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NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin • July/August 2012 • 

367


www.nawcc.org

Introduction

This study focuses on the conservation treatment of a clock case and the 

painted dial (Figure 1). The subject clock for this article resides in the col-

lection of the Saco Museum in Saco, ME, and was gifted to the museum by 

Charles Dodge in 2004. It bears the signature of Saco clockmaker Edward 

S. Moulton, who is responsible for the clockworks. The case is attributed to 

Abraham Forsskol, a Swedish immigrant who was a partner in the Saco cabi-

netmaking fi rm of Cumston and Buckminster. Both men, Moulton and Forss-

kol, arrived in Saco in 1814 and apparently forged a good working relation-

ship, because several clocks are attributed to them. The Saco Museum owns 

three clocks attributed to Moulton and Forsskol; this clock is the largest of the 

group.


1

 While the clock was in private ownership it was a treasured object and 

the family carried it with them as they moved around the country. Starting 

in Saco, the clock was moved at least seven times through six states, and as 

far away as Florida. With the donation of the clock to the museum it returned 

home to where its life began nearly 200 years ago.

In 2009 the Saco Museum 



contracted with East Point Conservation Studio to conserve the clock case in 

preparation for exhibition. Until that time the clock was kept in storage at the 

museum. This article describes the conservation treatment of the clock and 

the decision-making rationale for developing a treatment plan.

The clock and case are excellent examples of workmanship and collabora-

tion between Moulton and Forsskol. The case is made of solid mahogany, ma-

hogany veneers, pine backboard, and as yet unidentifi ed secondary woods, 

possibly birch or maple.

3

 The turned feet lend an exceptionally vertical feel to 



the narrow case, which has a waist door veneered and banded with fi gured ma-

A CASE STUDY 

IN CONSERVATION

 

SUBJECT: 

A Tallcase Clock, Saco, Maine, 1814-1820, by 

Edward Moulton  and Abraham Forsskol

By Jon Brandon (ME)

This  report  was  originally  presented  at  the  2010  Ward  Francillon  Time 

Symposium on conservation, restoration, and repair, held October 28–30 in 

Williamsburg, VA.

1. The subject clock is the largest of three Moulton/Forsskol clocks in the collec-

tion at the Saco Museum and is larger than other known Moulton/Forsskol clocks 

surveyed outside the Saco Museum collection.

2. Thank you to Jessica Skwire Routhier, director of the Saco Museum, for sharing 

information about the clock from the museum fi les.  Thank you to Tom Hardiman for 

information about the working histories of Moulton and Forsskol.

3. Wood identifi cations are by visual inspection.

Figure 1, right. Clock after treatment. Moulton/Forsskol clock, property of Saco 

Museum, Saco, ME. Gift of Charles Dodge, 2004, accession number 2004.17.1.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.



368

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hogany fl anked by reeded quar-

ter columns with brass capitals. 

The arched bonnet is particu-

larly attractive, with a matching 

arched door fl anked by reeded 

columns surmounted by a deep 

cove molding and three reeded 

pillars with delicate pierced fret-

work. The painted dial is equally 

attractive, with gilded spandrels 

with fl owers and leaves around 

a white dial offset with gold 

striping and a calendar window. 

Above the dial is a mechanical 

rocking ship, powered by the 

pendulum, which sails to-and-

fro across a choppy sea in an ex-

otic landscape.

Condition of the clock 

before treatment

We are fortunate to have his-

torical notes written by Charles 

Dodge concerning the history of 

the clock and its care.

4

 The fol-



lowing passage from the Dodge 

notes gives a glimpse into the 

life of the clock and an under-

standing of how its condition 

was compromised. “This Edward 

S. Moulton Clock left Saco via a 

sailing vessel with Olive Fairfi eld 

and Albert Dodge when they 

removed to Apalachicola, FL, in 

the mid-nineteenth century. Lat-

er the clock was moved with the 

family to Georgia and Virginia. 

One of their homes was low 

of ceiling and the feet were re-

moved from the clock, fretwork 

on the bonnet and the brass fi ni-

als cut to shorter length. Among 

other locations where the clock 

has served have been Flushing, 

NY, in the 1930s when the cat 

gut, suspending the weights was 

replaced with mesh wire. The 

clock has also seen service in 

Douglaston, NY, Hartford, CT, 

and Sherman, CT.”

5

 



The clock case had endured a rough-and-

tumble life and was missing several decora-

tive wood and metal elements (Figure 2). 

The fi nish was dark and nearly opaque with 

splotchy areas (Figure 3). The bonnet door 

glass was broken with a single crack run-

ning from left to right in the arch (Figure 

4). The painted dial had fl aking paint and 

was covered with a grime layer that muted 

the colors. Lost elements included the brass 

fi nials, a lock for the waist door, fretwork 

and the center pillar on the bonnet, mold-

ing on the bottom edge of the sides, and 

the feet.



Figure 2. Clock before treatment.  

Moulton/Forsskol clock, property 

of Saco Museum, Saco, ME. Gift of 

Charles Dodge, 2004, accession number 

2004.17.1.

Figure 3. Bottom panel of the clock case 

before treatment showing the darkened and 

splotchy appearance of the existing fi nish.

Figure 4. Bonnet door showing cracked 

glass.


4.  Charles Dodge written notes 

are in the object fi le at the Saco 

Museum, Saco, ME.

5.  Dodge notes.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.



NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin • July/August 2012 • 

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Developing a treatment plan

Developing a treatment plan means it is decision-mak-

ing time. Choices must be made about what actions are to 

be taken that will change the object for better or for worse

hopefully, the former. And don’t kid yourself about treat-

ments; no matter how carefully they are done, a change 

will have occurred, and the object will be different from 

what it was before its treatment. A well-thought-out treat-

ment plan is imperative to protect the object from unin-

tended harm. The factors that infl uence a treatment plan 

are many and some of these factors could be in opposi-

tion to each other. One possible set of factors could be the 

needs of an object versus the needs of the user. For exam-

ple, consider an object that is historically signifi cant (e.g., 

George Washington’s chair) but is so fragile that sitting in 

it would irreversibly damage the chair, compared to the 

needs of the owner of that object who desires to use the 

chair. The needs of the chair would dictate that it should 

not be used in order to preserve a uniquely signifi cant 

object, while the needs of the user would require inter-

vention to stabilize the chair for use, and thereby cause a 

change to historical material. Another set of factors could 

be a wealthy owner who is able to spend any amount of 

money to modify an object; but it may be unethical to 

do so. To continue the example of Washington’s chair, it 

could be that no amount of money can make it ethically 

okay to modify the chair. Or there may be perfect agree-

ment among all the stakeholders connected with an ob-

ject about the treatment goals for the object, only to fi nd 

that the end goal of the treatment is beyond the techni-

cal limits of what is possible, and therefore the treatment 

goals must be modifi ed. To help sort out these potentially 

confl icting factors a decision-making model is presented 

called the Benzene Ring of Decision Making (Figure 5).

6

 

The Benzene Ring allows for six factors to be considered. 



This model is dynamic and the factors can be rearranged 

around the ring in any desired order. The model is not 

limited to the six factors outlined here. Any relevant fac-

tor can be substituted into the model for consideration. 

Obviously, the Benzene Ring does not answer questions 

for you. Rather, it is a tool to be used to prompt thought-

ful consideration and discussion by the parties in control 

of the treatment plan. 



Role of the conservator

The decision-making process usually includes at least 

two people: the owner of the object and the conservator, 

although other parties may have a stake and a voice about 

the results of the treatment. When considering compet-

ing factors that will infl uence the course of treatment for 

an object, the conservator will take the position of be-

ing an advocate for the object. This is important because 

many of the voices heard in the decision-making process 

are stakeholders with their own agendas that may or may 

not have the best interest of the object in mind. This is 

not to say that these people would deliberately harm an 

object, but their judgment may be infl uenced by old hab-

its, romantic notions, or satisfying a personal desire. In 

these cases it is the responsibility of the conservator to 

speak up for the best interests of the object, uninfl uenced 

by personal wishes or ego.

7

 Only then will the decision-



making process be balanced with the point of view of all 

parties open for consideration.



Discussion of treatment actions

Glass

The fi rst thing we looked at was the broken glass in the 

bonnet door. Naturally, there was the question of wheth-

er to replace the broken glass with new. Initial discussions 

with the museum centered on the following questions. (1) 

Is this glass original to the clock? (2) Does the crack in the 

glass diminish the value of the clock, either monetarily 

or historically? (3) Is the crack aesthetically acceptable for 

exhibition? During this discussion the curator came for-

ward with a family story related to us in a written note 

by Charles Dodge. It tells of the time when in 1889 the 

family was moving and the movers placed the bonnet on 

the fl oor where young Olive Fairfi eld Dodge, aged 4, ran 

to it and sat on the glass.

8

 A true story like this actually 



adds value and signifi cance to the broken glass, and it 

lends credibility that the glass is probably original. This 

was a major factor in the decision to leave the broken 

glass in place. This example points out the importance of 

gathering as much information as you can before making 

decisions that will affect the object. 

6. I give credit for the Benzene Ring of Decision Making to Don Williams, my former teacher at the Smithsonian Institution, 

Museum Support Center.

7. This concept is presented as an ideal to be striven for, but because of our imperfect human nature it is not perfectly attainable.

8.  Dodge notes.



Figure 5. Benzene Ring of Decision Making.

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Structure

The bonnet was missing most of the fretwork between 

the pillars. Remnants of the original fretwork were de-

tached from the bonnet but these parts were incomplete. 

In  fact,  when  these  remnants  were  discovered  in  a  bag 

of loose parts that came with the clock, it was not clear 

if they were associated with the clock at all until they 

were pieced together to fi nd that they fi t the radius of 

the top of the bonnet. Based on Charles Dodge’s explana-

tion of the cutting of the fretwork, it became clear that 

these pieces are what remain of the original fretwork.

To restore the original appearance of the clock, new fret-



work would have to be fabricated. Deciding on the cor-

rect form of the new fretwork was simplifi ed by the fact 

that there was a pencil tracing on paper of what appeared 

to be the original fretwork found in the same paper bag 

as the fretwork remnants (Figure 6). This tracing is identi-

cal in design to two other Moulton/Forsskol clocks in the 

museum collection. It would be tempting at this point to 

accept that the tracing came from the original fretwork. 

But we are reminded of the possibility that the tracing 

could have been taken from another clock. The key fac-

tor that led us to conclude that the tracing is authentic is 

that it fi ts the larger radius of the bonnet perfectly. You 

will remember that the subject clock is larger than oth-

er known Moulton clocks. As such, the entire design is 

scaled slightly larger than the other clocks. While this 

tracing is scaled correctly, it is rather crude, so a new tem-

plate was created from it to use as the model for the new 

fretwork (Figure 7).

The other major structural loss that required com-

pensation is the missing feet and bottom moldings. This 

presented a similar question to the fretwork concerning 

evidence for the correct form for the new feet. All that 

remained was the molding on the front of the bottom 

edge. Because there was no tracing of the original feet, 

the answer was not as direct as it was for the fretwork. 

The two other clocks in the museum collection have dis-

tinctly different feet styles (Figures 8 and 9). One clock 

has turned legs, while the other has ogee bracket feet. 

This discrepancy provides a moment of confusion until 

it is realized that these two styles of feet require two dif-

ferent methods of attachment to the bottom of the clock 

case. Bracket feet are typically attached to the bottom us-

ing a set of glue blocks behind the feet, while turned feet 

are attached using tenons or dowels that penetrate into 

the bottom of the case. Examination of the bottom of 

the subject clock revealed sets of double tenons at all four 

corners of the case (Figure 10). These tenons had been 

cut when the original feet were removed, but the tenon 

stubs remain in their mortises. This is conclusive that the 

original feet had been some form of turned design. The 

museum’s  Moulton/Forsskol  clock  with  turned  feet  was 

used as the example for fabrication of the new feet. 

New molding for the sides was fabricated to match 

the existing molding on the front of the case bottom. It 

should be noted that this molding also matches the bot-

tom molding on the museum’s clock that was used for 

the feet design, lending even further credibility to the 

correctness of the form of the new feet. 

A novel method of attachment was employed for the 

new moldings and the feet; the purpose of this is three-

fold: (1) The attachment was designed to be as noninva-

sive  as  possible  so  that  original  material  is  preserved  as 

much  as  possible.  (2)  An  easily  reversible  attachment  is 

preferred so that, in the event new information prescribes 

it, future changes can be readily performed. (3) A method 

of  attachment  is  desired  that  leaves  the  original  tenon 

stubs in place for future examination and scholarly study. 

To  this  end,  the  side  moldings  were  shaped  onto  extra 

wide pieces of wood (Figure 11). The purpose of the wide 

Figure 6. Templates for the fretwork on the bonnet.  The 

lower template was the tracing made by Charles Dodge; the 

upper template is a refi ned version of the template made by 

East Point Conservation Studio.



Figure 7. The new template that was created and used to 

make the new fretwork.

9. Dodge notes.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.




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pieces is to accommodate the attachment of the new feet to 

them using two stainless steel screws per each foot (Figure 

12). This created two sets of side moldings and feet that were 

then applied to the bottom of the case using four stainless 

steel screws for each set (Figure 13). The result is a restoration 



Figure 10. Bottom of the clock case showing the four 

sets of double tenon stubs in their mortises at each 

corner.

Figure 8, left. Moulton/Forsskol clock showing the turned feet 

used as the model for the restoration feet on the subject clock.  

Property of the Saco Museum, Saco, ME, accession number 

1934.1.14. Figure 9, right. Moulton/Forsskol clock showing 

bracket feet. Property of the Saco Museum, Saco, ME.

Figure 11. Bottom of the clock case showing the 

restoration side moldings in place.



Figure 12. Restoration side moldings and turned feet 

assembled as a unit and ready to be installed on the 

bottom of the clock case.

Figure 13. Bottom of the clock case showing the 

restoration moldings and feet installed.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.



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of the feet having the correct appearance, based on the 

best available evidence, which in turn preserves this evi-

dence and can be easily reversed (Figure 14).



Finish

Much has been made of the value of furniture fi nishes 

in recent years, and in response to this there has been a 

development in the processes and accepted wisdom of the 

conservation of fi nishes. The major development in this 

arena is the idea that the coatings on furniture are con-

sidered part of the object and they deserve preservation 

as much as any other part of the artifact.

10

 The conserva-



tion of a fi nish can include consolidation of fragile coat-

ings, cleaning to remove grime, or removal of incorrect 

coatings that are disfi guring to the object or that hide an 

earlier coating. In addition to these treatments, coating 

losses may be in-fi lled with new coatings to create a con-

tinuous fi nish, or gloss levels may be adjusted to achieve 

what is deemed a more appropriate appearance. Con-

sider also that colors are often adjusted to satisfy some 

preconceived notion of correctness. Suffi ce it to say that 

the treatment of furniture fi nishes is a nuanced pursuit 

involving a continuum of possible results. Complicating 

the successful treatment is that the myriad of subtle qual-

ities affecting the appearance of a fi nish  must  be  com-

municated between the conservator and the keeper of the 

object so that the two parties understand each other and 

so the result will satisfy everyone’s expectations. 

During initial discussions about the fi nish on the 

clock the curator expressed that the darkened color was 

not considered a particular detriment, because this could 

be interpreted as appropriate or at least expected for the 

age of the object. What was bothersome was the uneven 

color and splotchy appearance (Figure 3). As usual, this 

was a starting point for determining an appropriate treat-

ment plan. Before we begin any work on the coatings, 

there are several questions we try to answer: (1) Is there 

anything wrong with the existing fi nish, or at least with 

the fi nish we can see? After all, we can only see the top 

layer of coatings. (2) Are we looking at the original fi n-

ish? If so, this factor would infl uence our treatment plan 

because original fi nishes are rare. (3) Is there an earlier 

fi nish lurking underneath this visible coating? If so, what 

is it, and what is its condition?

