Jason Clarke Antiques
World War 2 RAF Sergeants Mess Fusee Mantle Clock by Stockall, Marples & Co, London
For sale, an iconic World War 2 RAF Sergeant’s Mess Eight Day Fusee Mantle Clock by Stockall, Marples & Co, London.
Beautifully understated, this rare clock is comprised of an oak case with graduated pediment and base and relief outline oak stringing decoration to accentuate the dial.
The eight inch silvered dial is enclosed behind a brass and convex glazed bezel with push button release catch to the side. It is engraved with roman numerals and has blue steel hands with spade type hour hand design. The centre of the dial is further engraved with the RAF motif below the George V Crown surrounded by a laurel wreath.
The reverse has a simple square hinged door which reveals the original eight day chain driven fusee movement and pendulum. It also retains its locking screw to maintain the pendulum in static position whilst in transit. The back of the movement is engraved with the maker’s name, stating:
“SM & Co 1939 & Serial No: 11782” and the “AM” abbreviation for Air Ministry and crown below.
The lip of the door opening is further stamped with an indistinct Air Ministry stamp to the centre.
The makers of this historical clock, Stockall, Marples & Co boast a history dating back to 1840 when the clock-making business of JJ Stockall & Sons was established in London. The Robert M Marples Company’s establishment date is a little harder to discern but Marples was certainly trading during the 1870s primarily as an importer and UK agent for numerous American clock companies.
Stockall’s son JJ Stockall Junior patented his famous time-check recorder in 1890 and this was initially produced by Stockall & Sons until a partnership with Frank Brook formed the new, Stockall-Brook Timer Recorders Company in 1907.
This separation of these lucrative recorders away from the main Stockall business may have been prompted by the merger of the Stockall and Marples businesses in 1908 after Marples suffered a severe fire at his warehouses in 1906, however the outcome for both companies was equally disastrous as they went into liquidation in 1911.
A year later in 1912, Frank Brook (JJ Stockall Junior’s business partner) revived the company under the new name of Stockall Marples & Co and continued to produce time recorders and other precision clocks until its closure in 1970. All iterations of the Stockall business were involved in providing clocks under Government contracts of which this is one such example.
The company only produced RAF clocks for a short period between 1938 and 1940 so it is slightly more unusual to come across a Stockall movement. The majority prior and during World War Two were produced by Elliotts.
Although understated in design, these larger and scarcer Sergeant’s mess examples (versus the smaller Officers Mess arched top) have such a marvellously imposing stature. Examples such as these would have been familiar furniture to the British airmen that faced the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, it is hard to think of a more iconic timepiece and this one dates to the very beginning of the Second World War.
The case has been lightly restored to refresh the oak and has received a full service of the movement by a BHI qualified horologist. It is therefore sold in good working order.