Mantel clocks (also known as mantle or shelf clocks) were inexpensive to make and affordable to own, which explains why they were one of the most popular clocks in the 18th and 19th centuries. Part decoration, part practical timepiece, mantel clocks are so named because they were small enough to be displayed on a shelf or mantel.
Mantel clocks were made with both brass and wood movements and ran anywhere from 30 hours to eight days between windings, although some Seth Thomas clocks from the late 19th and early 20th centuries ran for 15 days. Although its origins lay in France in the 18th century, the mantel clock took off in the U.S. in Connecticut during the early 19th century, when clockmaker Eli Terry began mass-producing them.
Ornately decorated and usually made of wood, porcelain, or ormolu, mantel clocks were mostly key-wound with a swinging pendulum. American mantel clocks were typically made of cherry or oak and sometimes incorporated iron or brass.
The bases of mantel clocks were decorated in a variety of ways. Some were made of solid wood or wooden panel, others were engraved, and some mantel clocks featured intricately detailed painted scenes. There were even mantel clocks with calendars built into their faces.
The Ansonia Clock Company made some gorgeous porcelain mantel clocks, whose front surface was painted with images of flowers. Ansonia also produced carved clocks with beautiful sculptures and figurines sharing their base.
Unlike Ansonia’s elaborate carvings, Seth Thomas clocks were all about smooth, sleek lines. His slick, 19th-century mantel clocks, usually made of richly colored wood, look more ...
The ogee clock was introduced in the 1840s. Featuring an "S"-like curve in its molding, ogee clocks were very popular, and most clock companies of the era produced variations on the ogee theme.
In the mid-19th century, Elias Ingraham created what is known as the steeple clock, whose triangle front and column-like sides resemble a church steeple. This design sparked numerous spin-offs, such as the double steeple and the beehive.
Whatever you call them, mantel clocks have maintained their popularity for more than two centuries because they are dependable and work so well in so many different domestic situations. Today, they continue to be sought after by collectors and non-collectors alike for pretty much the same reasons.
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Painting by legendary Florida Highwayman Albert (Beanie) Backus will be part ...ArtfixDaily, February 26th
The clocks category will feature a 19th century French figural parcel gilt bronze mantel clock, depicting the allegorical figures Chronos (time) and Amour (love), with black Roman numerals on the dial; and an 18th century English black lacquered and ...Read more
Why French time is cheapIrish Independent, February 26th
In November 2014, a French gold mantel clock went up for auction at Adam's Sunday Interiors auction with a guide price of €400 to €600. Nobody wanted it. A few months later we saw it again, this time at the Adam's Attic auction with a guide price of...Read more
Junk or Gem: German Mantel ClockWMTV, February 23rd
It was a staple in many homes decades ago. A mantel clock that chimed every fifteen minutes or half-hour. Now, one woman is curious to see what the history behind her grandmother's mantel clock could be. "This is my Grandmother's mantel clock, my ...Read more
1918 collage by Henri Laurens (Fr., 1885-1954) should reach $30000-$60000 at ...ArtfixDaily, February 22nd
A 1918 collage by the French artist Henri Laurens (1885-1954), a 19th century French bronze figural mantel clock by Vincenti & Cie., a pair of 19th century Venetian parcel gilt polychrome and lacquer carved wood blackamoors, and an early 19th century ...Read more
Edna man finds joy in clock repairVictoria Advocate, February 16th
"Time tends to fly when I'm in here," he said while working on the innards of a black mantel clock. "I've got to be in the mood to have patience. If I've worked on a clock and done all I know how and it's still not working, I have to step away and soak...Read more
'The tragedy never left her mind'The Kingston Whig-Standard, February 6th
Inside, a poster-sized picture puzzle of the Titanic hangs on a wall next to a shelf holding her mom's mantel clock and a diminutive Titanic model painstakingly constructed by her son, John. On another wall, a sign that spends the warm months outside...Read more
La Quinta Museum Shares Story of $24 million 'Supercomplication' TimepiecePalm Springs Life, February 2nd
"There are sundials, a replica of Eleanor of Aquitaine's sundial ring, miniature grandfather clocks, full-size grandfather and cuckoo clocks, mantel clock, kitchen clock display with 13 pieces and several types of clocks — alarm, clock radio, world...Read more
The experts hoping to put names to Yorkshire's unknown remainsYorkshire Post, January 30th
He had dark brown, collar-length hair, wore a beige, khaki, open-necked shirt, and had in his possession a mantel clock in a brown wooden case, as well as copies of newspapers. Daily Record, printed in Glasgow 09/04/73 - pencilled writing 'Maly palec ...Read more