This beautiful clock came into my shop for repair recently. It was made by Birge, Peck & Co., Bristol, Connecticut. The accepted name for this style of clock is “Eight-Day Standard Column and Cornice Clock”.
I really like the reverse painted glass tablets in the doors. The middle glass shows “Public Square, New Haven”, and the “S” in “Square” is printed backward. The lower glass shows “Smithsonian Institute, Washington”
Birge, Peck & Co. was in business from 1849 – 1859. The backboard label says at the bottom: “Press of Elihu Geer, 10 State Street, Hartford; which dates the clock from 1850 – 1855.
When the clock came into the shop, the dial had brass grommets around the winding holes. These grommets were not original to the clock, and I removed them per my customer’s request.
The verge (the antique American term for pallets or anchor) had been replaced in the past with an incorrect part. The old replacement verge spanned only 7 teeth instead of 8, so I installed a new verge of the correct size. I moved the saddle (brass piece with the bearing holes) toward the exit pallet to be half way between the pallet tips to make their motions equal (before moving it, it was too close to the entry pallet, causing the exit pallet to move too far and dig into the escape wheel teeth). I also moved the crutch wire toward the exit pallet.
The backboard label has the following headlines:
Extra Eight Day
Rolling Pinion Steel Pivot
Birge, Peck & Co
The label features a picture of a locomotive named “The Breeze”. The case is 32 1/2 inches tall, and 19 3/8 inches wide at the top. The dial’s minute track is 7 inches in diameter. The minute hand is not original.
Birge, Peck & Co. was one of a series of clock companies involving John Birge. They used rolling pinions, a form of lantern pinion in which the pinion wires or “trundles” are pivoted on each end and rotate in the brass shrouds. Regular lantern pinions have the wires don’t rotate.
Here is a summary of the Birge companies as listed in “The Contributions of Joseph Ives to Connecticut Clock Technology 1810 – 1862”, by Kenneth D. Roberts, Revised Second Edition, Bond Press, Hartford, Connecticut, 1988.
- John Birge Birge & Ives 1831 – 1833;
- Birge, Case & Co. 1833 – 1835;
- Birge, Gilbert & Co. 1835;
- Birge & Gilbert 1835 – 1837
- Birge, Mallory & Co. 1837 – 1843;
- Birge & Fuller 1843 – 1848;
- John Birge John Birge & Co. 1848 – 1849;
- Birge, Peck & Co. 1849 – 1859.
- Clock manufacturing was discontinued in 1859 and John Birge died in 1862.
When setting up this clock, the heaviest weight goes on the right (time) side. The weights weigh as follows:
- Time weight (right): 7 pounds 11 ounces
- Strike weight (left): 5 pounds 10 ounces
The pendulum bob is 2 3/16 inches diameter and weighs 2.4 ounces. The regulating nut is not original, it should be a thin, straight knurled disc.
“The Contributions of Joseph Ives to Connecticut Clock Technology 1810 – 1862”, Kenneth D. Roberts, Revised Second Edition, Bond Press, Hartford, Connecticut, 1988.
“The Greek Revival Influence on American Clock Case Design and Empire Clock Case Development”, Lee Davis, NAWCC Bulletin Supplement 18, Spriing 1991.
Repair job 5524.
Share this post: