E. N. Welsh Whittier model
E. N. Welsh Whittier model

This American clock with a count wheel strike is an antique store find. The proprietor revealed that the strike side did not function hence a slight reduction in price.

After oiling the pivot holes the clock ran for several days and kept good time but the strike side remained silent. My preliminary analysis is that all the strike-side parts are present but the unlocking lever (which lifts the count lever) appears to be bent out of position. Perhaps the adjustment was deliberate for some reason. And, of course, the movement could be quite worn. I will know more when I dis-assemble the movement in Part III.

Barely readable label
Barely readable label and someone determined that this clock should be hung on a wall

History of the E.N Welsh Manufacturing Company

The E. N. Welch Mfg. Co. was formed on July 6, 1864 to succeed an older private firm making clocks under the name of E. N. Welch. Elisha N. Welch (1809 to 1887) had been making clocks at a factory site on East Main Street at Forestville, Conn. since taking over the bankrupt business of J. C. Brown in about 1856. Source.

A movement shop was established in 1869, adding to the two factories already in use by the firm. Between 1868 and 1884, a subsidiary firm called Welch, Spring & Company was formed to produce a more expensive line of clocks. The company was formed by three clock enthusiasts; Welch, Solomon Crosby Spring and Benjamin Bennet Lewis. The Welch firm was well known for its handsome rosewood cases, though in 1885, with changing styles in furniture, the surviving firm began to introduce new models with solid walnut cases and discontinued some of the older rosewood veneered cases.

Elisha Welch was enamored of a lovely (but very liberal-thinking) diva of the day from Spain by the name of Adelina Patti. He named his best quality movement after her, called the “Patti” movement. Clocks with this movement are highly sought after by serious collectors. However, I have not found any confirmed examples of “Patti” clocks at any of the international auction sites.

E. N. Welch clocks made before 1880 are considerably more expensive as these represent the height of the company’s clock making

After the death of Elisha Welch in 1887, the firm steadily declined, selling off some of its assets and issuing new stock to raise much needed capital. A new line of clocks was introduced for 1893, which were cheaper in quality than their already discounted line. In May of that year the factory was closed down and a receiver was appointed The receiver spent nearly two years selling off stock and settling the debts of the firm. It was not until 1896 that the firm resumed production.

The name was changed to the Sessions Clock Company on January 9, 1903

In 1899, two fires, one in March and a second in December reduced most of the Welch manufacturing complex to ashes. Despite the completion of a new brick factory in 1900, the company could not meet its liabilities. Meanwhile members of the wealthy Sessions family were buying out former stockholders and eventually took control of the firm in 1902. They changed the name to the Sessions Clock Company on January 9, 1903.

E. N. Welch clocks made before 1880 are considerably more expensive as these represent the height of the company’s clock making. Clocks made prior to 1880 generally command higher auction prices. Compared to companies like Seth Thomas and Waterbury instances of E. N. Welsh clocks coming up on auction sites are becoming quite rare.

Stay tuned for more. In Part II I will describe the Whittier and some of it’s features. In Part III I will report on my progress and any challenges as I service the movement.