So, my sister also loves clocks

After not having visited my sister in some time I was surprised to find that she is an avid clock collector. I must stress the word collector because although she appreciates the beauty of each clock she has acquired over the years how they run is somewhat of a mystery to her and that is just fine. While visiting her this summer three of her clocks were out of adjustment and it took no time (no pun intended) at all to get them running again. No sense paying someone to do it, that`s what brothers are for.

In my opinion the most interesting clock she has is a French time and strike bracket clock that has no visible markings yet appears to be over 100 years old. It is in beautiful condition with only a slight patina on the finish. I would love to have found out more about this clock but my stay was brief. Perhaps next time.

French bracket clock
French bracket clock

The next clock is one my sister absolutely loves and it is a great sounding Westminster chime grandmother clock she bought some 20+ years ago. This quarter chime clock made by Craftline Industries in the early 1990s has a Canadian made case with a German movement, likely by Hermle.

Craftline grandmother clock
Craftline grandmother clock

Next is a curiosity. When I saw the Sessions name on the dial I wondered why I had not seen this particular style of Sessions clock. Further investigation revealed it to be a six pillar Adamantine Seth Thomas case. The movement was clearly marked ST and as I said the case is certainly a Seth Thomas. So, why the Sessions clock face? Likely the original dial face was so badly marred as to be unreadable that the owner many years ago simply told the clock repair person to find another face, which he did. Since the replacement was a Sessions electric clock face he had to drills the holes to accommodate the winding arbors. Who would know! To those less knowledgeable it looks great.

Session Seth Thomas mantel clock
Sessions / Seth Thomas mantel clock

I found this little antique time-only Hamilton and Co. French-style carriage clock made in India (Calcutta) to be very interesting and so diminutive. Hamilton and Co. is probably the best known and most celebrated British clock maker in India. I would put this clock at around the 1890s. It probably needs a good cleaning since it is not in working order.

Hamilton and Co Calcutta
Hamilton and Co. Calcutta

I am not a huge fan of steeple clocks but this Waterbury clock is in very good condition save for a damaged right steeple tip. The Waterbury Clock Company is one of many 19th century Connecticut-based clock firms with a history going back to the 1850s though it closed is doors for good in 1944. More memorable are Waterbury wall and mantel clocks but like many makers of the day they had a successful line of steeple clocks.

Waterbury steeple clock
Waterbury steeple clock

Next is a New Haven time and strike tambour style mantel clock from about the late 1920s or early 1930s. Aside from the grandmother clock which my sister bought new the New Haven mantel clock was a wedding gift of her late husband’s parents and has been in the family ever since.

New Haven Mantel clock
New Haven Mantel clock

Lastly, this Chelsea ship’s bell clock is a polished beauty. A ship’s bell is used to indicate the time aboard a ship and hence to regulate the sailors’ duty watches. Unlike normal clock bells, the strikes of the bell do not correspond to the number of the hour. Instead, there are eight bells, one for each half-hour of a four-hour watch. Three bells, for example, would mean that a sailor would be 1 1/2 hours into a 4 hour watch. Each watch would take its turn with the essential activities of manning the ship’s helm, navigating and keeping a lookout.

Chelsea ship's bell cloc
Chelsea ship’s bell clock

I was quite impressed with my sister`s collection and each clock occupies a special place in her home. I find it facinating going into peoples homes and discovering the joy they experience in collecting, be it clocks in this case or anything for that matter. Collectors are truly unique people!


4 thoughts on “So, my sister also loves clocks

  1. Never knew that about the ship’s bell clocks! I agree, that one is gorgeous. Funny about the Seth Thomas/Sessions mashup. I wonder if the previous owner chose that face (despite the lack of winding arbors) for stylist purposes or if it really was the easiest one to repurpose. If only every clock came with a typed history of its purchase and every servicing and owner…


  2. The steeple clock is in good shape. Really? Take another look, Ron… I see two sets of holes in the dial, and the hand shafts are a bit above the centre line. I suspect that it may not have the original movement in it. The bottom board was also added, since these always finish with the square sectioned bottom. I really have no idea why the bottom board would have been added, but whoever added it went to some trouble to match the colour and varnish it.

    The carriage clocks are quite nice. I don’t have one in my collection mainly due to price.

    While the Sessions dial does look a bit funny on the ST clock, I actually noticed the copper-painted case decorations first. I know some were copper, but this looks like it was re-painted in copper. Still a very nice clock.

    I’d love to have a family member or close friend who’s more into clocks, but no one I know (aside from fellow collectors and internet friends) has any real interest. I’ve even offered services to friends should they have any desire to buy an old clock (cheap servicing, free advice, etc) and no one is interested. They either don’t like the noise (ticking or striking) or they are too lazy to remember to wind them. My father does have 2 clocks that he keeps running (one I fixed), and he has a third that also needs repairs. Half the times I visit he’s forgotten to wind them. Same for my mom. She has just one wind-up clock. An atrocious yet charming Asian 31 day steeple clock that has been tole painted, and which is hung on the wall. For a while she had it running, but then stopped winding it up because she has arthritis (or she can’t remember when to wind it).


    1. I have no expertise with Steeple style clocks and am not even sure I would add one to my collection. I never took a close look at this one since it was non-working but as I look at the photo again, yes, there are two sets of winding arbor holes. which would obviously suggest that the movement is not original.

      Actually my wife tolerates my collection and I will go beyond that and say that she absolutely loves some of my clocks. The Kienzle World Time clock was one that she “told” me to buy as she thought it would be an interesting addition to my collection and she was right!

      As I said in my blog article my sister loves clocks but she knows nothing about how they work. Since I adjusted three of them I noticed after visiting her a month later that they are still running.



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