To try to answer these questions we typically examine 

coatings in visible light and ultraviolet (UV) light. In visi-

ble light we could answer partially the fi rst question men-

tioned above. We could see that the fi nish was darkened, 

which in this case was not considered a problem. But 

the splotchy color would have to be improved to make 

the clock ready for exhibition. The second question was 

answered by a fortunate piece of information provided 

again by notes in the museum fi le from Charles Dodge. 

He writes that the clock was maintained with periodic 

applications of linseed oil and turpentine. This is an old 

familiar  recipe  used  by  many  well-intentioned  caretak-

ers for “maintenance” of furniture fi nishes. This recipe is 

now known to be detrimental to the appearance of fur-

niture, and caretakers are recommended to never apply 

linseed oil to furniture fi nishes.

11

 Linseed oil darkens as 



it ages, and repeated applications will eventually disfi g-

ure an otherwise acceptable fi nish. From the Dodge notes 

we know we are not looking at the original fi nish  but 

rather we are seeing a darkened linseed coating applied 

over many years. This presents the third question: is an 

earlier fi nish  existing  under  the  linseed  oil?  To  answer 

this question we examined the coatings using a combina-

tion of visible and UV light. The advantage of using UV 

for examination is that many coatings will autofl uoresce 

when  exposed  to  UV  radiation.  This  autofl uorescence 

can be used to distinguish between coatings of differ-

ing composition.

12

 The fi nish was examined in several 



places to determine the presence of a coating underneath 

the linseed oil. First, a brass capital was removed from 

one of the quarter columns, because the wood under the 

hardware could have been protected from the linseed 

oil applications (Figure 15). Many times earlier coatings 

Figure 14. View of the proper left side of the case showing 

the fi nished molding and feet in place.

10. In this article the terms “fi nish” and “coatings” are used interchangeably; they refer to the transparent or opaque layer or 

layers on the surface of the object intended to enhance the appearance and to protect the surface.

11. Linseed oil has been found to darken as it ages. It does not dry completely and will attract dirt to the surface, which com-

pounds the darkening problem. Museums in recent years have undertaken laborious cleaning campaigns to remove old linseed 

oil maintenance coatings.

12. It should be understood that autofl uorescence is not used as a method to positively identify the precise constituents of a 

coating. Rather, it is used to differentiate between coatings. Autofl uorescence is usually exhibited by characteristic colors emit-

ted by compounds when exposed to UV radiation. This process is usually carried out in a darkened room to negate the effect of 

visible light, which would infl uence the process.  

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.




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can be found underneath hardware. In visible light it was 

evident that a transparent coating with a moderate gloss 

was present (Figure 16). In UV light this coating autofl uo-

resces a bright yellow/green color, which is very different 

from the surrounding linseed oil coating (Figure 17). This 

suggests that the linseed oil was most likely not the origi-

nal coating and that an earlier coating was fl uorescing 

yellow/green. Next, we wanted to fi nd out if this earlier 

coating existed in other places on the clock. A cleaning 

solution to remove the linseed oil was developed and test-

ed on a small area (1 cm x 2 cm).

13

 This cleaning solution 



was designed to remove only the linseed oil and to leave 

the undercoating intact. This area was then examined 



Figure 18, left. Front of 

the clock case below the 

waist door in UV light 

showing a cleaning test and 

autofl uorescence of the 

coatings underneath the 

linseed oil.

Figure 17, far left. Proper 

right side of the clock 

case in UV light showing 

autofl uorescence of the coating 

under the brass capital.

