands and four cast bells are replacements installed by the previous owners in Montreal when they had the movement restored (several broken teeth). It was a "basket case", missing its hands and bells, when they found it many years ago. We painted the hands flat black after acquiring the clock in June 2005.
RESEARCH: museum volunteer, Ray Springer, has done much research recently about Xavier Clement in various archives in Quebec. The results of that work will be recorded here in the near future (summer 2015).
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