Berthoud is considered one of the fathers of the marine chronometer. He became a master clockmaker in Paris and was appointed clockmaker to the French king and navy. One version of an equation clock that registers both solar and mean solar time was Berthoud’s published invention. This clock is one of a series of regulators for which he made precision movements. It has a duration of one month and contains a bimetallic, or gridiron, pendulum. The thick brass and steel rods are mounted too closely together to be completely successful; nevertheless, these clocks were precise enough to be used by astronomers for timing celestial events. The severe neoclassical case with Chinese-style ornamental motifs was designed to display the ponderous swing of Berthoud’s pendulum.
Signature: Stamped on lower part of base, at back of case: B. LIEUTAUD
Signed on dial: FERDINAND / BERTHOUD
Signed on back plate of the movement: Ferdinand Berthoud AParis
possibly Madame Jacques Balsan ; Thelma Chrysler Foy , New York (until 1959; her sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, May 13, 15–16, 1959, 1959, no. 352); Jack and Belle Linsky , New York (until 1982; to MMA)
Artist: Clockmaker: Ferdinand Berthoud (French, 1727–1807)Date: ca. 1752Medium: Oak veneered with satinwood and kingwood; gilt-bronze mounts, glass, enamel, steel, and brassAccession: 2016.28a–eOn view in:Gallery 526