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.

Simon Willard, who created the banjo clock, made mantel clocks popular in Massachusetts. His design for a weight-driven timepiece, known as the Simon Willard Shelf Clock, is highly collectible today.

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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Recent News: Mantel Clocks

Source: Google News

MUSEUM FILES: Upstate New Yorkers had hand in changing the clock
Glens Falls Post-Star, April 20th

At quick glance, it resembles a common mantel clock, measuring about 22 inches high with a mahogany case. But a miniature globe at its core, where a face and hands should be, sets it apart. The Timby Solar Timepiece, patented by Saratoga Springs ...Read more

Email Works by Chabas, Neale, Grooms, Rabin will be sold by Ahlers & Ogletree ...
ArtfixDaily (blog), April 18th

Antique clocks will feature a Federal eagle inlaid and figured mahogany tall case clock attributed to Matthew Egerton, and a lovely gilt bronze and marble mantel clock. Wonderful mirrors will include a pair of Regency gilt wood and ebonized convex...Read more

NPTC's Schweitzer offers regulatory/legislative update
Fleet Owner, April 15th

observed, but it has no experience in trucking and no resources to do it. At the conclusion of Schweitzer's remarks, NPTC president and CEO, Gary Petty, presented him with a mantel clock in appreciation of Schweitzer's thirty years of service to...Read more

Bronze figure could fetch up to £1500 at George Kidner's sale
Blackmore Vale, April 15th

Other items to feature in the sale include a Tudric pewter mantel clock with an estimate of £500 to £700, while in the European ceramics section a Martin Brothers pottery vase decorated with spiny fish and other sea creatures has an estimate of £2,000...Read more

Concord art exhibit focuses attention on prisoners' children
Concord Monitor, April 7th

The art exhibit is not a fundraiser, but the corrections department is running an online auction of handmade furniture through Thursday, and it will auction a black walnut mantel clock during a formal opening ceremony at the estate tomorrow afternoon...Read more

Memory jars popular with collectors
Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 27th

Q: My ceramic mantel clock is about 15 inches high and 13 inches across at the base. It has an ornate shape and is painted in vivid pink, yellow, green and white with large flowers and greenery. There is gilt trim around the dial, which has Roman numerals...Read more

Antiques on Parade at Westminster
Muncie Star Press, March 26th

Another “wow” item had been an E.N. Welch mantel clock, which they appraised at $600 to $800. “You just don't find many of them,” Wagner said, leading Schmidt to add, “And this one was glass and metal with a leather back, rather than a wooden clock.”...Read more

Memory jars have stories to tell
Washington Observer Reporter, March 22nd

Q. My ceramic mantel clock is about 15 inches high and 13 inches across at the base. It has an ornate shape and is painted in vivid pink, yellow, green and white with large flowers and greenery. There is gilt trim around the dial, which has Roman numerals...Read more