13. A discussion of the chemistry of cleaning solutions is beyond the scope of this article.  For the interested reader the recipe for 

this particular solution is 2 g Pemulen, 200 ml water, 20 ml triethanolamine (TEA) buffered to a pH of 7.5-8.0 using 5 percent 

citric acid in water. The gel is applied to the surface and allowed to remain for 1 to 2 minutes and then removed with cotton 

sponges followed by a rinse solution of 10 percent TEA buffered to pH 8.0 using 5 percent citric acid, followed by a rinse using 

distilled water.

under UV light, and it was observed that the cleaned area 

had a different fl uorescence than the surrounding fi nish 

(Figure 18). (Note that some UV photographs show a vio-

let/blue cast of the surfaces as in Figures 17 and 18. This 

is a refl ection of the color of the UV illuminating lamp 

and not autofl uorescence. It’s a phenomenon that hap-

pens  when  the  camera’s  angle  of  view  is  perpendicular 

to the surface and the blue light is refl ected back toward 

the camera lens. Even when this happens a difference in 

coatings can be observed, as in Figure 18.) This was the 

fi rst indication that an earlier coating existed below the 

linseed oil. Armed with this information, a larger area (4 

cm x 4 cm) was cleaned to see if similar results could be 

Figure 15, far left. 

Proper right side of the 

clock case showing 

the brass capital at 

the top of the quarter 

column. 


Figure 16, left. 

Proper right side of the 

clock case showing 

the brass capital 

removed and existing 

fi nish underneath the 

capital.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.




374

 • July/August 2012 • NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin

www.nawcc.org

obtained, which they were (Figure 19). At this point in 

the treatment we consulted with the museum staff to in-

form them of the results and to discuss treatment possi-

bilities. The two most viable options included (1) leaving 

the darkened linseed oil intact and toning the splotchy 

areas to blend with the dark fi nish or (2) removing the 

linseed oil to recover the older coating. In this case it was 

decided that there was enough evidence for the presence 

of an intact earlier coating that could be exposed if the 

linseed oil were removed. The thinking was that by re-

moving the linseed oil we could achieve more than one 

goal. First, the splotchy areas would be removed along 

with the darkened linseed oil. Second, an historic coating 

could be recovered that was more transparent and would 

convey  wood  tones  closer  to  the  original  intent  of  the 

maker. It should be pointed out that through this process 

no original material was removed; instead, historic mate-

rial was exposed for the fi rst time in many years. Once 

all the linseed oil was removed, a very common phe-

nomenon with old coatings was observed. The recovered 

coating was intact but very thin, with a dry appearance. 

This dry look may have been what precipitated the ill-

advised application of the oil in the fi rst place. Nonethe-

less, the dry-looking fi nish was not acceptable for exhibi-

tion purposes. Therefore, a thin saturation varnish (B-72) 

was applied to improve the appearance of the fi nish by 

improving the gloss level by a small degree (Figure 20). 

It is important to note that in this case the B-72 varnish 

is completely reversible. It can be removed at any time 

without disturbing the original fi nish that is underneath. 

Reversibility of coatings requires an understanding of the 

solubility parameters of both the historic coating and of 

the new coating. The 

new coating must be 

soluble in a solvent 

that will not affect 

the historic coating. 

Discreet solvent tests 

on an older coating 

will usually provide 

a good starting point 

for choosing an ap-

propriate reversible 

varnish to be used for 

overcoating.



Figure 19. Front of the clock case above the waist door in 

visible light showing a cleaned area that was presented to 

the curator for discussion about the possible removal of the 

linseed oil.



Figure 20, left. 

Bottom panel of 

the clock case 

after treatment 

showing the 

cleaned surface 

that has been 

coated with B-72 

varnish.

Figure 21. The painted dial showing grime removal in 

process.


Figure 22. Detail of the painted 

rocking ship showing the 

puckered paint fl akes.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.




NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin • July/August 2012 • 

375


www.nawcc.org

The painted dial was in remarkably good condition, 

with the exception of a heavy layer of grime. A clean-

ing solution with a neutral pH was used to remove the 

grime layer (Figure 21).

14

 But before the cleaning could 



proceed, a small section of delaminating and puckered 

paint required consolidation (Figure 22). The act of clean-

ing a surface is abrasive even when using cotton swabs. 

For this reason, unstable paint must be stabilized prior 

to cleaning. The unstable paint in question was located 

on the rocking ship, which is made of thin-gauge tin. It 

is likely that the delamination of the paint here can be 

attributed to the fl exing action of this thin metal. The 

consolidant is applied to the edges of the delaminating 

paint and allowed to wick under the paint surface.

