Antique Skeleton Clocks

Learn more about Antique Skeleton Clocks

What is a Skeleton Clock?

A Skeleton clock is a clock that is designed to showcase the design and exposes to plain view the gears, wheels and springs within the movement. Parts that are normally concealed are exposed and the dial is often skeletonised or limited to a chapter ring to provide a mounting surface for the hour markers.

Skeleton clocks are centrally mounted upon wooden or marble base and protected from dust by a glass dome seated upon the base.

In England the ornamental nature of the frame was a very important consideration when designing the clock. Thus, the frames were fretted out in many different ways, varying from a simple rafter design to fine arabesque scrollwork, or even in the manner as to depict famous buildings.

Skeleton Clock Features

When and Where Were Skeleton Clocks Made?

Although some earlier examples are known, the skeleton clock seems to have appeared in c.1820. The early English skeleton clocks copied the inverted ‘Y’ frame, which was used so extensively in France, but rapidly assumed their own identity where the simple scroll frame became the most popular design.

Skeleton clocks became increasingly popular during the Victorian era and especially in the thirty or forty years following the Great Exhibition of 1851. Although the vast majority of skeleton clocks were made in England, France and Austria, some were also produced in limited numbers in other countries such as Belgium, Holland, Spain and America.

Most skeleton clocks were timepieces, although two and occasionally three train clocks were made but are rare. The English skeleton clock showcased the skill of its maker and was generally regarded then, as now, a very fine piece of engineering.

Skeleton Clocks for Sale

A large number of skeleton clocks have undergone a great deal of alteration over the years and as such prices of skeleton clocks are influenced by condition, originality and authenticity. The best advice which applies to buying any type of clock is to be vigilant and go to a reputable experienced dealer.

Olde Time Skeleton Clocks for Sale

We supply a wide range of skeleton clocks here at Olde Time. We have a huge choice with each clock more unique than the next.

Skeleton Clock Maintenance and Repair

In order to keep your antique skeleton 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 so 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, use a soft small brush, similar to a paint brush, to remove any dust that has accumulated being very careful with the delicate hands.

An antique skeleton clock should only be cleaned and overhauled by a specialist restorer. Never attempt to clean or repair an antique clock yourself.

Victorian Skeleton Clock. Dell, Bristol

Olde Time Victorian Skeleton clock

Victorian Skeleton Clock

Olde Time Victorian Skeleton Clock by A. Stewart, London

A. Stewart, London

Olde Time French Skeleton Clock

French Skeleton Clock