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, March 23rd
Don't miss the antique Northwood water pitcher, the 1960s submarine model, the shagreen tea caddy, the 1930s Uriano mantel clock, the ancient Greek incense burner, the 1970s brutalist bookends and the Fenton punch bowl with base. As always, buyer ...Read more
Iran's loss is the world's gain: The tale of my persecuted Bahà'i roommateScroll.in, March 18th
She insisted on keeping a mantel clock in our living room. One day, I idly asked about the date engraved on the clock, and heard the most astonishing story. Parvaneh, which means butterfuly in Farsi, finished high school in her native Iran. She wanted...Read more
At home with: Bill and Cathy WilliamsStuff.co.nz, March 18th
I was in Auckland marking an exam and I walked onto the street in Otahuhu and saw an old Bim Bam mantel clock. Now I've got 3377 of them. The Guinness world record is about 2000 clocks and I've got way more, but I'm not bothered. I bought an old church ...Read more
Restored cottage at BushTown openOtago Daily Times, March 15th
It gave Mr and Mrs Prue a chance to see the extensive work carried out on the cottage, which was decorated in Edwardian style, including a mantel clock that was in the house originally. Edwardian group president Sandra Coles said the official opening...Read more
Man keeps ticking as he collects, fixes clocksThe Daily Advertiser, March 8th
“He's brought more things back to life that you would not have imagined possible,” said James, who has a mantel clock that had been through a fire but looks like new, thanks to his father's work. James said one of his father's gifts, which James now...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
Collectibles: Angle lamp, Chinese cabinet and screen, Ingraham mantel clock ...OregonLive.com, January 19th
Q. My grandmother gave me this clock and I believe it dates from the early 1900s. I recently had it repaired and it keeps great time. I'm just wondering what the value may be? S.F., E Portland. A. The E. Ingraham Company, an important clock and watch ...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