2019 October Meeting

3rd October 2019

Black Marble Clocks for the Connoisseur

Bill Wolmuth

For our October meeting we are delighted to welcome back Bill Wolmuth who will show that not all black marble clocks are created equal.

Within the horological world there is a common misconception that the movements to black marble clocks are all very similar and machine made.  However, as with any type of clock, there are examples of considerable interest for the horologist who is prepared to look and there is no doubt that many of the movements, particularly early or rare ones, included a high degree of manual work to a very high standard.

Bill Wolmuth is a consulting engineer and an amateur horologist who has been interested in black marble clocks for more than 30 years. He is based in London and is Secretary to St Albans Clock Club. In collaboration with John Glanville, he co-authored the book ‘Clockmaking in England and Wales in the Twentieth Century’ on which he gave us a talk in August 2017.

In this talk, Bill will discuss unusual black marble clock movements made between the late 1840s and 1880s, illustrated with photographs, and explain how to narrow down the date of manufacture of most of such movements. The movements include ones that are quarter striking (with a countwheel or rack strike); have centre or subsidiary seconds hands; have twin wheel escapements (and are countwheel or rack strike); are year going; have calendar work (simple or perpetual); and movements with keyless winding (there are a few types).  The talk will conclude with a brief explanation of Bill’s methods for restoring black marble clock cases which have case parts missing or damaged. Branch members are welcome to bring any black marble clocks they consider will be of interest to the audience or on which they would like some advice.