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

Fierce bidding war breaks out
The Cornishman, August 26th

Similarly a good quality 20th century modern mantel clock, 20 or so years old, again attracted high interest due to its high quality movement and nine-bell chimes which eventually found a commission bid at £800. A large 19th century painted pine scrub...Read more

'Antiques Roadshow' Repeats Cincinnati Episode Monday Night
WVXU, August 24th

II memorial at Ezzard Charles Drive and Cutter Street in the West End a few blocks west of WCET-TV; a 1920s Weller dog lawn ornament; a 1930 Martin ukulele; a 1920s toy horse and buggy; an 1870 mantel clock; and a 1905 French advertising poster...Read more

Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville to host Great Estates on Sept. 11, August 19th

The selection of clocks is notable for a Chippendale mahogany automaton tall case clock; a Sevres style and porcelain clock garniture; an Empire gilt-bronze mantel clock; an Art Deco bronze clock; a George II style japanned tall case clock; and a...Read more

'Beauty and the Beast, Jr.' coming
Thomaston Times, August 12th

With the help of the castle's enchanted staff, including a loving teapot (Anna Davis), a charming candelabra (Dalton Dennis), and a nervous mantel clock (Kya Haywood), Belle and the Beast find a beautiful friendship and love that neither knew was possible...Read more

Kinsler cashes in all his husband points at once
Lancaster Eagle Gazette, August 7th

Around 1868 a family's Waterbury or Seth Thomas mantel clock might have been their single most expensive household possession, but then mass production began to flood the market with inexpensive clocks. Though these are now antiques, and highly ...Read more

Due South at GGMP Saturday
Thomaston Times, August 7th

With the help of the castle's enchanted staff, including a loving teapot (Anna Davis), a charming candelabra (Dalton Dennis), and a nervous mantel clock (Kya Haywood), Belle and the Beast find a beautiful friendship and love that neither knew was possible...Read more

Antiques: Roman warrior Ansonia clock 19th-century novelty
Press of Atlantic City, August 1st

Your photo shows Ansonia's 16-inch high, 19-inch long, cast-metal figural mantel clock. It features a Roman warrior in toga with battle sword seated near his armor and an elaborate cased clock. Figure, armor and clock rest on a cast-metal base...Read more

Junk or Gem: German Mantel Clock
WMTV, 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