Skinner Auctions
Skinner AuctionsMarlborough MA
April 29, 2016 10:00 AMCalender

Louis E. Meyer "Grand Complication" Skeleton Clock

Sell one like this
Auction: Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2890MLocation: MarlboroughDate / Time: April 29, 2016 10:00AM


Louis E. Meyer "Grand Complication" Skeleton Clock, St. Charles, Missouri, 1876, the ebonized pedestal supports two columns with maker's boss and dates, the object left reads: Made by L. E. Meyer/St. Charles, MO/1876, object right Destroyed/ by a Tornado/ Feb. 27th 1876/Restored/1877; the three train movement winding through the front of the pedestal, powers seven dials, automata and two globes, the center dial showing hours, minutes and seconds with a five-wheel train behind, deadbeat escapement, adjustable beat setting and 10-in. (effective length),five bar, steel and possibly German silver grid iron compensating pendulum with cast brass decorative bob, all capped with a geared "rise and fall" mechanism and cast soldier finial, below a Leap Year indicator dial, and finally the day, date and month; on the object's right side top, a rotating world globe, below degrees of longitude each hour and meridian for twenty-four places on the globe, below, a pair of winged automata with hammers to strike the bell on the quarter hour and flanking the main dial on the left, another automaton striking the hours on a bell under a revolving moon and lunar calendar; object's right lower dial for length and decrease of days, vernal and autumnal equinox, summer and winter solstice indications with quarter striking count wheel movement behind, the opposing dial for sunrise/set, equation of time, weeks and days of the year with hour striking movement behind and both listed for Latitude 39 (approximately that for St. Charles); all under a glass dome, ht. 20 in.

Provenance: By Descent from the original maker.

Note: It is possible that this clock was made for display at The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia. The exhibition opened May 10th and ran through November 10th showing trade masterpieces, the latest inventions and even a mock monorail. The many thousands of visitors to the event were likely denied a look a Meyer's masterpiece as it was destroyed by a tornado on February 27, 1876 back in St. Charles. The clock was restored by the maker in 1877 as stated on the object's right engraved shield.
Estimate $20,000-40,000

Dome cracked and taped together with scotch tape, one missing element on cracked dome, crack runs 8 1/2 in. x 5 inches high. Dome fits well on clock base with crack in the back. All dials in good age-consistent condition, old surface on pedestal, probable substructure paint from the 1877 restoration. Mechanical elements are complete and functioning. Mechanical elements want cleaning and lubrication. Automata works as designed. Globes in good condition. A very impressive clock.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Louis E. Meyer, Charles, Philadelphia, St. Charles