I did not have a banjo clock in my collection and my latest acquisition is certainly a banjo styled clock but not in the tradition of a true weight-driven American banjo clock which continues to allude me.
There is no scarcity of spring driven recoil escapement (lever escapement) banjo clocks. This particular clock has a balance wheel/hairspring escapement which Ingraham calls a “marine” movement.
This is the Nordic, one of a series of small, hairspring banjos that Ingraham produced in the late 1920s and 1930s. The Nordic is one of three that Ingraham introduced during the aforementioned period, the others being the Norfolk and The Norway. In the mid 1920s it would have cost about $11.00.
Nordics come up occasionally on EBay and seem to be very desirable if in very good condition. Often the throat or bottom tablet is cracked or missing and the clock face is distressed in some fashion. This particular clock is in exceptional condition for its age and shows very well. It is both diminutive and attractive.
Marine movements were (and are) very accurate eight day lever movements which are key wound and key regulated. It is wound from the front unlike Gilberts and others that must be taken down from the wall to be wound. The movements are constructed with extra heavy brass plates, steel cut pinions, a double roller escapement and are made to last.
The case is described by Ingraham as having a “fine rubbed mahogany finish”. Fake done nicely!
These movements are not commonly found outside the confines of a case. They were also used in other Ingraham wall clocks. Tran Duy Ly’s book on Ingraham Banjo marine movement clocks shows them from the 1927 catalog.
Both the hour and the minute hand are “pressed-on” friction fit. It has solid brass side arms, brassed eagle and a circular finish silver-plated dial with a non-tarnish-able gilt sash. Framed glass panels with coloured ship scene and floral throat complete the look. It is 26 inches in length. It lacks a label which would normally be affixed to the back of the clock.
As the most inexpensive of banjo clocks many homes could have one to avoid the higher cost (though higher quality) of a weight driven banjo clock.