Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tick Tock. Old Clock

It's been almost a year since my last entry.....

Shame on me.

Much has happened over the last year, but instead of boring my virtually nonexistent readers with a very long update, I'm going instead for a rather appropriate and quick entry about a mysterious old clock that doesn't work.

This clock hangs on the wall next to the pantry door in our newly remodeled kitchen (there, slipped in one update).  I've had it since about 1990.  Purchased from Star's Antique when it was still in NW Portland, I was first drawn to it by it's hand made, folk artsy appeal.  A rather big chunk of change at the time, I shelled out $110 for it.

Fast forward to now, it has traveled with me over the last 20 years from a rental house near Mt. Tabor, to an apartment of NE Sandy and then to my present house in North Portland.

Miss "L" stands on top of the microwave to show scale.

Made from solid oak and plywood.  The oak grain has a very dark stain that seems to be left over from being stripped of heavy black laquer such as one would find on a piano.  The pieces of the case have been hand cut and nailed together.  Even the numbers on the face have been carefully cut by hand.  The clock hands were snipped out from a piece of tin and the pendulum appears to have come from an older, professionally made grandfather clock.  Inside the case is a rusty old hand wound clock mechanism that maybe worked at one time, I don't know......To me, instead of a clock it is more like an art piece.

On the bottom of the little drawer at the bottom of the case, handwritten in blue ball point pen is, "C. G. Duncan Clockworks, Marshalltown Iowa.  This is the only clue I have as to it's story.  A google search led me nowhere and so it remains a mystery (until maybe, just maybe someone out there will read and be able to tell me).  I've always thought this clock has a look and vibe about it that it was made by someone in confinement.  Maybe a jail?  Maybe an institution?  Though it was obviously made with care, it also seems that the person had a lot of time on their hands and limited resources. 

So, there it hangs, in silence.  My intro into hopefully getting back into my blog.....Now that I've said that I HAVE to do it, right?


  1. Beautiful and mysterious clock. I would love to know if you find out anything about it. Since the mark is written in ball point pen and ball point pens were not widely distributed in the US until the mid-1950's, the writing was done at some point after 1950, but the clock could have been produced earlier. Maybe you have an Antiques Roadshow item!
    Welcome back to the blogsphere too!

  2. Larissa, me thinks it was made by an actual man, not a company, named C G Duncan, from Marshalltown IA. He was born in 1920, died in 2005, and is buried in Fairview Cemetery, a county over from Marshalltown.