c.1840 Extremely Rare Helical Geared Month-Going Skeleton Clock

Collections > Sold
c.1840 Extremely Rare Helical Geared Month-Going Skeleton Clock
Inv. #: e56

Charles MacDowall, Leeds, No. 238


The two piece engraved, silvered dial has Roman numerals for the hours, two nicely cut steel hands and is elaborately engraved in the center, ‘Mess’s MacDowall Patent Helix Lever Leeds, Monthly, No. 238’ .


The high quality month running movement has Inverted-Y shaped plates with sharply chamfered edges, three large posts screwed with collets front and rear, a two-piece silvered dial, helical gearing, a dead-beat escapement and a triangular shaped brass pendulum.

The four wheel helical geared time-only train has heavy brass three spoked wheels with rounded collets, an unusually elongated fusee with 26 turns, steel screwed end stops on the backplate and a caliper style steel dead-beat anchor that encompasses 6 teeth of an 18-tooth escape wheel. The crutch is fastened by a screwed collet to the anchor arbor and, unlike most clocks, comes down inside the backplate, encircles the next arbor and engages with the pendulum by a steel pin through a cut-out slot in the back plate.

The shaped pendulum is suspended from a screwed beat adjustment by a steel suspension spring, is triangular shaped and has a rounded brass bound bob with the rating nut located above.


The whole is mounted upon a red velvet covered ebonized base and is protected by its original glass shade.

Charles MacDowall was apparently the first in England to produce a series of clocks using this system of gearing. Although the great mechanical advantages of helical gearing were widely known by all those working within the engineering fields, clockmakers tended to rely on the traditional methods because of the great difficulty in making the helical shaped wheels and pinions to the necessary tolerances. MacDowall ingeniously retooled and created a line of high quality skeleton clocks, all seemingly different, which took advantage of this method of gearing.

Charles MacDowall is listed in Britten’s as working 1835-1872.


For additional information on MacDowall see:

Royer-Collard, pgs. 61-63 and for a similar clock see Fig. 3-50.

Derek Roberts, ‘British Skeleton Clocks’, and pgs. 171-174.

Size: Height of Clock - 9.5 in.
Overall with Dome - 14 in.
Retail Price: sold

For more information, Please contact us.

Tel: 631-757-9521
Email: info@sundialfarm.com

© SUNDIALFARM Fine Antique Clocks