POST OFFICE CLOCK Lépine, Administration des Postes 116 Ca. 1850 France

Carriage clocks


Signed and numbered: Lépine, Administration des Postes 116
Circa 1850

The clock has a spring-driven movement between plates with duplex escapement and compensated balance. The backplate is stamped with the number 116. The movement can be regulated from the back, the direction being indicated by the words ‘retard’ (slow) and ‘avance’ (fast). The clock is wound at the back and the hands are set.

The circular, white enamel dial has a black Roman chapter ring with five-minute and minute divisions. The maker has signed and numbered the dial in the middle: Lépine, Administration des Postes 116. The time is indicated by a pair of blued steel ‘Breguet’ hands.

The square mahogany case has a brass plate on the front with an aperture to show the dial. This plate is numbered 116. The back can be opened with a key, whilst the clock is surmounted by a iron carrying handle.

This post office clock was used in post offices and allowed the staff to set their watches. This was necessary to be sure that the post was collected and dispatched at the right time.

Duration 1 week

Height 13 cm.
Width 12 cm.
Depth 7 cm.

– Derek Roberts, Carriage and Other Travelling Clocks, p. 246.
– Tardy, Dictionnaire des Horlogers Français, Paris, 1971, pp. 386-392.

The maker
Jean-Antoine Lépine was the founder of Maison Lépine, the makers of this clock. Jean-Antoine is one of the best-known makers of his time. He was born in Challex on 18 November 1720 by the name of Jean-Antoine Depigny. His father Jean-Philibert was also a clockmaker. When Jean-Antoine was 24 years of age he went to Paris to work for André-Charles Caron (1697-1775) who was clockmaker to the court. In 1756 he was married to Caron’s daughter, Madeleine-Françoise.
From 1765 Lépine could also call himself ‘Horloger du Roy’ and a year later he succeeded Caron. During the Revolution Lépine cooperated with Ferdinand Berthoud, Louis Berthoud, Pierre le Roy and Abraham-Louis Brequet, the great makers in the horological history of France. Lépine made a watch for George Washington for instance. He died in 1814. There are several spellings of his name Lépine, Lepine, L’Epine, Lespine and Lepinne. His son Alexandre-Raguet Lépine was ‘Horloger de l’Imperatrice’.
Maison Lépine
In 1792 Lépine and his son-in-law Claude-Pierre Raguet became partners and founded Maison Lépine, which is still in existence today, but since 1919 not with the name Lépine anymore.
The addresses of Maison Lépine were:
1800: Place des Victoires, 20
1810-1820: Rue Vide-Gousset, 2, Place des Victoires
1830: Place des Victoires, 2
1850: Lepine et Cie: Place des Victoires and 2, Rue Vide-Gousset
1860: Palais Royal, Gal de Valois et Place des Victoires
1870: Palais Royal and Rue Vide-Gousset, 2 and 4
1880: Rue Vide-Gousset, 2 and 4, Place des Victoires
1900-1919: Place des Victoires

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