Dearly Beloved Banjos

We are gathered here today for a number of important updates. It has certainly been some time since my last post. I have been working on quite a few projects in the mean time. One being the launch of my colleague David’s new website: Lindow Machine Works. Check it out if you get a chance – his many talents and broad range of work are finally showcased. If you want to know more about his Lindow Rose Engine – there’s an easy to navigate Menu of his products (thank you again to Alexandre David for the amazing photograph of the Lindow Machine). If you are interested in his gorgeous custom clocks – there’s an incredible number of photographs showing the many movement styles he offers, dials, and finished cases in his Movement Gallery.

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David and I also presented a paper in Montreal at the American Institute of Conservation for Historic and Artistic Works 44th Conference on Guilloche work in conservation. The paper will soon be available through the post prints journal through the AIC.

Here’s an excerpt to peek your interest:

“The rose engine lathe is used in a broad scope of work that varies from decorative ivories to pottery, clocks, watches, and snuff boxes as well as glass molds, the printing of stamps, stock certificates, and plastic injection moldings. It stands as an enigma to all but a small group of artisans that use these machines. Despite the broad range of use, the techniques employed by these machines are seldom explained in books and publications. Often, the use of the rose engine in the creation of an object is not mentioned, even in instances where the machine was used to decorate the entire piece. In conservation a working knowledge of how an object was made is not only useful, but may be as crucial as knowing the materials with which it was made. With little scholarly work on the subject we endeavor here to scratch the surface and give a brief account of both the machine’s history and how it was used in the hope that it will foster further study. To this end we conducted a literature review, produced a catalogue of sixty common patterns, and prepared and treated twenty-eight metal samples. The samples consist of composition 353 brass, nickel silver, and fine silver. Using common non-conservation based treatment methods we aim to show how patterns become distorted and demonstrate the effects of oxidation on the reflective surfaces that give guilloche its characteristic flash. It is our hope that this will spur discussion about how to treat these highly reflective surfaces, as the characteristic flash of guilloche is arguably its most important tangible property.”

In addition to working on this paper with David, I have partnered with Al Collins on another project in the works. I’ll give you a sneak peek….maybe you can guess what it is?..

Coloring book!

In another effort to bestow upon me an appreciation for American horology David took me to see a fascinating private collection of clocks. This gentleman has spent years collecting and rescuing American Banjo clocks. The incredible breadth of information he has compiled must make him the leading scholar on this particular branch of American horology. And now without further ado… perhaps the most elaborate and extensive collection of American Banjo clocks…..well almost – there is another thing I must tell you about first –

I have to say I have been lucky to see some beautiful American pieces up close – such as a Howard Company regulator (photos of such to come soon) and this amazing American screw clock and patent model that will soon be sold by Jonathan Snellenburg at Bonhams auction house. I am absolutely smitten with that patent model. I mean – GOSH! – just think about cutting that worm with such precision over such a length when it was made! WHAT?! HOW?!

 

And now! More Banjo clocks than you ever thought you’d see in one place. You’re welcome. 

bmighty

 

And last, but not least – the most important Banjo of all….

Banjo Edison Bloom – aka little ink spot.

banjo

Annual AIC & CAC Conference in Montreal

Hello everyone! It’s another busy week here at the Memoria Technica workshop.  I have some exciting news about the upcoming joint 44th Annual Meeting and 42nd Annual Conference in Montreal for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Canadian Association for Conservation (Association Canadienne pour la Conservation et la Restauration) (CAC-ACCR). David Lindow and I have been selected to give a joint lecture on Guilloché work in Conservation. Read more about it here. There will be a lot of exciting talks covering a variety of subject areas! I hope to see some of you there. The conference takes place in Montreal May 13-17 2016 – more info here.

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What we will be talking about: “Guilloché , also referred to as engine turning, is work produced on a rose engine or straight-line engine. The rose engine was developed in the 16th century, but found wide scale popularity in the early 19th century when Breguet applied the craft to augment his watch dials, cases, and movements. Many believe it reached its apex with Fabergé. Developing a conservation methodology for Guilloché work appears to be a relatively new subject and understanding the processes by which an object was made or decorated may be the first stage in development. Little information is widely available on the enigmatic rose engine and even less is available on the process by which its patterns are created. We will briefly explore the history of these machines and their various uses through examining the steps required for accomplishing distinct patterns and looking at some of the diverse objects that employ them. The reflective quality of Guilloché work along with the effects of oxidation on this property will be examined. Through this we will identify various pitfalls in the practice of cleaning and repair. The rose engine was employed not only in horology to decorate metal objects of art, but also in other media such as pottery by Josiah Wedgwood and modern plastic injection molding patterns. As these machines were used from the early 16th century through the present, many conservators are likely to encounter objects that were either made or decorated by them. This session will seek to aid in the development of a conservation methodology for treating and working with engine made or decorated objects. ”

In other news – registration for the upcoming classes on Engine Turning at the workshop has been so popular, we’ve added another set of beginners classes. Please get in touch here to register if you’d like to join!