Ansonia Octagonal Short drop “schoolhouse” clock

Ansonia Schoolhouse ClockClock
Ansonia Schoolhouse Clock

I have been thinking of expanding my collection of wall clocks lately after acquiring a good sampling of mantle and shelf clocks.

I picked up this clock not far from where I live. It is an Ansonia octagonal short drop commonly known as a schoolhouse clock. I am putting the date of manufacture at around the turn of the 20th century though I cannot quite pin down the year. The number 12 is stamped on the movement which could refer to the year “1912”, or even the month of a year. The letters “TT” are also on the movement. This is my first Ansonia clock.

The gentleman I bought it from told me that this clock has been in his family for over 50 years and “I never saw it running”, he says. He was in the process of liquidating his mother’s estate and was loath to give it up as it had been a favorite of hers. He also said that it came out of a schoolhouse in Ontario, Canada; where, he did not know. The case is in great shape though there are other minor issues. One, the face has had some paint applied around the minute / hour pipe presumably to hide stains incurred from years of oily fingers winding and adjusting the clock.

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Paint applied to the clock face

You can just barely make out the Ansonia trademark. The second issue is a missing bushing for the hour hand.

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Missing bushing for 4 inch hour hand

The bushing inserts into the hour hand hole to friction fit with the hour pipe / cannon. I suspect that the clock was not running was for this very reason. Someone thought the clock was broken. It is an easy fix and requires buying or fashioning a new bushing.

Curiously, there were pieces of rotted elastic band on the pendulum rod just below the suspension spring. I have no clue why. You can still see a bit of it in this photo.

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Time only Ansonia movement

Otherwise except for a little adjusting (bending of the crutch to get the beat right} the clock works well and has been ticking away for a day now. There is very little wear on the clock and no obvious bushing issues that I can see although I will have to take the movement out of its case for a further inspection and a thorough cleaning to determine what if anything needs fixing.

Much has been written about the Ansonia clock company. The company history can be found here. The Ansonia Clock Company went into receivership just before the stock market crashed in 1929, a foretelling of things to come, perhaps. The machinery and dies were sold to a Russian Company. A sad end to a glorious American company.

Postscript: I took the movement out of it’s case and found that the clock does indeed need 2-3 new bushings. The wear is not terrible and the clock runs fairly well but bushing work is in order. Once the new hour and minute hands arrive I will clean the movement, re-assemble the clock and display it until my bushing machine comes in the new year.

Nov 10th; new hands arrive in the mail. The hour hand has the required bushing and was an easy friction fit. Now looks and runs as it should.


2 thoughts on “Ansonia Octagonal Short drop “schoolhouse” clock

  1. I have an Ansonia Octagonal Schoolhouse clock dated 1878 exactly like the one featured here. I also have the pendulum and key. It’s in good working order, but I am looking to sell it. I don’t know its value. I paid $500 for it in 1975. It’s a darker wood, the face is in good condition, and the description label in the pendulum area is intact. What would you suggest for a sale price?

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    1. First of all, I am not an appraiser but I have several years experience buying and selling clocks.

      Very few clocks have retained their value over the years and the market generally is in a depressed state. The exception are high end clocks of special significance. Some clocks that fetched high prices only 10 and 20 years ago are now at a fraction of their value.

      Ebay prices typically are all over the map but I saw one, like mine, today for $125 plus $88 shipping. This is generally the price range though you will see clocks in better condition that might fetch upwards of $250. Unless your clock has special provenance I would say a price around the $125 range is fair. At the end of the day a clock is worth only what the buyer will pay. My advice is to keep it; you will never get what you paid for it.
      Ron

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