Antique Bracket Clocks
Learn more about Antique Bracket Clocks
What is a Bracket Clock?
The term ‘bracket’ clock describes a spring-driven clock with a short pendulum and housed in a wooden case. For example, the principal variety has a square-fronted case, with a domed top fitted with a metal handle in order to facilitate carrying.
Originally designed to stand on a table, sideboard, mantelpiece or wall bracket, bracket clocks actually draw several parallels with the longcase clock in terms of shape, colour and decoration. For instance, the hood of a longcase clock was virtually the same design as that of a bracket clock.
Many makers would have applied their skills to both bracket and longcase clocks. The first examples of bracket clocks were well proportioned with pillars at each corner, beautifully detailed mouldings and occasionally gilt-metal mounts. They did not have the carrying handle at the top but were flat or portico shaped.
In common with longcase clocks, bracket clocks were made of ebony-veneered oak; walnut, mahogany and rosewood cases followed later. Marquetry bracket clocks are rare and valuable.
Bracket Clock Features
When and Where Were Bracket Clocks Made?
Developed at roughly the same time as the longcase clock from 1660, bracket clocks had the advantage due to being reasonably portable.
From the late 17th Century, they were designed in lacquered cases, some decorated with chinoiserie, others in tortoiseshell. 17th Century lacquer was mostly black or dark green, but by 1700, other colours such as red and light green introduced.
Some cases of this period also feature complex applied metalwork and the backplates were often intricately engraved. In the Regency period, rosewood became fashionable and British makers produced a greater variety of case shapes.
Early bracket clocks have square brass dials, typically with an applied chapter ring. The arched dial became increasingly common and decorate from around 1720; they necessitated a taller case, thus producing a more impressive looking clock.
Silvered brass dials were used from c1760 and painted metal dials were introduced between 1780 and 1790. From the late 18th Century and Regency period, bracket clocks went through an interesting transitional period, starting off with the circular dial feature.
The flat brass dial and the popular round dial were introduced during this time period. Verge escapement was commonly used during the 17th and 18th Century, but anchor escapement increasingly became the popular choice for later bracket clocks.
It was only in the 19th Century that bracket clocks were made in large numbers as only the wealthy had previously been able to afford them. There was a high production in the 19th Century until the disruption of the First World War.
Bracket clocks often have a facility of a repeating lever meaning that on demand, at the pull of a lever, the last hour will be repeated. The option of ‘silent’ pull repeat was also available, so they were not disruptive during night-time. By the turn of the knob or the pull of a cord, the hourly striking would be silenced.
Bracket Clocks for Sale
Prices of bracket clocks are influenced by condition and originality. The best advice which applies to buying any type of clock is to be vigilant. Go to a reputable experienced dealer and always use a professional restorer to carry out any cleaning or repairs.
Olde Time Bracket Clocks for Sale
Often regarded as the epitome of English clockmaking, we supply a wide range of bracket clocks here at Olde Time. We have a huge choice, with each clock more unique than the next.
Bracket Clock Maintenance and Repair
In order to keep your antique bracket clock looking as good as new, you should follow these maintenance guidelines:
Keep the clock out of direct sunlight and avoid excessive hot or cold temperatures.
When cleaning surrounding areas, avoid moving the clock around. If the clock has to be moved, be very careful to either remove the pendulum or keep it as still as possible and move the clock slowly as to avoid damage to the movement.
A weekly feather dusting or cleaning of the casework with a mild natural beeswax or crystalline wax will help to remove fingerprints and a build-up of dust from the case. Crystalline wax is a mixture of refined waxes, blended to a formula used by the British Museum to revive and protect valuable furniture, leather, paintings, metals, marble, etc. It is available to buy from Olde Time.
Never use household cleaners or abrasives of any kind to clean any part of the clock, especially the gold plating and lacquer.
To clean the dial and remove any dust that has accumulated, use a small soft brush, similar to a paint brush, and be very careful with delicate hands.
An antique bracket clock should only be cleaned and overhauled by a specialist clock restorer. Never attempt to clean or repair an antique clock yourself.