An attractively designed and well-functioning table or table clock is usually the focus of all eyes. If it is also an antique and original vintage item, then it will also become one of the most appreciated pieces by its owners. Antique table clocks have been decorating spaces for centuries; millions of homes around the world have some model tha...
An attractively designed and well-functioning table or table clock is usually the focus of all eyes. If it is also an antique and original vintage item, then it will also become one of the most appreciated pieces by its owners. Antique table clocks have been decorating spaces for centuries; millions of homes around the world have some model that measures time with silent patience.
Brief history of antique table clocks or table clocks.
The origin of table clocks (also known as antique table clocks) is somewhat fuzzy, but can be established around the 14th century. The clock mechanisms of the time were oversized and ran huge designs located in cathedrals, churches and public buildings. When the dimensions of the mechanisms were reduced by replacing the weights with a spring system, clocks moved into the domestic sphere in the form of table, wall or floor models. From that time on, table clocks were manufactured with different types of mechanisms, although they all worked on the same principle: a spring motor transmitting the movement to gears, controlled and regulated by a mechanism (pendulum, weights, escapement, etc.). The gears turn the hands at a set rate.
Types of antique table clocks
Table clocks or antique mantel clocks can be classified into different groups. We can group them according to their mechanism, their design, their style, the materials they are made of... Among the most popular and attractive ones are the following:
Table clocks with Paris movements Also known as "Pendule du Paris" or "Clock of Paris" (in France and Great Britain), this mechanism does not actually correspond to a defined typology. The name "Pendules du Paris" refers rather to the place of manufacture and/or the Parisian style than to a specific mechanism. They are usually compact, round-shaped machines, designed for small cases (such as those of table clocks). They usually include hour and half-hour chimes on a bell or gong. Paris machineries are generally found in high quality sculptural clocks, made of marble, gilt bronze, etc.
Pendulum table clocks. . The invention of the pendulum mechanism is due to the Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei, who described it in a writing in the 15th century. Later, Christian Huygens built the first pendulum clock. Antique table clocks with pendulum are usually tall, slender designs to accommodate the pendulum element, which is often seen at the bottom through a glass panel.
Sculptural table clocks. . They are magnificent period designs whose case appears decorated with stylized bronze, calamine or porcelain figures. They were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially in France. The figures usually represent gallant or mythological scenes characteristic of Romanticism. The clock mechanism was hidden in a case that served as a pedestal for the sculptures, while the dial was displayed either on the front of the case or as part of the sculptural ensemble.
Table clocks made of marble, wood and gilded bronze. The use of noble and valuable materials to make table clock boxes made these objects authentic works of craftsmanship, which to this day still maintain their great beauty and attractiveness. Wooden boxes are probably the most common, using noble species such as mahogany or ebony in the manufacture of magnificent designs. Marble was widely used in the 30s of the twentieth century to manufacture beautiful art deco style table clocks. Gilded bronze (ormolu) was widely used in the manufacture of wonderful antique table clocks during the 19th century. Empire style, combined with ebony, with sculptural figures or with marble pedestals, these clocks stand out for their elegance, their luminosity and their complicated designs.
Collecting antique table clocks is an exciting hobby, which can also be an excellent investment. Watching them in good working order and enjoying their timeless beauty on a sideboard, mantelpiece or large dining table is a real pleasure.
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