French Vedette clock or box clock.
French Vedette Box Clock. 1920’s.
I have two clocks of this type in my collection. They are both well-made clocks with high quality robust movements. These are not the most attractive clocks to collect. However, they are, by far, two of the best sounding chiming clocks in my collection. They both have the best quality chime rods and when the hammers are set at optimum height the chime and strike sound quality is very good indeed.
Repairing Vedette Clock Springs
I recall that one of the mainsprings had broken on this clock and upon disassembly, I found that the spring had broken at the ‘hole-end’ about 3 inches from the end. As such, I was able to salvage the spring by un-tempering the end and re-fabricating a new hole. Then, after cleaning and oiling, I could refit the original spring.
This is a French mantel clock.
French Mantel Clock. 1800’s.
I purchased this one only to find out it wasn’t what it appeared to be……
You will notice that there is a black plate just underneath the two winding arbors on the face. This plate covers the two ‘original’ winding arbor holes. A previous clock repairman had replaced the movement with one that did not match the winding arbor holes and drilled two others.
I believe the case and the face are both original. The movement is a small round bell strike French movement that has been attached directly to the solid brass face plate with posts and taper pins. I recall dismantling the movement. It was very well manufactured, typical of fine quality French clocks. (As a matter of fact, this particular movement actually had bronze plates.) The previous repairmen had actually done a great job replacing the movement. As such, I decided to keep the clock in my collection.
An unusual French open escapement clock.
An unusual French open escapement clock
This one was not working when I purchased it at an auction for more that I should have paid (one of my early purchases). I started to dismantle the movement and discovered that, among other things, the striking hammer was broken. I did not have a replacement and could not find one from any clock supply sources. So, I took it to a local clock repair. I asked him to repair the striking hammer and he asked me if I needed the movement cleaned, I said no and left the store.
This French IROD Clock is a two-chime wall clock from the 1920’s. Very art deco, isn’t it?
French IROD Two Chime Wall Clock
This was the first Westminster chime clock I dismantled. The movement is one of the best designed I have seen for a vintage Westminster chime clock.
Separated Movement Plates
The movement plates are separated into three separate plates enabling one to dismantle each train individually. For instance, if one wished to work on the strike train, you would only have to remove the plate that retains the wheels for that particular train. A brilliant concept.
This small French Bayard 8 day clock is the only one in my collection fitted with a Lever Escapement; similar escapements are used in watches.
The Lever Escapement was invented by Thomas Mudge in 1750 and has been used in the vast majority of watches since the 1800s.
I still have to replace the hair spring as the one in this clock is beyond repair. A previous repairman had cut a section of the spring off leaving the tail badly damaged and shortened to a degree that the regulating lever will no longer engage the spring correctly. I hope to find a new spring; this may be a difficult task as the original springs were most likely fabricated for this specific movement.
In terms of age this is my French grandfather clock is my least-old specimen …Vintage at best!
Eight day Westminster chime, chain driven movement. The cabinet work is very good compared to some other ‘modern’ clocks. This example was made in France. As you can see, there is some good quality carving on the case. The chimes on this clock also sound extremely good. Massive movement.
More Interesting French Grandfather Clock
You may find our other grandfather clocks more interesting.
Check them out.
Grandfather or Long Case
If you are interested in how the grandfather clock got its name, check out our post about it here. Believe it or not, it all started with a pop song.
This Morbier Comtoise Grandfather Clock is obviously a marriage of an original Comtoise Morbier movement and a newer hand crafted case. I purchased this clock mainly for the case. Which is exceptionally well crafted. It appears to be a handmade case of the highest quality.
The movement was fitted with a single bob pendulum that was also fashioned specifically for this case.
When I inspected the movement I noticed upon attempting to wind the clock that the winding arbor on the time train side would spin without engaging the ratchet wheel and the weight would not raise.
I don’t have much info on this one.
French(?) Wall Clock
Not even certain that it is French – may be German.
I don’t think the crown is original. The movement is in nice condition. Porcelain face and matching pendulum.
The letters R/A appear in the center of the pendulum. R/A stands for Advance and Retard. This is for adjusting the clock, indicating that one should turn the pendulum adjustment knob toward the R (anti-clockwise) to slow the time and toward the A (clockwise) to advance the time. This action simply lowers or raises the pendulum bob thus speeding up or slowing the pendulum swing.