Antique carriage clock retailed by Thomas Gaunt and Co in the late 1800’s
A brief history on T Gaunt & Co:
Thomas Gaunt was born in London and emigrated to Australia in 1852 and established Melbourneâs leading watchmaking, optical and jewellery business in 1858 in Little Bourke Street. Around 1869 he moved to new premises in Bourke Street on the corner of Royal Arcade.
Gaunt proudly advertised that he was âThe only watch manufacturer in the Australian coloniesâ. While many watches and clocks may have had Gauntâs name on the dial, few would have been made locally. Gaunt did make some watches for exhibitions, and perhaps a few expensive watches for wealthy individuals. Gauntâs received a telegraph signal from Melbourne Observatory each day to correct his main clock, and used this signal to rate and repair shipâs chronometers and good quality watches.
He made many turret clocks for town halls, churches and post offices. He made the clock for the Melbourne Post Office lobby, to a design by Government Astronomer Robert Ellery. Some other notable clocks that he made was for the Melbourne Parliament House, Melbourne Customs House, the Flinders St Station âWatertowerâ clock and Hawthorn, Collingwood and Malvernâs Town Halls among just a few. He won an award at the 1880-81 Melbourne International Exhibition for his turret clock for the Emerald Hill Town Hall. He also made the chronograph at Flemington Racecourse which showed the time for the race, accurate to a quarter of a second. The firm also installed the clockwork and figures for Gog and Magog in the Royal Arcade.
A brief history on carriage clocks:
Carriage clocks are also known as âOfficerâs clocksâ and was developed in France in the early 19th century by the famous and arguably the most important and influential clock maker, Abraham-Louis Breguet. Story has it that they were originally designed for the Emperor Napoleon in 1812, and what makes carriage clocks different to other clocks especially at that time, is that they held a spring driven movement within its casing allowing them to be easily transported. The robust nature of the design gave carriage clocks a new level of practicality, as they were portable all the while keeping their accuracy.
Carriage clocks often have decorative handles and either porcelain, enamel or glass panels, and when glass allows viewing of the movements within.
The handles were not just there for aesthetics, as they were an important feature of the clock, making them suitable for transporting around outside the house.
Often fitted in brass cases which once restored brings them back to their former glory, the glass often had beveled edges giving it a further attractive look and style to it.
The carriage clock was designed specifically to meet the need for a more portable and durable clock, which wouldnât be damaged while being moved and taken quite literally in carriages that were rolling over cobblestone roads. These clock were built to last and have stood the test of time, with many examples still remaining in wonderful condition today.
Just as popular today as when they were made, carriage clocks have that unique ability over other antique clocks of being able to fit into any room thanks to a style and design that doesnât give it a dated look or feel to it.
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