Canada Clock Co. – a cottage clock from the early 1880s

Case is in fair condition, dial face has some flaking
Case is in fair condition, dial face has some flaking, piece broken on left side of base

We have a couple of antique stores in our small town. Calling them antique stores is a bit of a stretch because there is usually more junk inside than actual antiques. We were shopping in the area of one of those “antique” stores and my wife turned to me and said, “Let’s go in”. I replied, “You know, all they have is junk”.

I thought, I might have found something important

I acquiesced. While she continued her shopping I went on ahead to look around the store and in the very back I saw a very sad looking clock that at I took for an old Sessions or a Waterbury.  As I neared the clock it piqued my interest and I began to see that it was quite old. I picked it up, looked for any markings on the dial face, found none then checked the back of the clock and discovered most of an intact label revealing a what I consider to be a significant find.

Back label in good condition for the age of the clock
Back label in good condition for the age of the clock

It is a clock from the Canada Clock Company. The Hamilton Cottage Extra was one of a range of clocks in their Metropolitan line.

This is an important discovery. The owner of the store knew nothing about clocks. He was asking $99 but after a bit of haggling, we settled on $40. I knew that it was worth much more.

Here is an excerpt on the Canada Clock Co. found at the Canadian Clock Museum in Deep River Ontario (Canada).

This company was the last of three sequential attempts to produce clocks by factory methods in Canada during the 1872 – 1884 period.  The original effort by the Canada Clock Company in Whitby, Ontario was basically unsuccessful and only limited production was achieved.
In 1876, the equipment was relocated to Hamilton, Ontario to begin a second attempt as the Hamilton Clock Company, with new investors.  This attempt was more successful and a fairly wide range of clocks was produced.  However, sales were not very large and some of the investors left the company by 1879.  At that point the president, James Simpson, ended production and proceeded with a major reorganization.
The company subsequently became the Canada Clock Company using the old Hamilton Clock Company factory and resumed production in 1880 but as a result of poor sales closed its doors in 1884.
For more go to this page at the museum site.
Clocks from the Canada Clock Co.are sought after by collectors. For international readers this represents a rare find because the 1870s to the mid 1880s was a very important period for clock production in Canada. Apart from several independent clock-makers in Quebec and eastern Canada two notable companies made wholly Canadian clocks, The Arthur Pequegnat Clock Co. of Kitchener Ontario made clocks up to 1941 and Martin Cheney of Montreal made finely crafted clocks in the early 1820s. This clock was made at the Hamilton, Ontario factory which produced clocks from 1880 to 1884.
Original time and strike 30 hour movement
Original count wheel time and strike 30 hour movement
The 30-hour time and (bell) strike movement is in remarkably good condition and fairly clean. The back label in good condition for the age of the clock and there is a stamp on the top of the label which says, “…A Hill &Co.”. If any Hamiltonians are reading this I would be grateful if you could make inquires about this small retailer.
My preliminary examination reveals that this clock has had very few repairs over the years. I have not taken the movement out of its case to check bushing/gear wear and other issues but I am initially encouraged. The case reflects the age of the clock but I would judge the clock to be in just fair condition. There is a wooden piece that needs to be re-attached on the right side of the base. Fortunately that piece was tucked inside the clock case.
Right side needs work
Right side needs work
Left side looks good
Left side looks good
100+ years of grime came off easily
100+ years of grime came off easily; etched glass on the bottom part of the tablet is distinctive

The crudely made case is not overly decorative and reflects a muted Victorian style of the times. The lower part of the tablet has an etched glass floral design typically found in Canada Clock Company clocks. The door clasp is original. The dial face is flaked in places and not in the best of condition though the 2 floral designs on each bottom corner are nicely preserved. The hands are original. The case is not heavy and made of pine with a deep walnut stained finish. It was grimy and dirty as expected. It cleaned it up nicely with Murphy’s soap and a sharp hobby knife was used to remove the numerous paint drops on the clock. Why folks do not put something over the clock when painting a room amazes me.

I will put the clock aside until I can determine my next steps. Do I pursue a full restoration including renewing the dial face or leave the clock largely in as-found condition? In the meantime I will re-attach the wood piece on the left side of the base.

What would you do?


8 thoughts on “Canada Clock Co. – a cottage clock from the early 1880s

  1. If it were a run-of-the-mill clock that wasn’t especially valuable, I might restore it a bit, but seeing that it’s a very valuable and rare piece, I would leave it as-is. Experienced collectors prefer unrestored (or minimally restored) clocks. I think it looks fantastic as-is. I’d just clean the movement and enjoy it.


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