Timby Solar Timepiece. Saratoga Springs and Baldwinsville, New York. No. 471
This is a very unusual clock. The case is mahogany and retains it’s original surface which is dry and consistent. The case is adorned with three finials. Two of which are in the shape of acorns and are located at the sides of the case and hang down from the upper moldings. The third is a center finial which surmounts the case. This clock stands only 27 inches tall. Interestingly, the top of this finial and the center drop which supports it, feature gilded surfaces that exhibit a wonderful patina. Inside the case, in the lower section, is the ClockmakerÕs label. It is in excellent condition. It lists this clock as No. 471 in ink. It is thought that approximately 600 of these clocks were originally produced. The patent for which was received in 1863. The Globe features the Joslin Label. It reads, “Joslin’s Six Inch Terrestrial Globe, Containing The Latest Discoveries. Boston. Gilman Joslin, 1860.” The condition of this globe is very good. It does have some minor areas of staining but, is readable. When this clock is in operation, the globe actually rotates. The hour dial, located above the globe is paper. It is in excellent original condition. The original brass arrow indicator is perfect. The lower dial or minute wheel is paper and is original to this clock. The movement for this clock is located in the bottom of the case. It is brass and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It features a balance wheel escapement and is wound from the back. The dimensions of this case are as follows: 27 inches tall, 13.75 wide at the lower base molding and 5.25 inches deep.
About Theodore Ruggles Timby of Saratoga Springs, New York.
Theodore Ruggles Timby was born in New York state on April 5th, 1822. He was a very bright person. Some of the inventions he is credited with are a floating dry dock system for the shipping industry, the revolving gun turret (a version of this was installed on the Union’s ironclad, the U.S.S. Monitor) and a sighting and electrical firing system for heavy guns. Timby died in Brooklyn, New York in 1909.
This Timby Solar Timepiece was made by L. E. Whiting of Saratoga Springs, New York. He was a local jeweler. Inside the case attached to the back of the lower door is a label that reads: “TIMBY’S SOLAR TIME – PIECE, MANUFACTURED BY L. E. WHITING, SARATOGA SPRINGS, N. Y.” It then describes the clock as, “Illustrating the Diurnal Revolution of the Earth, and serving as a GEOGRAPHICAL EDUCATOR for the SCHOOL ROOM and the Family, Ornamental in the Parlor, and useful everywhere. The old and unmeaning clockface may now be banished from use as no longer desirable. The movements in these Time – pieces is the best ever made in America, and unsurpassed in Europe; the balance wheel is set in jewels, making it as a time – keeper equal to the best lever watch and regulated in the same way. WIND ONCE A WEEK REGULARLY. WARRANTED accurate and of perfect workmanship throughout.”
Lewis E. Whiting is recorder in “American Clocks. Volume 3. American Clockmakers and Watchmakers.” This book was written by Sonya l. & Thomas J. Spittler, and Chris Bailey. Whiting is listed as working within the 1860’s. He is listed as working with Theodore Ruggles Timby. The company was formed in 1863 and lasted only 2 short years, (1865). The movements found in these clocks are reported as being made in Saratoga by either E. F. Rawson or more popularly believed by LaPort Hubbell. The clocks were sold by L. E. Whiting and he advertised that they were the Best made in America and unsurpassed in Europe… making it an excellent timekeeper…” These clocks were marketed to “Geographical Educators for the School room and the family.” It is said to have appealed to the prosperous transient population of Saratoga.
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