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The clock and the idea of correct time measured by minutes probably started about 1660 when a Dutch inventor adapted the idea of a pendulum to the clock.

Within 100 years, many variations of clocks and clock movements were developed, and most well-to-do households included a clock. Time was no longer determined only by the striking of church bells. The clock movement remained much the same until the 19th century, when the key-wound clock was invented. By the 20th century, electricity moved the hands, and by the 1970s, many clocks used very accurate battery-driven quartz movements. A few collectors want clocks with special movements, but most are attracted by the case. The tall grandfather's clock of the 18th century, the clock with bronze figures decorating the case in the 19th century, and the many types of carriage clocks, novelty clocks and mystery clocks are all valuable today. A 20th-century clock by a famous maker in the modern style, or a clock designed to show a face with moving eyes or Mickey Mouse with jogging legs may be worth more than a 19th-century schoolhouse clock. When selling collectibles, remember the "Kovelism": If it moves and makes noise, it has value.

Chair language

Q: Can you tell me what "four-and-core" means? I heard the term used in relation to the way the legs were made on a Stickley chair.

A: The five Stickley brothers were all involved in the furniture manufacturing business during the Arts and Crafts period, about 1900 to 1920. They made solid, unadorned Mission-style pieces but sometimes used different construction methods. L. & J.G. Stickley's company, owned by Leopold and John George, made a chair leg by locking four boards together around a square central core of wood. This construction method was termed "four-and-core." It was later used by other companies.

Sign of a gift

Q: I have a white china teacup with the word "present" written in gold across one side of the cup. I know that the cup and its matching saucer were made in Germany. What does the word "present" mean?

A: German porcelain factories have made giftware and china sets for export to the United States since the 19th century. The word "present" simply means that the cup and saucer were designed to be bought by one person as a gift for another.

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