Old Clocks Fitted with New Animated DialsBy

Old Clocks Fitted with New Animated Dials

Genuine, but inexpensive, alarm clocks from the first third of the 20th century have been fitted with faked animated works. Animated works operate moving pieces displayed on the clock dial. In the example shown here of a bookmaker's shop, the hand of the man on the left polishes a boot; the hand of the man on the right hammers a nail.

The faked movements were fitted in China. Most of the original clock cases are German but can be of any style from any country. These clocks have sold for $200 to $400 and higher on internet auction sites and some clock shows. There are several animations available including a donkey pulling a cart and a black minstrel playing a banjo.

The new dials are printed on new paper processed with an ink jet printer. Banding and other signs of ink jet printing can be detected with a 10X loupe. The glue used to fasten the new paper to the moving parts fluoresces under long wave black light. In Fig. 3, the entire arm of the man with the brush fluoresces and the edge of the man's arm swinging the hammer fluoresces.


Fig. 1 Old alarm clock with new dial and animated works, above. The back of the old clock, left, is left as-is, with normal aging and tarnishing to the brass back.


Fig. 2 Detail of new dial with animated scene in bootmakers shop from clock shown above. This photo taken in ordinary room lighting.


Fig. 3 The new dial under long wave black light. Note the bright white glow to the entire arm, left, and the outline of the arm, right.