Antique clock movement pillar dating
The Snows, though, were a bit of a law unto themselves as far as styling was concerned, and it is difficult to draw conclusions from their work other than as to its eccentric nature.
So in that respect it is possible that Browne based his work either on London or on Salisbury, and arguments can be put forward for either, but whichever it was, the essential point is that this constructional style was already antiquated by 1643, and he well knew it.
His later clocks used the more usual form of square-based integral pillar - being, dare we say, slightly more 'modern', but still old-fashioned.
However there was a tiny group of lantern clock makers in Salisbury, based largely on the work of one family named Snow, who also used integral pillars but of a different form, and who even occasionally used the round-based integral pillar.
We don't know where Thomas Browne learned his trade, and it does not really matter.
The fact that he used old-fashioned working practices must have been deliberate, because he cannot have been unaware of the constructional and stylistic features of the clocks made by his London-influenced rival Solomon Wasson, and of those of his London contemporaries - indeed in his oldest two clocks he was copying London round-based pillars.
When Thomas Browne began work his style was already antiquated in one particular respect in so far that he used the integral pillar, which by then (1643) was already all but extinct in main line London clockmaking, which was the major, and virtually only, centre of lantern clock making at this time.
But not only did Browne use the integral pillar at a time when it was obsolete, but in his earliest two clocks (pictured here) he used the round-based form of that pillar, which was even more antiquated.
Only one clock is known by him which is signed and those others attributed to him are done so on the basis of his style, which is uniquely distinctive.Yet he deliberately continued to use these antiquated practices by choice, presumably because he preferred them.