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

17th century oil painting attributed to Thomas Bosschaert could fetch $30000 ...
ArtfixDaily, October 31st

Clocks will include an unusual French gilt bronze Louis XV-style mantel clock made circa 1880, featuring a top with a relief winged dragon surmount (est. $1,000-$1,500); an early 20th century three-piece bronze and verde antico (“ancient green”) marble ...Read more

Jewelled compact once owned by Royalty at Fair
Yorkshire Post, October 31st

also the illustrator of the Terry Pratchett Discworld novels which is on sale with Art of the Imagination, from Wiltshire, while Paul Hodson, from Heritage Antiques, Longridge, Lancashire, has a French Ormolu mantel clock c1850 worth £1,290 with a...Read more

Clocks snatched by crooks in Holland-on-Sea burglary
Clacton and Frinton Gazette, October 31st

The haul included a wooden Benson mantel clock with a gold face, a two-foot-tall clock with 'Post Office Clock' written on the face, and a grey and white china lady figurine. It happened between 9am on Wednesday October 8 and 8.45pm on Monday October ...Read more

Over 40 original artworks by Lucy Mustin Peters (Am., 1911-2001) will be sold ...
ArtfixDaily, October 26th

side chairs, a drop-leaf table, a vintage fall-front desk, a podium, a large figural mantel clock, additional mantel clocks, and a Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden in Friday Night Lights, Season 1) screen-worn dress, accompanied by a certificate of...Read more

Alessi Celebrates 50 Years with Michael Graves
Gifts & Decorative Accessories, October 21st

will display more than 30 select pieces that Graves has designed for the company, including other tea and serving pieces, items from the Euclid plastics line, and less common wooden pieces including the Mantel Clock and Twergi series of tabletop items...Read more

Fine Art and Antiques Show at Park Avenue Armory
New York Times, October 16th

At Frank Partridge, there's a gaudy, repellent yet fascinating Directoire ormolu mantel clock made in France in 1795. Its iconography represents a peculiarly ethnocentric vision of America. Atop the clock sits a doll-size, shirtless, black-skinned...Read more

Opening Saturday
East Hampton Star, October 9th

Stanley Bitterman recently made repairs to an 1840s mantel clock from the Talmage family at the East Hampton Farm Museum, which opens to the public on Saturday. Morgan McGivern. When the East Hampton Farm Museum opens on Saturday, visitors will ...Read more

The grandfather clock
The Citizen.com (blog), October 7th

He had to still the eight-day mantel clock over the piano (shown in an 1897 Sears catalog for #3.90); its brisk clatter covered the solid, decisive ticking of the grandfather. Elsewhere in the house, the little French clock, an ornament on his mother's...Read more