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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
National Watch and Clock Museum
National Maritime Museum
Dan and Diana's Lux Clock Collection
Detex Watchman's Clock Album
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Mantel Clocks
Source: Google News
Historic clock among attractions as Johnston Historical Society celebrates new ...Johnston Sun Rise, April 24th
It was back on March 21 of this year when Cornwell – who is an active historical society member – delivered and donated a beautiful mantel clock that is now affixed to a wall inside the Society's 24-by-22-foot expansion of the museum barn that's...Read more
ArtZfest includes clock-making masks, hats and headpiecesTowntimesnews, April 24th
Mr. Ptachinski and his friend, a costumer designer from New York, created some clock-like headpieces, including a grandfather clock-inspired mask, a 60s “mod” kitchen clock headpiece and a mantel clock, designed after the traditional Seth Thomas ...Read more
MUSEUM FILES: Upstate New Yorkers had hand in changing the clockGlens Falls Post-Star, April 21st
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
More than 1000 lots of fresh estate merchandise will come up for bid May 1st ...EcommWire (press release), 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 updateFleet 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 saleBlackmore 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' childrenConcord 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
Antiques on Parade at WestminsterMuncie 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