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Lot No. 47
Lot No. 47
Estimate  40,000 - 60,000 €
This is a lot of the last auction!

Invented by William Congreve Esq., Height 1790 mm

, circa 1810

A unique English long case pedestal clock of museum quality, with patented "Extreme Detached Escapement" according the construction of the British Major General and polymath Sir William Congreve

Case: mahogany, rising hood glazed on all sides. Dial: brass, silvered chapter rings and applications, signed. Movm.: solid pierced brass plates united by 6 double tapered and knopped pillars, weight suspension by chain, wooden pendulum rod and -brass bob with separate rating ball, knife edge suspension.

Friends of fine clocks know Sir William Congreve (1772 - 1828) for his patented "rolling ball clocks", which appear at auctions every so often and are prized not so much for their accuracy but for their interesting design. This, however, is one of the extremely rare long case pedestal clocks using his "extreme detached escapement" that he patented in 1808. After a number of years of research and exhaustive study, the master clockmaker and restorer utilised the extant screw and steady pin holes to recreate the arms,cocks and bridges of the escapement that were absent, while retaining all the parts of the complicated and integral pendulum suspension arms. At the heart of this escapement with split anchor sits the pendulum suspension: a very large brass frame over three levels, supporting the top part of the anchor while at the same time alternately lifting and lowering both arms of the anchor the sweeping, curved anchor arms and brackets certainly present an impressive spectacle that is revealed to the onlooker by the skeleton dial. The seconds dial is double 60 as the pendulum only receives impulse every two seconds. The glass panels on all sides and the top of the graceful, beautifully moulded English case allow a perfect view.

Congreve supplied many clocks to King George III. Two longcase "Extreme Detached Escapement" clocks form part of the Royal Collection (one in Buckingham Palace and the other in St. James' Palace). Unlike this clock both the ones in the Royal Collection had their movements and escapements radically altered by Vulliamy and Frodsham respectively. John Moxon made the majority of Congreve's clocks, and are easily identifiable by his signature double tapered pillars.

Sir William, however, was not only interested in horology; he was most famous for his invention of the so-called "Congreve rocket" he invented in 1804 and which was used against the French navy in 1805 for the first time. Updated versions of his construction were used up to the 1860s, with varying success though. Still, the rockets were widely used, even in the Anglo-American War. Their use during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814 made such an impression on the author of the "Star-Spangled Banner" F. S. Key, that he devoted a line in the national anthem of the United States to the Congreve rockets: "And the rocket's red glare…". Congreve was a polymath and a very prolific inventor - his inventions included a hydropneumatics canal lock, a process of colour printing, unforgeable banknote paper, protection of buildings against fire, etc. In 1812 Congreve was voted into Parliament and remained a member until his death.
A lunar impact crater on the far side of the Moon is named in Sir William Congreve’s honour.
Case: very good
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, restaurations, capable of running, re-built

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