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Winding key from automation clock

Date: c 1890
Overall: 82 mm
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Clock key
Object No: 00006185
Place Manufactured:France

User Terms

    Winding key from automation clock in the form of a ship's poop deck (00006182).
    This 1890s French automaton mantle clock is in the form of a two tiered ship's poop deck, complete with railings, compass, ladder, lanterns, helmsman and sailor. The helmsman at the ship's wheel which is connected to the clock pendulum. As the pendulum swings, he rocks back and forth steering the ship. The roman dial is at the centre of the deck, with a sailor holding a coiled rope beside.

    The movement bears Andre Roman Guilmet’s stamp 'GLT' together with 'Medaille D’Or'. This translates as 'gold medal' and refers to an award won by Guilmet.
    SignificanceThis maritime-themed automaton is a wonderful example of the ingenious and novel mantle clocks made by the French clock maker Guilmet in the late 19th century.
    HistoryNovelty clocks became popular on the late 1800's as parts became cheaper to produce and the market.
    The period 1860 to 1910 is known as "The Golden Age of Automata" and Paris was particularly well known as makers of this type of creations which included the production of automaton clocks.
    The Guilmet firm worked during the peak of this period, creating for their wealthy customers automated types of clocks based on themes such as 'maritime' or 'industry/locomotion'. Andre Guilmet became renowned for his 'mystery clocks' in which the mechanism to swing the pendulum is so cleverly disguised that it is imperceptible to the viewer.
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