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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National touring production of 'Disney's Beauty and the Beast' heading to ...Deseret News, January 23rd
The Tony was a nod to such creative animation-to-stage transformations as a mantel clock with an actual working clock on the actor's face, a teapot, an ottoman, a dustpan, candlesticks, and corkscrews — all working together to create eye-popping...Read more
Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism, the First ComputerSmithsonian, January 21st
The Antikythera mechanism was similar in size to a mantel clock, and bits of wood found on the fragments suggest it was housed in a wooden case. Like a clock, the case would've had a large circular face with rotating hands. There was a knob or handle...Read more
Local clock repairer shares 30 years of experienceLancaster Eagle Gazette, January 20th
CANAL WINCHESTER – "A clock is a clock is a clock," said Joe Clark, a local clock repairer with more than 30 years of experience in restoring new, rare and antique clocks. Clark said clocks are largely the same; once he learned the basic principles of...Read more
Weekly Roundup of eBay Vintage Home FindsHuffington Post, January 11th
As always, buyer beware! Be sure to read the listings closely and contact the sellers with any questions. Don't miss the 1950s Jacob Hermann carved wood birds, the 1920s French mantel clock set, the hand carved cathedral clock, the 1930s chrome peacock ...Read more
Stephen Jendrysik: Chicopee's Gaylord mansion holds rich historyMassLive.com, January 7th
My wife's sister, Mary, purchased a Tiffany & Co. mantel clock. Today, on our living room mantel, I have the cherished souvenir of my visit to the Emerson Gaylord's library. Emerson Gaylord was the son of Josiah and Lucinda Smith Gaylord. He was born...Read more
Those were the days: Jimmy coaches Model boysImpartial Reporter, January 2nd
Chancellor's 50th Anniversary - (photo caption) - Chancellor G.R. Howe, former rector of Rossorry parish, and his wife, Mary, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination in the Church of Ireland shortly before Christmas with a mantel clock...Read more
You never quite know what time it is in a clock shopLancaster Eagle Gazette, December 29th
the 1919 creation that taught me everything that could possibly go wrong with an eight-day American spring-wound mantel clock; a 1910 Seth Thomas mantel clock presumably bequeathed to me because it didn't run reliably; and an unabashedly Victorian ...Read more
Joe Rosson: 'Black Mantel Clock' made by Sessions in early 1900sKnoxville News Sentinel, July 14th
Q: I have a clock that was my late grandmother's. We believe it has a low value but would like to have some history. My grandmother indicated that she received it in the late 1930s or 1940s. It is 17 inches long and 10 ½ inches high. It is dark black...Read more