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Friesland or Dutch Hood Clock

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, October, 1946

Friesland or Dutch Hood Clock
By Harry S. Blaine

A Friesland or Dutch Hood Clock recently came into the writer's possession. It was obtained from Harry M. Baker, a clock collector of Jamestown, Rhode Island, who stated that it was formerly in the Flint collection and was brought from Europe by Messrs. W. & J. Sloane, of New York. The clock was found by Mr. Baker in the hands of an antique dealer in Connecticut, and it was then in its original condition, uncleaned and black from the accumulation of the grime of centuries. The clock has a crown wheel escapement with short detached pendulum at the back of the movement, swung from a wire loop fastened to the bracket. There is some ground for belief that this clock originally had a foliot balance, as its construction aside from the pendulum is identical with the Deick clock, which was the first successful timepiece utilizing wheels and gears of which there is any knowledge. In the present instance the foliot is replaced with a light horizontal crutch wire which vibrates in the same manner as the old foliot balance and imparts its motion to the pendulum through a loop or stirrup in the pendulum rod at the real'. However, J. F. Britten, the prime authority on old clocks and watches, states that because the works of these early Dutch clocks are practically identical with the De Vick movement with the exception of the crutch in place of the foliot, many persons are apt to date them earlier than would be the case; that is, prior to 1700, whereas in reality the probability is that they were made about 1700 or shortly after. On the other hand, the works of the early Dutch clocks of the period are identical with the English lantern clocks.

The clock has an alarm which is actuated by a small independent weight and chain working through a crown wheel gear and wig-wag hammer which strikes the large bell inside. The hour strike mechanism is located at the upper part to the rear. The driving power of the clock is furnished by a 4-lb. weight and a Huygens, or endless, chain 18 feet long. This would indicate that the clock was hung high on the wall in order to secure a long run.

These clocks are among the most interesting antique timepieces. They were formerly plentiful in Holland and especially on the Island of Marken. Their style is bizarre and according to Britten, sometimes approaches the grotesque. They have a wealth of ornamentation in the way of fretwork, usually made of lead or pewter representing flowers, birds and scrolls, painted in bright colors. Sometimes figures of men appeared. The dials were brightly painted with marine or pastoral scenes. Very often the fret work was gilded. A prominent feature was the canopy or hood above the dial, edged by lively images of beasts or dolphins. 

The movement is mounted on four turned wooden feet standing on the small platform or shelf at the bottom which is supported by a bracket. The backboard is 27 inches high and is edged by figures of mermaids, originally brightly colored. The whole combination was hung on a stout nail or hook. The clock is in working order.

The clock hands are of heavy brass. The small alarm set at the center of the dial. The works are enclosed in a light iron box with side doors, with glass, giving access to the inside. The dial is of iron, brightly painted with a harbor scene. The upper fret work is riveted to the dial. It is highly gilded.

The dimensions of the clock are:
width, back and front, 13 inches; height 27 inches; diameter of time circle 7 inches. Date: 1700 A. D., or shortly thereafter. 


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