Objects of Mystery

As this month has seen a focus on clocks with our own Snowshill tribute to the 80th anniversary of the talking clock it seemed to fit to pick something from the horological side of the collection. We all know that Mr Wade had a particular fondness for the sound of clocks ticking and chiming in the Manor and was often tinkering with the clocks he bought.

One of the more unusual clocks in the collection is the flintlock alarm clock. This is a gilt brass table clock with alarm and flintlock mechanism made by Pierrer Mornier c.1740 in London.

by Morier, Pierre

Flintlock alarm clock inscribed ‘Pierre Mornier Lon-don’, c1744.


As with most alarm clocks, a bell is rung at an appointed time. However an additional mechanism on this clock lights a candle. A flintlock mechanism is triggered and with a flash and a bang, a lit candle pops up.

by Morier, PierreThe alarm has been tested to see if it still works. A specialist clock adviser and a firearms adviser were both needed. Unfortunately it looks like the clock is a little too worn and can no longer strike a spark to light a candle. So at least for now we won’t be expecting any explosive wake up calls.

by Morier, Pierre


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