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 illuminated alarm clock with a walnut veneer case. The alarm triggered a match to ignite a wick, which illuminated the clock.
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 a...
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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Recent News: Ansonia Clocks
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Memories of Four Generations Live in a MansionThe New Indian Express, November 25th
There is an Ansonia wall clock, manufactured in 1871, which displays the day, date, week and month. It is still in working order with a time accuracy of ± 5 minutes per week. I make a silent prayer for this clock to never stop ticking and this house to...Read more
Calendar: Open house at Sideways Studio; 'Animals' Santa' author at IKEANew Haven Register, November 24th
3 ARTISTS IN IVORYTON: Potter Hayne Bayless of Ivoryton works on his signature teapots in his Sideways Studio as part of a Holiday Show and Sale that includes Mara Lavitt's textiles and Liz Pagano's mixed metal jewelry and monoprints. The show will be ...Read more
Ansonia boys defeat Emmanuel ChristianThe Daily Advocate, November 23rd
ANSONIA – The Ansonia Tigers boys varsity basketball team had Emmanuel Christian Academy's number dialed in but could not connect with Parkway in a Friday scrimmage. “I can see us growing up and being a mature team,” Ansonia varsity boys basketball...Read more
Woodbridge potter stoked over his medieval kilnNew Haven Register, November 23rd
A firing is 3.5 days of stoking the white hot fire around the clock, with friends and former students taking shifts along with Youngberg. They go through six cords of ... 13 at his house at 255 Ansonia Road at the corner of Ford Street. Pieces start at...Read more
A passion that only grows with timeThe Hindu, November 22nd
The ticking, generated by hundreds of wall clocks, pendulum clocks, skeleton clocks, ship clocks, carriage clocks, and pocket watches and timepieces of every brand, fills the ears. At the stroke of six, most of them chime in unison, while a few join...Read more
Naugy hangs on in 2nd half to beat St. PaulWaterbury Republican American, November 21st
Naugatuck (9-1) also stayed alive for at least a share of the Naugatuck Valley League championship, which it can win with a Thanksgiving victory over Ansonia. The Hounds put up 50 points in the first half, after which they turned ... After a while, it...Read more
Naugy hangs on in 2nd half to beat St. Paul With video reportWaterbury Republican American, November 21st
Naugatuck (9-1) also stayed alive for at least a share of the Naugatuck Valley League championship, which it can win with a Thanksgiving victory over Ansonia. The Hounds put up 50 points in the first half, after which they turned down their offensive...Read more
Ansonia saved right play for the right time High school football notebookWaterbury Republican American, November 13th
"We put him there and tried something new," Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. "That's a red zone play that you work on and you don't always use it. Who knows? Someday you're staring at 12 seconds on that clock and trying to avoid an upset, and it works."...Read more