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"What are these finishes on antique clock?"

January 17, 2021

Q. Hi. I am hoping to find out what the original finish was on this vintage clock. Both on the cast iron body and on the gold coloured face plate from an as yet unknown non magnetic material.

The clock seems to be from the 1880's and made in New York. The black finish on the outer surface appears to be paint and can be scratched off, however this may not be the original finish. Likewise the current gold finish may also not be the original finish.

I'm hoping to restore the clock (as a hobbyist). Any recommendations are welcome, even non original finishes.

Astonia Clock 34271-6d   Astonia Clock 34271-6b   Astonia Clock 34271-6a   Astonia Clock 34271-6c   Astonia Clock 34271-6e  

Best regards,

Philip Fourie
- Stellenbosch South Africa

April 28, 2021

A. You've got several things going on there.

The internal parts look like nickel electroplating, which was in use at the time this clock was made.

The face and case are paint, and the filigree work is probably gold leaf.

If non-original works for you, I'd clean up the internal parts and leave them alone, paint the case with gloss black, and spray aerosol gold semigloss on the filigree work - all after toothbrush cleaning and a bit of sandpaper on the case.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

April 30, 2021

thumbs up sign Hi Jeffrey

Thank you for your reply. My plan was to polish the cast iron pieces and have it blued at a gun shop. Also strip and gold plate the face. However, the value of this clock is not that much and I would be over-investing in it. Therefore I would probably follow your suggestions.

Best regards,

Philip Fourie [returning]
- Stellenbosch South Africa

April 2021

A. Hi Philip. I am certainly no antiques expert, but based on the age of your clock and he fact that it was made in America, I'd guess that the gold coloring on the cast brass or cast iron face plate was paint or possibly gold-leaf gilding, but readers looking into older clocks of European manufacture may be interested in thread 7289 about Ormulu (a gold finish applied by dissolving gold in mercury and burning off the mercury).

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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