Old Passion's Clock Dictionary



Vase Clock :
A clock with case in the form of an urn or classical vase. The urns may be of marble, porcelain, crystal or patinated bronze, usually set with gilt-bronze mounts and often made with a paired calendar in the same form. Most vase clocks are revolving-band clocks, but they may also be fitted with a conventional dial like the Sevres porcelain clock. They were usually of the highest quality and are often found in a dazzling garniture de cheminee, the urn clock flanked by candelabra of similar form.

Veneer :
A thin sheet of wood cut from timber of fine quality and glued onto a ground of cheaper wood such as pine or oak.

Verge :
The pallet axis of a clock.

Vernis Martin :
A general term for all varnishes and lacquers used in the decoration of interiors, furniture, boxes and clocks in 18th-century France.

Vice, Bench :
All vices are designed either to hold work which is to be worked on, or to hold specialized tools such as turns, mandrils, stakes, etc. A bench vice is one which is either clamped or screwed to the top surface or edge of the bench. Most vices today have jaws which, by meanas of a screw, open in such a way as to keep them always parallel, the jaws being part of cast- or wrought-iron members, one of which slides through the other. Many older bench vices had pivoted jaws which necessarily opened at an angle and were therefore limited in their gripping action. A bench vice is sometimes fitted with a stand secured to the bench, enabling the vice to be swivelled to a desired angle, and some large vices have a leg or pole extending to the floor for extra stability when doing heavy work.

Vice, Hand :
Hand vices can have pivoted, bowed or sliding jaws, closed with a wing nut and screw; they are used for holding work, or sometimes tooks, in the hand.

Vienna Empire Clock :
A term loosely applied to clocks made in Vienna in the early 19th century which were influenced by the French style. Arabic figures were often used on clocks of this type.

Vienna Regulator :
The Vienna regulator resulted from attempts to produce a smaller precision clock than the longcase clocks existing at the end of the 18th century, while retaining the advantages of a long pendulum and weight drive. The earliest examples had the pronounced hood, base and trunk of the longcase clock, but later models had the familiar straight-sided case. The case had glass on three sides, allowing the pendulum and weights to be seen, and although a true regulator has no striking or chiming mechanism, the Vienna clocks were often so provided, and displayed up to three weights. The cylindrical weights had brass cases which, together with the polished bob and veneered case back, made a pleasing and dignified effect. The pendulum rod was nearly always of wood, varnished black, but examples with a gridiron pendulum are known. Early dials were plain and had slender hands. The usual length of the case was something over three feet, but some tiny ones were made. Some clocks ran longer than the usual eight days, for a month or three months, and some were provided with subsidiary dials.

Visible Escapement :
Same as open escapement.

Volvelle :
A simple calculator or reckoner, involving a rotating disc or discs, usually fitted as an accessory to a portable sundial or astronomical compendium. Each disc usually carries a projecting index, reading on a circular scale; alternatively, the disc may have perforated slots through which indications on a fixed surface below may be read. In a common form, the fixed circular scales read 1-12, 1-12 in succession, and 1-29 1/2, and the rotating disc also has a scale of 1-12, 1-12 at its outer edge. By setting the index to the age of the moon, the solar time corresponding to a given lunar time can be read off. The rotating disc also has an eccentric circular hole through which the phase of the moon can be seen pictorially. Volvelles are also made to relate equal and unequal hours, equal and Italian or Babylonian hours, or the lengths of the day and night and times of sunrise and sunset according to season.

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