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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Weekly Roundup of eBay Vintage Home FindsHuffington Post, December 21st
Don't miss the 1765 Louis Black sterling candlesticks, the Franz Bergman bronze kangaroo, the 1960s Joseph Prutch sculptural chairs, the 19th century gilt statue lamp and the French Art Deco mantel clock. DISCLOSURE: Editorial selections are made by ...Read more
Hopkins clockmaker repairs the world's rarest timepiecesMinneapolis Star Tribune, December 21st
On a recent visit to Purdy's shop, Blackstone Manor Clock Repair, a woman came in the door with an elaborately carved reproduction of a French mantel clock. She didn't need it repaired; she was moving, and she wanted Purdy to find it a good home...Read more
Horologist of London will keep ticking after Main Street shop closesThe Ridgefield Press, December 20th
“And I might sell five or six bracket clocks, like a mantel clock, but they might be in the $50,000 to $60,000 range. “The market has moved much more upscale; $50,000 to 60,000 is the market, now — no longer the $1,000 to $1,500 stuff. … “My business...Read more
Auditions for Northbrook Theatre's 'Beauty and the Beast Jr.' to be Held in ...Patch.com, December 16th
play fun supporting roles, including Mrs. Potts, the endearing cook, who is turned into a teapot; Lumiere, the French mâitre d' who becomes a candelabra; Cogsworth, the head of the household, who becomes a mantel clock; and assorted dancing flatware...Read more
Sheppard's four-day auctionIrish Times, December 12th
Sheppard's held an unprecedented four-day series of auctions last week – including an evening art auction – and 76 per cent of the more than 2,000 lots were sold. The top price – €34,000 – was achieved for a painting Breton Reapers by 19th century...Read more
Plenty of 'Christmas Carol' in the ValleyAllentown Morning Call, December 10th
Dressed in period attire with a handful of props — a table, fireplace, mantel clock, hat rack and cane — Dickens takes the audience on a 90-minute journey through the classic tale. A consummate storyteller, Dickens transforms himself into 30...Read more
Keeping things ticking with the Maryland Clock CompanyBaltimore Sun, December 5th
Time has been good to Rick and Doris Graham. Married for over four decades, their livelihood spans four centuries. They sell clocks at their family business, the Maryland Clock Company located in Davidsonville, and repair some timekeepers that date as ...Read more
American Furniture, Outsider Art, and Folk ArtMaine Antique Digest, November 27th
Christie's opened the fall auction season with a one-session sale on September 22 in New York City with major offerings from the collection of the late Eric Martin Wunsch, which it has been selling over the last four years, and the collection of the...Read more