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Originally, cases for tall clocks were made by coffin makers and, therefore, a case became known as a sarcophocus.During the mid-to late 1700s, ninety percent were made of walnut, but after 1800, most were made of cherry and mahogany in the prevailing styles of the period---Sheraton, Hepplewhite, Chippendale, Queen Anne and Empire.Many of the dials illustrated the phases of the moon, the month and sometimes the day or the week.After the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Colonists found themselves increasingly short of raw materials, including copper and zinc for the brass clock movements.
The mechanism was encased in a wooden cabinet with a dial that told the time.
Fundamentally, these clocks consisted of four parts: The weight, the source of power; the train, which transmitted the downward pull of the weight into the rotary velocity; the escapement, which transmitted the rotary velocity of the train into intermittent--or periodic--motion; and the pendulum, the controlling element associated with the intermittent motion of the escapement.
The theory behind this was that the force of a weight is constant, while the force of spring may vary with its tension.
Clock making flourished in the Philadelphia area from the mid-1700s to the 1840s.
During this time, there were over 100 clockmakers who produced a large number of clocks, most of which are still around and still running, said, Bruce R.
Forman, an Allentown, Pennsylvania, clock historian. "Many local clockmakers were self-taught and had little formal education," he said.