The Ansonia Clock Company’s roots lie in the Ansonia Brass Company, founded by Anson Greene Phelps in 1844. Phelps supplied brass to Connecticut clock manufacturers until 1851, when he joined forces with two powerful clockmakers, Theodore Terry and Franklin C. Andrews, to create a clockmaking company of his own. Terry and Andrews, who had a successful clockmaking business in Bristol, sold half of their business to Phelps in exchange for cheaper brass materials. Thus, the Ansonia Clock Company subsidiary was born.
Many Ansonia clocks are eight-day movements, meaning that they only need to be rewound every eight days. However, in 1875, the company developed a 30-hour, spring-driven illumina...
Ansonia’s extensive line of clocks included mantel clocks with elaborately painted china cases, beehive shelf clocks, miniature ogee shelf clocks with alarms, shelf clocks with glass domes surrounding the clock’s head, and regulator clocks like the 1886 "General" model, a brass 8-day, weight-driven clock with a cherry case and a dial that counted the seconds. Ansonia was also well-known for its novelty items, such as swinging clocks that featured sculpted figurines.
In July 1853, Ansonia showcased its cast-iron clocks, painted and decorated with mother-of-pearl, at the New York World’s Fair. It was one of three Connecticut clockmaking companies to exhibit at the Fair.
In the 1870s, the Ansonia Clock Company separated from the Ansonia Brass Company and moved part of its production to New York. Although the company continued to produce clocks in Connecticut, the New York factory, with clockmaker Henry J. Davies at the helm, employed more than twice as many workers—the majority of clocks produced from approximately 1880 on are marked "New York."
The Ansonia Clock Company experienced disaster in 1880 when its New York factory caught fire, causing $750,000 in damages. However, the factory was rebuilt at the same location and reopened the following year. In 1883, the Connecticut factory closed, and by the late 1880s, Ansonia had opened sales offices in New York, London, and Chicago.
In addition to clocks, Ansonia began producing inexpensive, non-jeweled wristwatches in 1904. Production peaked 1914, when Ansonia was turning out 440 different models of clocks, but by 1920, that number had dropped to less than 140, and by 1927, it was under 50. In 1929, Ansonia was sold to Amtorg Trading Corporation, the Soviet Union’s U.S. trading company, but in 1969, the rights to the Ansonia name and trademarks were acquired by Ansonia Clock Co., Inc. of Lynnwood, Washington.
Key Terms for Antique Ansonia Clocks:
Ogee clock: Rectangular clock with ogee molding, which forms an S-shaped curve; the door underneath the face of the clock is often painted.
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The Way We WereThe Newtown Bee, May 24th
An “Old Time Frolic,” under the auspices of Pohtatuck Grange, will be held in the Alexandria Room of the Edmond Town Hall, Friday evening, June 10, at 8:30 o'clock. Modern and old-fashioned dancing will be featured, with music by Andrew's Lake Shore...Read more
Remains found in Trumbull are missing ECSU student from West HavenNew Haven Register, May 17th
Vance said state police detectives have been working Wiley's case around the clock and conducted searches in multiple parks and bodies of water. “We certainly have significant resources we've applied to this: major crime detectives and the The...Read more
Jane Alexiadis: Tale of a timepieceSan Jose Mercury News, May 9th
By the "A" etched into the glass of your clock, we can identify it as having been make by Ansonia. Anson Phelps launched his clock company in 1851 as a subsidiary of his brass company. Since he was already producing a major component of clocks, Ansonia...Read more
Pages out of timeHarvard Gazette, May 9th
Illustration for the “Sunwatch,” a portable sundial that never needs winding, Ansonia Clock Co., New York, c. 1930. Collection of (Weight-driven clocks appeared in the 13th century, domestic timepieces around 1400, and pocket watches for the rich...Read more
Auctions: Hank Aaron card fetches $210Lancaster Newspapers, April 28th
Items sold included a Henry Aaron card, $210; a Roberto Clemente card, $210; a cameo pin, $180; three tray lots of car literature, $280, $220 and $210; an Ansonia clock, $210; a NASCAR train set, $160; Harley-Davidson saddle bags, $130; a set of...Read more