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

Marking Time
Bangalore Mirror, July 13th

My father manufactured the parts,re-assembled the clock in 30 days and took it to Delhi where he presented the working Mantel Clock to its owner, the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. He charged only `3000 for the job" says Syed Mahmood "but Mrs...Read more

Terryville resident's antique clocks on exhibit
Bristol Press, July 12th

PLYMOUTH — Tom Vaughn became interested in clocks when he was 14 and began tinkering with an old broken timepiece in his family's living. He bought new parts for it but still couldn't get it to work, so he found the same model online and bought it for...Read more

Finalists announced for VIVID emerging design competition
Architecture and Design, July 3rd

Vibrant Vision in Design (VIVID) will return to Decor + Design from 10 July to 13 July 2014 with over 80 innovative pieces by 58 shortlisted designers to be put on display at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Southbank. Once again, VIVID 2014 will give...Read more

Auction Systems Auctioneers & Appraisers Inc. to Host "5th of July Auction" in ...
PR Newswire (press release), July 1st

Courtship International set of two sterling candle holders, Velocity Micro Cruz Reader tablet with charger, Jane Wooster Scott pencil signed "School Days" matted and framed serigraph, decorative Samurai sword, Antique style mantel clock featuring...Read more

'Antiques Roadshow' was great fun, but not profitable
Farm and Ranch Guide, June 25th

The mantel clock was appraised by a very sophisticated appraiser with excellent people skills and a slight British accent. He commended us on the cleanliness and the condition of our old mantle clock but scolded me for scotch taping the key to the...Read more