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Sessions Westminster Chime Mantel Clock

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    Posted 10 years ago

    (2 items)

    Love this old clock but can not find out any information on it. It does not appear in any Google search of 'Sessions'. Anyone have any clues? It runs great, and chimes every 15 minutes, 'tho can be very tempermental, and easily 'overwound'.

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    1. cdawson, 10 years ago
      Is there NO ONE out there that has ever seen this clock? I can't have the only one, or can I?
    2. clockman1954, 10 years ago
      Well, I don't know the exact model, but it's nearly identical to New Haven's Abbey model, which is also a Westminster chime. Normally, Sessions has a paper instruction sheet tacked to the inside of the rear door which has its model name stamped on it, as well as operating instructions.

      The main reason you're having issues with "overwinding" is that it's way overdue for cleaning and oiling. It may have wear issues that need to be addressed as well. When the old oil dries up, it becomes very sticky or nonexistent and, when fully wound (as it should be), does not allow the mainsprings to uncoil and power the clock and chime trains. If you find someone to do the job nearby, make sure they tell you they will take it completely apart to clean the springs and gears. Anything less is a half-@ssed job. It's very pretty (I have the New Haven Abbey, by the by).
    3. Bruce, 9 years ago
      Clockman1954 is absolutely right, this clock looks a lot like the New Haven Abbey which is circa 1929 and it does sound like your clock needs an overhaul. This clock is a "No. 927" circa 1936. Measuring over 16 inches tall, and 12 inches wide. It has a hand carved mahogany case, six inch silver dial with raised gold numerals. Polished Brass Sash and powered by an eight-day Westminster Chime Movement. Chiming Sessions movements can be unique in that some of their movements, like this one, have the chime and strike trains powered by the same mainspring, hence there are only two mainspring winding holes by the "4" and the "8" on the dial. This is what you normally see on the simpler Time and Strike movements. The two smaller holes below the "12" and above the "6" are for regulating the speed of the movement and for enabling or disabling the chimes. Look closely at almost any other antique clock manufacturer's chiming models and you'll find three mainspring winding holes. In 2002, this model was appraised at $350. To answer your question, I don't know if it is rare, but it certainly is not common. The "Abbey" must have been more successful in the market place. I've heard that the New Haven has a very beautiful, distant-sounding Westminster Chime. Perhaps it was the acoustics of the cabinet in which case your clock must sound very nice as well. It certainly has a beautiful face and case. Definitely worth the cost of maintenance. Enjoy!
    4. Bruce, 9 years ago
      The New Haven Abbey can be heard on YouTube at Very nice sounding chime however, a couple of the hammers should be adjusted as they are bouncing enough to strike the chime rods more than one. It's very subtle, but if you listen you can clearly hear a "stuttering" of the chime notes.
    5. cdawson, 9 years ago
      Thanks for that 'update'. I do think that a major cleaning is in order, as the winding does not go for a week. 2 days seems to be it's 'cycle', and very 'irregular'. I saw the 'youtube' video and this clock has a much sweeter tone; less metallic, as the hammers are cloth/felt covered. I will get a picture of the inside of the back door to show numbering, which seems (from memory) to have multiple numbers. I don't recognize the '927', but will investigate. I find it hard to believe that 'none' of these sweet clocks have been hoarded. I grew up with this clock and thought 'everybody' had one. $350 sounds like a steal, being as no one seems to even react to this clock; 'tho I have no intention of getting rid of it.
    6. cdawson, 9 years ago
      Upon measuring, this clock is actually 16 and a half inches tall at the point of the arch, and 10" wide. Was there some sort of 'reserve' model?
    7. Bruce, 9 years ago
      No reserve model was mentioned in my reference source. Your clock is definitely the "No. 927" which I found on page 243 of Tran Duy Ly's "Sessions Clocks" published in 2001. The exact measurements given for the case were 16 1/4 inches high and 12 1/4 inches wide. I assume the width is at its widest point which would be the decorative molding around the base. Ly's reference publications are the best I've seen. I've never come across a serious discrepancy in the descriptions but typos do occur. Your clock is the No. 927. I'm sure of that. The illustration is exactly like your photo right down to the intricate, triangular details of the decorative carvings. The appraisal of $350 was from his 2002 price update, the most recent one available. Granted, that is almost a decade old, and adjusted for inflation the figure would be about $425 in 2010 but the appraisal is really a function of demand and market history for a clock in mint original condition. I don't blame you. I would hold on to the clock as well. It's gorgeous! When you have it overhauled, I would make sure that the person is well qualified and is comfortable working with Sessions. As already mentioned, these types of movements are not rare but they are not your "typical" Westminster chime either.

