A VERY GOOD EARLY FRENCH LIGHTHOUSE AUTOMATON FROM THE INDUSTRIAL SERIES BY ANDRE ROMAIN GUILMET, PARIS No 737 c1880
Antique French Lighthouse Clock Barometer Automaton by Guilmet No 737 c1880
Antique Guilmet lighthouse clock automaton comprising clockwork driven revolving lantern room, 8 day clock with platform escapement, barometer and twin thermometers indicating temperatures in units of Reamur, Centigrade and Fahrenheit. Principally constructed in lacquered brass, nickel plated lantern room and silver plated small parts. the lantern room remaining complete and of cylindrical form, fitted opposing clock and barometer.
The clock with 8 day movement on a platform escapement, numbered “737,” 2½” silvered die-struck roman chapter ring divided into hours and minutes, seconds displayed in Arabic at five second stations, blued steel double-arrow hands, dial with frosted lacquered brass centre, winding square at 6 o’clock, swing open bezel with bevelled glass. Drum form case. The barometer calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 27 – 31, the 2½” die-struck silvered dial with standard meteorological terms, “Stormy,” “Much Rain,” “Rain,” “Change,” “Fair,” “Set Fair” and “Very Dry,” further annotated “Aneroid Barometer.” The early pattern rack type movement driven by a substantial 2” capsule set on a circular steel chassis, contained within a drum form case. Opposing thermometers of mercury and red alcohol, set on shaped silvered registers and reading on Fahrenheit, Centigrade and Reamur scales.
Lantern room having attractive pierced gallery with scrolls and diamond form motifs, detailed and articulating weather vane mounted to vent or solar valve, the cupola with well executed straps. Detailed tower with well-executed dressed stone work, windows and door with silver plated frames, the door set on a hinge affording access to clockwork motor winding square, raised on a polished and turned slate base. The substantial clockwork motor with spring barrel and governor having a run time of around eight hours from fully wound, causing the lantern room to revolve with a period of approx 1 minute 30 seconds.
This is an early pattern lighthouse, the opening door with concealed winding square a detail that was deleted from production certainly by 1885 – very few of this pattern survive and it must be viewed as rare. The automation is truly mesmerising to observe as the different parts of the lantern room turn slowly into view. These lighthouses appeared in many different forms, principally differing in finish, the towers offered with lacquered brass, oxidised brass or bright nickel finishes, differences in finish to the detailed parts have also been observed. There were also more substantial differences in that some were produced with no automation, but just as clocks or simple barometers. The various instruments appended to the lantern room require little further description – the automated aspect of the piece does though require more explanation. The lantern room may be drawn up and away from the tower – it is connected to the clockwork motor by a long hollow shaft with an offset gear cut to its lower end. When re-installing the lantern room, the shaft is guided to its correct position by the funnel shaped attachment to the clockwork motor drive.
The subject of careful conservation and presented in very original condition with much attention paid to the preservation of originality. All mechanical aspects including clock and barometer have been professionally serviced and are working perfectly. The thermometers are absolutely original – due to their vulnerability many are broken, missing or replaced. It is particularly unusual that the alcohol thermometer retains its deep red colour and is not perceptibly bleached, something that occurs frequently to such thermometers when exposed to sunlight. The tower heavily patinated with age having traces of original colour, the doors and windows retaining much of their original silver plate, the lantern room with much original nickel finish. The weather vane a later replacement. The thermometer registers, clock and barometer dials retaining much original silvered finish. Supplied with two period keys, one for the timepiece and one for the clockwork mechanism.
These pieces have great aesthetic charm, the automation only accentuating their desirability. This antique lighthouse clock is not only very original but works perfectly in all respects. It is also a rare early production piece.
Without doubt a firm favourite for interior designers and the collector alike.
Dimensions: 19″ high x 6″ diameter (base)
Stock No: CP0640
Price: Vavasseur Archive