Seth Thomas Antique Clock

quartzsiteFebruary 13, 2011

I have an antique Seth Thomas mirror sided parlor clock. I had someone tell me that Seth Thomas never, ever made a parlor clock. I tried to find a picture/information on the web but could find nothing. The only info I could find was Seth Thomas Clock Co. copied lots of clocks that sold well. This clock has Seth Thomas paper inside, one the back and on the works. The body is very similar to the Ansonia, Gilbert, etc. style clocks. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Well .. I'm guessing that the person selling the Seth Thomas "Parlor Calendar No 10 Shelf Clock" for almost 7,000 dollars believes that they were made?

(Fourth clock down)


Here is a link that might be useful: Seth Thomas

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 12:44AM
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According ot the information I have, wood geared clocks in the US were made starting in the 1700s up through 1830. From 1820 through 1835, most clock makers changed to brass gears and a brass strap frame. They bought the clock works from factories in Bristol, Connecticut , and put those into cases of their own design. The better clock works used lantern pinions. In some designs, the pins were not rigidly fastened to their holders and could roll. These were called "roller" pinions. By 1840, wood gearing had been phased out. Therefore, your date of 1815 is very plausible for a wooden works clock.

Wood gearing is fragile and subject to tooth breakage. Many clocks failed when the wood dried out and cracked. Once the weights are in place and in a raised position, be careful about how the clock is set down. If the clock is allowed to drop a short distance and then impact on a surface, the impact of the weights can break gear teeth or damage other stress points in the drive. Weights and pendulum should be removed when the clock is moved about.

The 8 day, weight driven, shelf clock of about 30 to 36 inches high was popular in the mid 1800s. The height of the clock case was determined by how far the weights had to drop to drive the clock for 8 days. These were tall, skinny clocks that were easily tipped over, therefore, many of these were secured to the wall behind the clock. The clock may not have had a securing bracket built in and so owners added their own angle brackets and fasteners.

On some of the clocks, the rear feet were a bit short casuing the clock to tilt back toward the wall. However, in a working installation, this had to be corrected else the weights would rub on the rear wall of the case and eventually wipe out the label - another reason to use stablizing brackets to plumb the clock.

Recently, I had a 8 day, weight driven, shelf clock appraised. The clock was made by Jared Arnold, Jr at Amber, NY, in about 1832. The works are operational and it keeps good time, but the clock was appraised at only $200 due to missing trim and condition of the finish on the decorative columns. fully restored, the clock's value would increase to $800 to $1,000.

The appraiser told us that at present, there wasn't much interest in this type of clock and that had depressed the value. Once such pieces gain favor again, the price will rise. When that time arrives, the value will deterimned by rarity, good working condition, and retention of good original finishes. Clocks that preformed well will command the best price. Bad designs back then will still be considered poor investments.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 2:44AM
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