      As for the YouTube "Abbey", I was surprised to see the hammers in the clock. Every striking or chiming clock that I've seen has some type of soft tip on the hammers, usually leather. That must have been done at his request. Perhaps his hearing is failing. At any rate, his clock needed some very minor adjustment to a few of the strike arms. Some times you can't avoid the occasional stutter because the rod, bell, gong, tube or whatever is still vibrating from a previous strike. I don't think that was the case with his Abbey. He obviously was very proud of it and rightfully so. Regards
    8. cdawson, 9 years ago
      Big thank you to Bruce for providing so much info on the clock. I thought we'd never get any clues. Just to continue for 1 moment; I erroneously stated that the strike hammers were covered and they are not. For some reason my vision was different, and as you can see from the attached photo, at least one of the chime 'tubes' is misaligned.
      Also Bruce, correct again, I did not measure the decorative molding at the base, so Mr. Ly's measurements sound about right.
      The other photo shows the inside of the door and you will note that '927' is not one of the numbers. Peace! 100_3180.JPG, 100_3181.JPG
    9. Bruce, 9 years ago
      You're very welcome cdawson! I am happy to be able to help! These clocks use chime rods which are usually made of bronze. Be very careful if you try to realign one. The metal can fatigue if it is bent too far or too often and break right where it tapers and attaches to the base. If in doubt, let the person servicing your clock straighten it out. Your photo images didn't "attach". I think they have to be hosted on a website. Your own or one like or Once the images have been uploaded to a server, you can obtain a url link to share the image. Even if the link doesn't become active within this text, the user can copy and paste the url into their browser. I think the url links automatically become active here though. As far as the model number or name not being on or in the case, that happens much more often than not. If the model name or number was put on the case (or a label), it may have faded or been lost through the years. Happy collecting.
    10. Bruce, 9 years ago
      Note that the full url of which starts with the http://www. is an active link above which you can simply click on. was not recognized as a url by the text editor but if you copy and paste the text it into your browser, you will go to their website. Regards
    11. cdawson, 9 years ago
      Bruce, thanks again for your helpful comments. The pix didn't go (as you realize) but if you are interested, just to see, I did a new post on this site, with the same heading 'Sessions Westminster Chime Mantel Clock'. Maybe you can navigate better than I.
      Does the Ly book mention why so few were manufactured (my assumption), as I couldn't find it on any of the 'Sessions' searches I made?
    12. Bruce, 9 years ago
      cdawson, no direct mention is made as to the numbers of any particular model run. Sessions was turning their attention to the manufacture of electric clocks in the 1930's. Perhaps that could explain things, but that is just speculation on my part.
      Take care.
    13. loneoak, 9 years ago
      Hi CDawson, I have the SAME clock as you. It's a 1929 Sessions Westminster Chime Clock. They are hard to find on the internet because they made very few of them. As a matter of fact, I never could find it until I saw your photo.
      During the recession that occurred right after they started production, the company cut back
      on materials and began making their clocks with 2 columns instead of 4. It might be a good idea to have it serviced because of the overwinding, it shouldn't do that, but mine is also tempermental to some degree but is better after having it serviced. I had our clocked serviced in Jan. 2012 and it was estimated to sell for $700 here in Toledo, Ohio.
    14. loneoak, 9 years ago
      By the way, if you find someone who really wants it, the sky's the limit on price. They were only manufactured in the year 1929.
    15. Bruce99 Bruce99, 9 years ago
      Hello loneoak. Welcome to Collector's Weekly.

      May I ask where you got your "circa" and appraisal information from?

      According to my sources this model appeared in the Sessions 1936 catalog and although it may have been offered to the public before that year, it was definitely marketed by Sessions to the general public in 1936.

      In 1930 Sessions was producing almost twice as many pendulum clocks as electrics. By 1936 Sessions was producing almost 16 electric clocks for every pendulum. This chime clock is not common because Sessions was getting out of the mechanical clock business. A move they completed immediately following World War II. New Haven's "Abbey", which this model was based on, already dominated the market.

      Price is usually a function of rarity, desirability and condition. Basically, supply and demand. I've sat through a fair number of clock auctions and the sky is rarely the limit unless the clock is very rare, historically significant and/or stunningly beautiful...and of course there has to be a least two bidders with very deep pockets willing to go war over the same clock.

      These are very nice clocks. I'm sure you must love and enjoy yours very much.
    16. loneoak, 7 years ago
      Hi Bruce99. I took my Sessions to a man that specializes in antique clocks. He said he had waited his whole life to work on one. He is the one who gave us the approximate appraisal. As to the year, my clock still has the sticker on inside door with instructions on the chimes, month and year it was made, and so forth. We inherited it, so yes,, it's a treasure. Your right about the price. A matter of supply and demand. Sorry I didn't get your comment sooner. they never emailed it to me.

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