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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CLARS TO FEATURE ICONIC FINE ART, DECORATIVE ART, FURNITURE AND ...ArtfixDaily, May 19th
Comes from the Richard Mellon Scaife Estate of Ligonier, PA, this highlight of the furniture offerings will be this early 19th century museum quality Regency ormolu mounted rosewood, and parcel gilt side cabinet, attributed to Gillows of Lancaster...Read more
Come Unto These Yellow SandsThe Stage, May 18th
It begins and ends in the front room, where paintings of the protest share wall space with the real owners' photographs, and Peggy Seeger songs drift down the hall to the ticking of the mantel clock. The dilemma of the Greenham women – the tension...Read more
Marker dedication to highlight Floyd Old Settlers ReunionPlainview Daily Herald, May 15th
Of particular interest is a 1909 mantel clock commemorating the peacetime around-the-world cruise by the Great White Fleet. That display of U.S. naval military might was masterminded by President Theodore Roosevelt. Annual dues for the Floyd County ...Read more
Bustling bank holiday saleThe Cornishman, May 13th
display bull figure, some 16ins long and 10ins high, £50; a 19th century walnut barometer, with convex glass front, £45; a Whitefriars glass 'Bamboo' vase, £50; a Val St Lambert glass vase, £75; and an Edwardian, inlaid, 36-hour wind-up mantel...Read more
Exceptional Memorial Day AuctionMaine Antique Digest, May 12th
Clocks: American tiger maple grandfather clock: English and French tall clocks; E Stennes mirror clock; Am. gallery clock; Howard banjo clock; S. Marti bronze double-dial calendar clock sold by Hamann and Koch; ornate French bronze mantel clock; other ...Read more
Roentgen and Fabergé on the Block at Christie's Auction May 20Artinfo UK, May 7th
On the block will be several pieces including a table ornamented with a portrait medallion of Landgraf Friedrich II von Hessen-Kassel (estimate £40,000-60,000 or $61,695-92,543), a 1785 mantel clock with gilt-bronze mounts formerly in the collection of ...Read more
Joe Rosson: Clock's date likely refers to its patent, not manufactureKnoxville News Sentinel, March 28th
I am sending some pictures of a mantel clock that was given to me by my father in the 1960s. I have no background information on the origin of the clock, which still keeps excellent time. The only markings on the clock are at the top edge of the face...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