This article describes my latest mantel clock find, an American tambour style time, strike and chime clock that has some very interesting features.
It is a Sessions Westminster A mantel clock made in Forestville Conn. The first year of production for this model was 1927. Between 1903 and 1933 Sessions produced 52 models of mechanical clocks, ranging from Advertisers, large and small clocks with logos of various businesses, to wall, or regulator clocks, and shelf or mantel clocks, designed for the home. Some of the Sessions clocks from this period are prized by collectors.
This case is 21 inches long and 10 inches high, has a mahogany finish with a faux wood inlay and raised metal gold-coloured numerals. It has an 8-day Westminster quarter-hour chime movement. The strike and the chime are on the same train. This clock has 2 gear trains to perform what is usually done with three gear trains in most clocks. Rare but not unique.
Although made in the 1920’s, Sessions had to compete with every other American clock company as chime clocks became very popular. Movements with 3 gear trains were the norm; three arbours, one for each train. Sessions chose a radical approach, and designed the two-train Westminster movement with only two mainsprings. Economies of scale meant that the dial fit other time & strike mantel clocks as well.
This particular clock was sold in 1931, an inscription testifies to the date. The sale price in 1931 was $29.95, a working man’s salary in the 1930’s. This is a $20 flea market find.
The time side runs well but the chime and strike side is not working. It has either a broken or a disconnected mainspring or perhaps some other major issue is lurking within.
This clock has a reputation for being difficult to work on. Some horologists will not touch it because of its quirkiness and the amount of time it takes to repair but I plan to give it a shot, not now but once I gain moire experience in clock repair.