A very rare early 19th century French ormolu mantel clock with Chappe semaphore automata, under a later glass shade Chappe
Lot 15W
A very rare early 19th century French ormolu mantel clock with Chappe semaphore automata Chappe
Sold for £3,437 (US$ 5,750) inc. premium
Auction Details
A very rare early 19th century French ormolu mantel clock with Chappe semaphore automata, under a later glass shade Chappe
Lot Details
A very rare early 19th century French ormolu mantel clock with Chappe semaphore automata
Chappe
The case surmounted by a semaphore tower with working signalling arms pivotted about their centre and with shaped terminals, the main clock case of rectangular form and decorated to the front with a stonework pattern over-run by ivy and other foliage, on a velvet covered ebonised base, the 3 inch white enamel dial with blue Roman numerals and moon hands set over a recessed painted panel depicting a pair of windmills in a country setting with figures and animals, the circular clock movement with off-set silk suspension off-set in order to accommodate the lead pulleys that operate the automata above, the automata movement with rectangular plates and indirect winding from the base with an intricate trio of cams actuating the semaphore tower above 54cms (21ins) high to the top of the tower.

Footnotes

  • Each hour, the twin vanes spell out the name of the maker, C-H-A-P-E. An army that can relay information quickly over distance is at an immediate advantage. In 1794, Claude Chappe, an engineer, developed what he believed to be a winning scheme. His plan was to site semaphore towers at strategic points across the countryside. Using their mechanical arms and pivoted terminal vanes, any message could be transmitted along the route. It was found to be quicker than using a relay of horses and messengers - a run from Antwerp to Amsterdam would travel via Merksem, Brecht, Meerle, Sprang, Waal, Houten, Utrecht, Vreelan and Ouderkerk in a matter of hours rather than days. A folder including images of semaphore towers, the alphabet and other information relating to this clock is sold with the lot.
Activities
Contacts
  1. James Stratton
    Specialist - Clocks
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 207 468 8364
    FaxFax: +44 207 468 8370
  2. Charles Crisford
    Specialist - Clocks
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 8371
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8370