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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'Taste of the Mountains' raises $22000 for neo-natal incubator for hospitalThe Tomahawk, March 12th
Hall season passes, a pontoon boat rental, an hour sightseeing trip on a Trail dragger airplane, a week long Florida getaway, a mantel clock and bear carving, a painting by Lloyd Taylor, several framed photos by John Melton, and a handcrafted hope...Read more
'Spring forward' keeps clock collecting mayor busySeacoastonline.com, March 8th
The oldest clock is a mantel clock from Cindy's aunt. The twice-a-year time change is, well, time-consuming. "I don't mind springing ahead," he said, because the hands of the clocks are moved ahead. The falling back demands more attention. "You shouldn...Read more
Pa. clockmaker restores family heirloomsSacramento Bee, March 7th
To Steiger, a real-life Geppetto at home in his shop's clutter like the "Pinocchio" clockmaker, there's nothing better. He'll do what it takes, for a beautiful grandfather or mantel clock, frozen and silent, deserves no less. "You're very careful with...Read more
Antiques: A 'Grecian' formula for successOttawa Citizen, March 6th
Q: I have an old “Grecian” mantel clock made by the Pequegnat Clock Company of Berlin, Ont. It keeps good time and the chimes work. What can you tell me about it and the maker? Waldo, Waterloo. A: Swiss-born Arthur Pequegnat started Canada's most ...Read more
Ligonier clock doctor turns the hands of time forwardTribune-Review, March 5th
Dean's interest in clocks began in the early 1970s when his first wife, the late Ann Dean, gave him a wind-up Seth Thomas Tambour or mantel clock as a gift. “She bought me the first clock,” said Dean. “After that I bought another and another. It became...Read more
Gerard Schniers recognized for 36 years of service with Caro DPWTuscola Today, March 5th
Olson, Mayor Richard Pouliot and DPW superintendent Charlie Sundblad presented Schniers with a plaque bearing the certificate of appreciation, as well as an engraved Bulova mantel clock. “On behalf of the citizens and stakeholders of the city of Caro, ...Read more
Add Parisian elegance to your home decorSILive.com, February 14th
Top off your design with accents like a chiming mantel clock, found in many Parisian homes. Check ebay or Etsy for an antique clock, or search at flea markets or swap meets. If you need more tips to create just the right Left Bank look, home design...Read more
Living Space: Add Parisian elegance to your decorCharlotte Observer, February 13th
These large dresser-type pieces are often used in entryways, halls and living rooms. Woven cane backed chairs are also classically Parisian. Top off your design with accents like a chiming mantel clock, found in many Parisian homes. Check eBay or Etsy...Read more