Tall case clock dating website
Fruitwood and solid walnut were sometimes used as alternatives to oak at about the same price, but these woods were very prone to worm, were not too popular, and have far less often survived. An early eight-day longcase in oak, made about 1730 by Stephen Blackburn of Oakham, this one an arched dial clock with imposing caddy top, much in the style of a London walnut clock of the period. The earliest longcase clocks (let's say about the year 1700) were made in eight-day form, but also, as country versions, in thirty-hour form, the latter being about half the price of the eight-day.At this earliest period an eight-day clock (without case) would cost about £5.00, a thirty-hour one about half of that.So oak cases, initially almost always of oak alone with no other woods added as trimming, began in an atmosphere of simplicity and many rural examples retained that simplicity of form and construction for about a century, until the brass dial faded from popularity in favour of the white dial about 1790. An eight-day clock of about 1750 in oak, made by the celebrated Thomas Ogden of Halifax, whose work was often housed in unusual cases.This oak case is crossbanded, most unusually, in oak and also has crossgrained oak veneer around the hood door. An eight-day clock of about 1770 by Thomas Hartley of Snaith, Yorkshire, being a clock with a rolling moon yet still having a simple cottage style of case with no crossbanding, the only decoration being dentil moulds to the hood. But not all oak clocks were restricted to this simple, early style.By popular demand some oak cases retained the simple outline but took on a little fancy work in the form of crossbanding (or other trim such as lateral mouldings, hood pillars) in a fancier wood.
But so much had crossbanded decoration become the norm, that it is in fact unusual to find an oak clock after about 1770 without crossbanding.There were provincial customers who wanted oak but wanted a bit more of a flourish, perhaps greater stature, perhaps more showy cabinetworking skills, and the country casemaker could certainly accommodate such requests.Newcomers to clocks are often surprised to find that that many oak examples are in fact of 'mixed woods' in that the basic oak body is decorated with fancy trim in other woods such as mahogany.These very factors have meant that this type of oak clock is ideally suited to many of today's customers, who seek simplicity and small stature to fit well within a limited modern ceiling height.This type of case is often called today a 'cottage' clock or perhaps a 'farmhouse' clock, these being modern terms we have coined to describe that small, homely type of clock, with which we feel comfortable and which does not stand pompously looking down at us in the way a mahogany 'Chippendale' clock might.
Against these costs a London eight-day clock in its case of fine walnut veneers (very different in cost from solid walnut) might cost thirty pounds.