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TAMAN & Cie, Brussels, Belgium, c. 1880's. Two train with rack and snail strike. Brass hybrid flat bed frame. Pinwheel escapement. One second wood rod pendulum (replacement). Harrison type maintaining power. 25"w x 16"h x 14"d.

Not much is known about this maker. There is only a single line for the firm in Brian Loomes reference book on clock and watchmakers. What is known is that this small tower clock was originally installed in the main train station in the capital city of Belgium, Brussels. At the time there were two major stations for the city, the North and South stations, the North, from which this clock was installed, slowly supplanted Groendreef/Allée Verte Station near the same site. However, the two stations were joined only by an inadequate single track running along what is today the route of the Brussels inner ring road. Many proposals were put forward to link the two stations more substantially, but it was not until just before the First World War that a law was passed mandating a direct connection. Work was then halted by the war. Financial constraints limited work after the war, and in 1927 the government suspended the project altogether. In 1935 a new office dedicated to the project was set up and work resumed. The new Central Station was planned as a hub in the connection. However, the Second World War slowed construction again. The interruptions and delays to construction left large areas filled with debris and craters for decades. The station was finally completed in October 1952. Around this time the movement was removed. The clock was originally installed at ground level for public view, explaining the fancy brass construction. It was connected to four dials about four feet in diameter. If one looks closely the original engraved frame signature was covered with a plaque screwed on top, probably the installer who wanted to make sure that any future servicing would be directed his way. This was a fairly common practice at the time.

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The fact that the frame was cast in brass as well as the fine finish on the other parts of this clock indicate that it was meant to be seen. The maker's identification engraving is beautiful. The stepped end pieces of the side frame braces follow early French design as can also be seen in a small miniature tower clock made as a domestic skeleton clock from the same period.

Notice the similarities in the frame design to other French makers, Odobey and Cretin. In particular the modified chairframe design seen in the last two photos, where the winding barrels are far longer than the rest of the wheels in the clock is identical to the Cretin. Note also the similar ways in which outboard weights are used on the strike train to set the rack's gathering pallet and it's associated locking lever. Same functions as in the Cretin. The wheel bearings are attached to the frame in the same manner. The frame is quite robust for such a diminutive tower clock at over 1/2".

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