15

 The 


consolidant is allowed to dry slightly while the water 

evaporates. Then, using a warm spatula, the paint is gen-

tly pressed down onto the metal. The gentle heat softens 

the deformed paint so that it will lay fl at and the heat 

reactivates the consolidant enough to create enough tack 

so that the paint sticks to the metal substrate. 



Figure 23. Ship closeup before restoration. 

Figure 24. Ship closeup after restoration. 

14.  The cleaning solution for the painted dial is a 2 percent solution of triammonium citrate in water, pH adjusted to 7.5. 

15.  The consolidant used here is a 10 percent solution of Aquazol™ 200 in distilled water.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.




376

 • July/August 2012 • NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin

www.nawcc.org

Hardware

New hardware was obtained and installed to compen-

sate for the losses. The form of the new fi nials is based 

on other examples of Moulton clocks that are believed to 

have their original brass fi nials (Figure 25). The lock for 

the waist door was chosen from a standard hardware sup-

plier. One of their readily available locks happened to fi t 

the half-mortise well enough so that no modifi cation to 

the door or the lock was necessary (Figure 26). The holes 

for the attachment screws on the new lock align perfect-

ly with the two existing screw holes in the door. Even 

though the new lock has four screw attachment holes, 

only two screws were used to attach the lock in the origi-

nal holes; no new holes were drilled and two holes on the 

lock are left vacant (Figure 27). It is reasoned that drilling 

new holes to accommodate all four attachment screws in 

the new lock would confuse or mislead future scholars as 

to which screw holes are the work of the original maker. 

This reasoning works because using two screws is suffi -

cient to hold the lock securely.



A word about cleaning solutions

Cleaning painted and fi nished surfaces is a subject 

unto itself. Here are a few words of advice on the topic. 

The purpose of cleaning is to remove unwanted material 

while leaving the desired material intact. Most household 

cleaners are too aggressive for conservation purposes. 

They tend to have a very high pH, which can soften most 

varnishes. A varnish may not be noticeably affected by 

the fi rst few applications of a high pH cleaning agent; 

but chemical reactions are happening. Repeated clean-

ings using a high pH agent will have a cumulative effect 

Figure 25. The clock bonnet showing the new fretwork and 

reproduction fi nials.



Figure 26,

left. The 

original half-

mortise in the 

waist door 

showing two 

attachment 

screw holes.

Figure 27, 

right. The 

waist door 

showing the 

reproduction 

lock installed 

using two 

screws in the 

original holes.

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.



NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin • July/August 2012 • 

377


www.nawcc.org

and will incrementally degrade a fi nish. Many cleaners 

have an oily component that requires aggressive rinsing 

to remove. These factors are why conservators formulate 

custom cleaning solutions for their treatments of old 

fi nishes. Cleaning solutions are designed to be targeted 

at  removing  only  the  unwanted  material.  Conservators 

of paintings have been developing and testing targeted 

cleaning solutions for decades. In recent years furniture 

conservators have drawn on the experience of painting 

conservators and have applied the same knowledge and 

sensibility to the cleaning of furniture fi nishes. The dan-

ger of using a commercial cleaning product is that it may 

remove more than you bargained for.



Conclusion

This article has attempted to illustrate the concepts of 

modern furniture conservation as applied to a clock case. 

Those concepts include the idea that an object exists as 

a document of its life and as testament to its maker. The 

conservation of an object often involves restoration of 

compromised parts or fi nishes. Restorations should be as 

accurate as possible based on a complete study of the ob-

ject and all the related information. Whenever possible, 

the restoration should be distinguishable from the origi-

nal work, and the new restoration should be as reversible 

as is practical. So doing will avoid confusion about the 

work of the original maker versus the work of the con-

servator. The purpose of a restoration is to represent the 

object as true as possible but not to deceive about what 

is original and what is not. In this way, an object can be 

understood  for  what  it  is  rather  than  for  what  we  have 

made it into.



