Thomas Molyneux Derby longcase clock
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Thomas Molyneux Derby longcase clock


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Product Description

Thomas Molyneux Derby longcase clock

The Thomas Molyneux Derby longcase clock was made probably in the 1790s. Richard Arkwright had built the first water powered cotton mill about twenty years earlier at Cromford, Derbyshire. Canals and the age of industrialisation and expansion created a new middle class of consumers and in order to supply the demand, painted iron dials had been introduced in the 1770s. The one-piece silvered brass dial is a hybrid that evolved from earlier composite brass dials and the later painted type: It has been suggested that the development of the 1790s silver dial was a reaction by out of work engravers to painted dials. Whatever prompted the innovation of silver dials, they were quite widely used in the better longcase clocks until  the first decade of the nineteenth century.

Likewise round dials before the 1790s are rare and it seems that this clock, with its architectural case hood was the height of fashion when it was made.

Little is known about Thomas Molyneux, Several of the same surname are listed in Lancashire and London and Robert Molyneux was appointed to the board of Longitude in 1805. Interestingly, our Thomas Molyneux (or an engraver) seems to have had some difficulty with the spelling of his name and it is often inscribed as “Mullinex”

The clock movement is a 30-hour duration but with four wheels in the going train instead of the usual three. Only a quite small proportion (maybe 2%) of 30-hour clocks have four wheels which makes them interesting to horologists and collectors. Had Thomas Molyneux desired, he could have added a seconds hand to the dial (which is impossible in an ordinary three-wheel 30-hour clock).

The gong appears to be original to the clock as there is no trace of any holes in the movement plates where an earlier bell-stand might have been fixed: Another unusual feature of the Thomas Molyneux Derby longcase clock is the count wheel which controls the number of strikes on the hour. Instead of the usual slotted count or locking wheel, the maker has opted for pins fixed into the rim of the count wheel. A somewhat different system that suggests an individualist maker.

The hands are not original to the clock: A correct pair of hands will be made for the clock and fitted to the Thomas Molyneux Derby longcase clock during pre-sale overhaul.