Engraved Brass Clock Dials

Traditional brass clock dials were made and decorated by engraving numerals, inscriptions and ornamental designs into the surface of the brass parts. The engraved cuts are filled by melting black lacquer or wax into the cuts, sanding that smooth and then polishing the brass surface. Often the polished surface would be silver plated with a silver cyanide solution. This imparts an almost white tone which gives good contrast to the black-filled engraving. A single sheet dial would be made of, wouldn't you know it, a single sheet of brass. Other dials have a separate chapter ring (the main ring with large numerals), and perhaps a seconds ring and other parts, all mounted on the dial plate with wedged pins. Date wheels, moon dials and the like are mounted behind the dial plate and a part of them shows through a window cut through the main dial plate. Spandrels are cast ornaments commonly mounted in dial corners or in the arches.

I engrave accurate reproductions of period dials as well as designing new work in period or contemporary styles. The dials and parts pictured here were cut out, drilled, shaped, fitted, and rough finished prior to engraving, and most have yet to be filled, polished and silvered. At this time I don't make dial parts or do finishing.

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