Monday, July 30, 2012

1880's Kitchen Clock Restored

This beautiful 'Gilbert & Co.' Kitchen Clock once belonged to my grandparents.   I remember seeing it at the top of their stairs when I went to visit.  Sometimes when I had 'overnights'  they would wind it up for me so that I could hear it chime.  I loved that sound.   I remember hearing my Grandfather talk about listening to that chime.  He had fond memories of it chiming in the background, while he was on the phone courting my Grandmother.  I was so happy to inherit the clock and all the memories and history that go along with it.  

The clock is very old though and was looking dull.  The beautiful wood grain was almost hidden beneath aged shellac.  As Shellac grows older ind becomes darker and looses it's shine.   If left long enough it can actually become black, especially if it is exposed to smoke or was a dark shellac to begin with.
To restore the finish on this clock we first removed all the clock mechanisms, doors, glass, etc. We then dipped all of the wooden parts into an Alkaline bath.  If dipped long enough the shellac could have come off completely.  But we just wanted the outer layer removed so it was a quick dip for this clock.  

We then were able to apply new layers of Orange Shellac over the original shellac to restore the clock to it's original appearance.   We are actually the only shop in California that is licensed to use Shellac.  It is part of a special historical finishes permit that we have.  This permit allows us to restore pieces such as this clock, and use the original type of finish.  Pretty neat right?

Unfortunately in the life of this clock the glass did break.  That happens to glass sometimes.  To complicate the issue, this glass had a very unusual gold art print on it.  The good thing is, there are still glassmakers out there who make reproduction prints specifically for clocks such as this.  I was able to find a re-production gold print from the very same clockmaker as the original!  

This Kitchen Clock is once again in beautiful condition.  The finish gleams and it now sits proudly at the top of my stairs, right where it should be.

1 comment:

  1. Your clock is a Gilbert model named "Ivy" and the glass replacement you got is actually very close to the original that came with the clock. I have a clock identical to this one.