A VERY GOOD EARLY FRENCH LIGHTHOUSE AUTOMATON FROM THE INDUSTRIAL SERIES BY ANDRE ROMAIN GUILMET, PARIS No 155 c1880

Rare French Lighthouse Clock Barometer Automaton by Guilmet No 155 c1880

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Lighthouse clock automaton comprising clockwork driven revolving lantern room, 8 day clock with platform escapement, the back plate struck with no. “155,” silvered dial with Roman chapter ring, gilt disk to centre, blued steel spade hands, hinged bezel and bevelled glass affording access to winding square. The opposing barometer with typical French cantilever actuated rack and pinion movement (possibly by Maxant) driven from a single capsule, the silvered dial calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 27- 31, standard meteorological terms to circumference, the lower part marked “Aneroid Barometer,” blued steel arrow form pointer, gilt brass index, bevelled glass. Twin thermometers set on silvered brass registers with scales calibrated in Centigrade, Fahrenheit and Reamur.

All arranged in and around a clockwork rotating lantern room with rotation period of approx. two minutes. Lantern room having vertically mounted axial tubular drive shaft terminating in dog teeth locating into a guiding cone engaging with a base mounted clockwork motor within three plates, having a large going barrel, worm and wheel governor. Silver plated straps to cupola, with ball vent, lightening conductor and arrow form weather vane, the gallery with pierced and silver plated fence.

The tower with simulated block work, silver plated windows and hinged opening silver plated door affording access to clockwork winding square. All raised on a circular slate plinth.

Supplied with a correct double-ended winding key.

Watch the lantern room revolving!


Condition: Almost all of these pieces have been restored at some time, those existing in original condition becoming almost impossible to find. Both thermometers have been replaced – these are almost always missing or broken, the lantern room and tower re-lacquered, the tubular section supporting the clock and barometer re-plated, the silver plate to windows, door and gallery fence remaining original. Clock and barometer dials remain original, the good condition here suggesting that the whole had been well cared for.

The clock movement cleaned and regulated, the platform replaced, the barometer serviced and calibrated. The clockwork lantern room drive motor stripped, cleaned, the governor re-set. The lightning conductor and weather vane made here at Vavasseur.

The clock keeping very acceptably good time, the barometer functioning well with accuracy equal to or better than 1/10th” across the normal barometric range (28 – 31 inches of mercury), see the performance chart. Thermometers reading 2-3 degrees low.

Comments: As restorations go this must be considered as good as any, and it is likely that this was undertaken within the last 20 years.

This is an early pattern lighthouse clock, 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.

A very desirable and aesthetically attractive piece.

Dimensions: 19″ high x 6″

Stock No: CP1868

Price: £8500






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