A Glossary of Terms

Antique Jargon

Marquetry:

A form of layered wood veneer inlay work, where the design or pattern is lavish and bold.

Intarsia:

Material insert or inlay, where a patterned design is cut out and fitted into a corresponding space or cavity. 

Finials:

Used as decoration and a finishing point on clock cases.

Stringing:

Thin inlay on a clocks case that has contrasting colours or materials to that of a clocks main case.

Fluting:

The decorative technique of producing cut-out furrows or channels in a clock case either length ways or across.

Filigree:

Ornamental work made from wire, often used in the process of making ornate central discs for dials, (called filigree discs). 

Bevelled Glass:

The process of creating a smooth angled edge to thick glass.

Convex Glass:

Also known as bubble glass, this is a process where glass is curved outwards in its frame.

Hand Collet (Pinned or Threaded):

The fixing to assist in securely holding a clocks hands in position.

Beading:

A decorative or ornamental crafting process, that forms semi-circular bead shapes on a clocks case.

Platform Escapement:

An escapement is a method of releasing a clocks main spring power in a controlled manner, once a clock has been wound up. The platform is the removable base on which an escapement sits.

Fusee:

A tapered cylinder designed to maintain a constant torque when a movement is driven by a spring in its barrel. Hence movements containing a fusee are known as “fusee movements.”

Pilasters:

Rectangular structures, that project from a clocks case.

Blued Steel:

The name given to steel that has been hardened and tempered to a blue toned colour. (A process used to produce many late 19th to 20th Century bracket and wall clock hands. Steel is heated to 560-570 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve this colouring).

Gridiron Pendulum:

A form of compensated pendulum consisting of alternate steel or brass rods coupled together to help ensure that the pendulum’s swing remains constant in changing temperatures. (Commonly used in wall clocks).

Hammer (Stem and Head):

The mechanism that strikes the gong, bell or tube etc.

Rear-Hung Chiming Movement:

Refers to the chime rods of a chiming clock, which are hung from the movement backplate. 

Under-Slung Chiming Movement:

Refers to the chime rods of a chiming clock, which are fitted under the movement, resulting in a shallower case.

Backplates:

Movement plates that face away from the clocks dial. Commonly, the plate chosen to stamp makers; names/legends, trademarks, Patent numbers, brand logos and movement serial numbers.

Skeletonized Plates:

Movement plates that have extensive cut-outs to remove surplus metal. (Very common in American clocks).

Tiger Stripe Graining:

A unique and highly sought-after deep grain pattern in certain woods, likened to that of a tigers stripes. 

Block and Gong:

The coiled gong wire on sounding clocks is usually held in place by its thick metal block, hence “block and gong.”  

Garniture:

The decorative accessories that come with a clocks original inventory. 

Swag:

A swinging form of drapery or floral case decoration.

Glazed Tablets:

A small plate of glass that is mounted in a clock’s door, such as an Ogee Clock. 

Brocot Escapement:

The pin pallet used in clocks. (Popular with French clockmakers who designed clocks with the escapement visible on the front of a dial). 

Inlay:

Where lines, bands, features or floral designs etc are laid into a clock case.

Overlay:

Where something is laid on top or covers something else. 

Embellishment:

The decorative details or features added to a clock, to help make it more attractive.

Reeding:

Straight semi-circular protruding lines on clock cases, that resemble reed. 

Fretwork:

Ornately pierced wood or metal work, used on clock cases to allow sound to be emitted.

Timepiece:

In its purest definition, “timepiece” means a clock that has no strike or chiming function.