Materials used in conservation

1. Ammonium citrate—Spectrum Laboratory Prod-

ucts, Inc., 14422 South San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 

90248, 1-800-772-8786, www.spectrumchemical.com

2. Aquazol™ -poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline). Soluble in wa-

ter, acetone, ethanol. Talas, 20 West 20th St., New York, 

NY 10011, 212-219-0770, www.talasonline.com, info@

talasonline.com 

3. Citric acid—Spectrum Laboratory Products, Inc., 

14422 South San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 90248, 1-800-

772-8786, www.spectrumchemical.com

4. Paraloid B-72®; a registered trademark for a clear, 

colorless, thermoplastic acrylic resin. Composed of an 

ethyl methacrylate (70 percent) and methyl acrylate (30 

percent) copolymer. Soluble in toluene, xylene, acetone, 

carbon tetrachloride, MEK. Paraloid® B-72 made after 

1976 is soluble in ethanol. Slightly soluble in isopropa-

nol. Insoluble in aliphatic hydrocarbons, water, oils, 

grease. Manufactured by Rohm and Hass, Philadelphia, 

PA 19105; available at Talas, 20 West 20th St., New York, 

NY 10011, 212-219-0770, www.talasonline.com, info@

talasonline.com

5. Pemulen® TR-2—Protameen Chemicals Inc., 375 

Minnisink Rd, Totowa, NJ 07511, 973-256-4374, www.

protameen.com 

6. Toluene—Fisher Scientifi c, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.

7. Triethanolamine—Spectrum Laboratory Products, 

Inc., 14422 South San Pedro Street, Gardena, CA 90248, 

1-800-772-8786, www.spectrumchemical.com

About the Author

Jon Brandon is the owner and principal conserva-

tor of East Point Conservation Studio, specializing in 

preserving historic furniture, located in Brunswick, ME. 

Jon has 30 years of experience and is a graduate of the 

Smithsonian Furniture Conservation Training Program. 

He received further training in the furniture conserva-

tion laboratory at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and 

is a professional associate in the American Institute for 

Conservation.

Oct. 11-13, 2012

The Symposium opens in Minneapolis, MN,

on Thursday evening, October 11, 2012, with the 

James Arthur Lecture. On Friday, October 12, and 

Saturday, October 13, some of the world’s authori-

ties will present new material about carriage clocks!

A world-class display of exquisite carriage clocks

(European, American, and miniatures) will be

exhibited. 

The Symposium will close on Saturday,

October 13, with a banquet and presentation.

James Arthur Lecture: John Hubby.

Doug Cowan: Traveling Clocks Prior

to the 19th Century.

David Penney: The English Carriage Clock

as Recorded by Charles Allix: An Updated Review.

David Grace: French Carriage Clocks.

Peter Fritsch: Viennese Traveling Clocks

in the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

Ken Hogwood: American Carriage Clocks

—Trash or Treasure?

Philip Poniz: Breguet Carriage Clocks.

John Kirk: Carriage Clock Escapements.

Scheduled Speakers and Topics:

See the July 2012 Mart & Highlights for additional program information or visit

nawcc.org --> Ward Francillon Time Symposium homepage link for up-to-date information.

,

© 2012 National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without written permission.



: images -> stories
stories -> Ponad słowami Wymagania edukacyjne I kryteria oceniania z języka polskiego (zgodne z nową podstawą programową, obowiązującą od roku szkolnego 2012/2013) Zakres podstawowy Bloki nauczania
stories -> Фанатиклийи вя башга динляря гаршы кин вя ядалят бяслядийи ужбатындан Христианлары гыран, Йящуди падащынын дастаны; "Уста вя онун чяпэюз шаэирди" щекайяти
stories -> Sog’liqni saqlash vazirligi ogohlantiradi
stories -> Racjonalizm-zwrócił uwagę na konieczność posługiwania się rozumem na drodze poznania. Kontynuatorem tych poglądów był francuz- wolter. Napisał m in. Traktat o tolerancji, Kandyd oraz Edyp. Racjonalizm
stories -> Książka I możliwość czytania, to jeden z największych cudów ludzkiej cywilizacji


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