George's Antique Clocks


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John Knibb Hooded Lantern Clock Circa 1680


This is without a doubt the rarest clock I will own in my lifetime. It is a 30-hour Hooded Lantern clock made and signed by John Knibb circa 1680. There are very few of these clocks still around today and the ones that are command a premium price at auction. John Knibb apprenticed under his brother Joseph Knibb who was the clockmaker to the King of England. Every piece of this clock has been certified as original. It has had one repair, a replacement arbor for the strike governor. The original worn arbor accompanies the clock. The case was long gone when I acquired the clock. I had this case made from a picture of one of the only known original Knibb Hooded lantern known to exist. No expense was spared making the replacement case. It is made from the remains of a 250+ year old English Grandfather clock case. The base wood is oak and it has walnut veneer. Clock friends in the UK tell me this is the way it would have been made originally. Oak was considered a cheap wood at the time. The mirrored barley twist columns were handmade as were the bottom finials.


In the book, Knibb Family Clockmakers, 1964 by Ronald A. Lee, he states that this type clock was not very popular because they did not fair well in homes with children and animals because of the exposed weight. He estimates that fewer than 10 hooded lantern clocks remained in existence for the entire Knibb family including Samuel, Joseph and John. I am relatively sure this clock was not one of those ten as it has been in the United States for many years. Only 1000 of Lee's books were printed and a used copy sells for $2,000 and up these days depending on condition.


The Knibb family of clockmakers had their own style. It was referred to as the Oxford style as opposed to the London style of clock making. All of the parts of a Knibb clock are different in style, shape, size etc. as a result. In the book English Lantern Clocks, 1989 by George White, there are numerous pictures of Joseph and John Knibb Lantern clocks and their parts. I placed each piece of this clock on the picture in the book. Every part matches the book perfectly. The signature on the dial is signed, Johannes Knibb Oxon Fecit. Oxon is what we call today the city of Oxford England. This also matches the pictures in the book. Current price for this book is $500 - $1,000 depending on condition.


Most lantern clocks from this era only had one hand. It is believed this was one of the very first to be made with both a minute and hour hand. Clocks with one hand only had 3 lines between the numbers. These lines indicated the quarter hour. The time was then read by which quarter hour was closest to the hour hand. The dial on this clock has 4-minute markers between the numbers. This clock always had a minute hand and was not modified. It was a popular modification to put minute hands on clocks of this time. However, you could always tell they were modified because of the quarter hour markers on the dial.


Another popular modification to clocks from this time was to convert the crown wheel escapement to an anchor and a long pendulum. Fortunately this clock was never modified. The only possible modification to this may have been converting the rope to a chain. Most lantern clock of this era had ropes. Other English clock experts believe that since this was one of the first clocks to have a minute hand, it is possible it was also one of the first with a chain. If you look at the picture of the donut counterweight on the chain you can see grooves cut by the chain into the brass donut. This take many many years of wear to leave grooves like that. I believe this clock always had a chain.


For more information on John Knibb I recommend reading the article on Wikipedia


See where a similar John Knibb hooded lantern sold for 37,000 British Pounds ($57,000 USD). Click Here


John Knibb bracket clock beats estimate at Christie's sells for 44,215 British Pounds ($79,233 USD). Click Here


I am going to offer this clock for sale for a limited time. If you are interested in the clock and would like to make a serious offer please send me an email.


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