J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

That Time Again

Boston 1775 congratulates Old South Meeting House on the restoration of the clock in its steeple. The clock, installed by Gawen Brown in 1770, had to be shut two years ago because the hands were damaged. An anonymous donor paid for the full restoration.

This article from the Boston Globe describes one discovery during the process:

The two 9-foot clock faces debuted a new look, black paint coated with ground glass. Restorers discovered evidence of the smalt coating when they analyzed the faces under a microscope; it was the original finish on the nearly quarter-ton clocks when they were created in the mid-19th century to replace older dials.

“They probably had that finish for 20 to 30 years, but haven’t been back to a true smalt until now,” said Wendall Kalsow, a principal architect with McGinley Kalsow & Associates Inc., the Somerville-based restoration firm heading the project. “When the sun hits it, it just sparkles—a shimmer like a little jewel in the air.”
I understand there are also plans to add a bell to the clock for the first time since the aftermath of the great fire of 1872.


Emily said...

If you'd like to see an example of that "smalt" look up close and personal - visit the Warner House in Portsmouth, NH. One of their rooms has been restored to its "smalt" period and it is fabulous!


RJO said...

I don't often encounter words that are entirely new to me, so I thank you indeed for smalt. Here's more.