Ogee clock showing replacement pendulum bob
Ogee clock showing replacement pendulum bob
Ogee clock, clock design that originated in the United States in the 1830s, distinguished by a case (usually pine) the front outer edges of which are curved into an S-shape (ogee). This shape is formed by the union of a convex and a concave line. A mass-produced variant of the shelf clock, the ogee clock stands about 30 inches (75 cm) high and is usually weight-driven. The movements were usually made of brass and were made to run for 30 hours or eight days. (Brittanica.com)

In 1839 the first prototype was produced for Chauncey Jerome by his brother Noble in Connecticut, USA. Jerome thought that a simple one-day clock could be produced far more cheaply than those with wooden movements at the time. Brass movements were more robust, could be transported easily and were unaffected by humidity. The simple case added to the movement was the Ogee named for its “S” shaped moldings. The success of the Ogee clock convinced other makers that there was a lot of money to be made in clock production.

This particular 30 hour time and strike Waterbury Ogee clock was purchased at an antique store an hour away. The store has has a reputation for pricing items for a quick sale and each time we visit there is a new selection of interesting clocks.

If the seller had asked $100 or more I still would have seriously considered it

The seller knew nothing about clocks and his only interest was to move the item. No problem. I brought this clock for far less that I would have imagined. If the seller had asked $100 or more I still would have seriously considered it. In my opinion these clocks are terribly undervalued.

It came with a winding crank and two weights but no pendulum. A  3oz pendulum bob was fitted to the movement. The 3 oz bob will do for now; it will likely take a lighter 2.3oz bob which I have ordered from Perrin.

The dimensions are 4 1/4 X 15 1/4 X 25 3/4 inches. The clock strikes only on the hour to conserve the weight drop. The coiled gong on a Waterbury stamped base is sonorous, striking the hour rapidly.

The movement will run and stay in beat but stops after about 15 minutes, so, something is amiss. The movement is relatively free of grime for the age of the clock but there is clear evidence of work done on the movement as one would expect. Stake/punch marks are throughout the movement.

Ogee clock label
Ogee clock label shown with a 2.7 oz pendulum, also testing with a 1.7 oz pendulum

The Rosewood veneer is in remarkable condition though the outside four corners have been compromised if one inspects closely. The label is in very good condition with two small pieces missing at the bottom edge and water staining on the right side. The painted zinc dial with Roman Numerals has some flaking and the numbers are somewhat faded but it otherwise looks very good for the age of the clock. Both spade hands and Ogee hands are on similar dials I have seen so I do not know if these are correct/original. The lower reverse painted tablet is silk screened, looks to be marred around the centre area and the entire scene has minor crackling but it is vivid and largely intact.

Veneer in excellent condition
Veneer in excellent condition

This is a Type 2.411 movement introduced by the Waterbury Clock Co. when Chauncey Jerome worked for them briefly in 1856-1857 after he went bankrupt. Found in Chauncey Jerome-labeled clocks with movement stamped, “C JEROME.” and also stamped “Waterbury Clock Co. CT” in later (1870) Waterbury clocks. This movement has the Waterbury stamp.

Waterbury clock movement
Waterbury clock movement

There is a Canadian connection to this movement. The Canada Clock Co. of Whitby, Ontario 1872-76 made 30 hour weight driven, time and strike movements based on an American design. Research indicates that the Collins Brothers (there were three: William, John, and Edward Collins) made a close copy of the OG movement used by the Waterbury Clock Company in Connecticut, a testament to the excellent design of this movement.

Ogee clock top showing cable pulleys
Ogee clock top showing cable pulleys

Why are these clocks so undervalued?

  • Our financial scare of 2008-09 prompted many to sell their clocks and glut the market.
  • The generation of folks who cherished these clocks are dying off.
  • The newer generation consider them irrelevant and are simply not interested in them.
  • 30 hour clocks are a tough sell because of the hassle of winding them daily.
  • Winding them daily means that most have considerable wear and repair adds to the cost
  • Lastly, many thousands were made so they are not especially rare.

Ten years ago an Ogee in good condition would easily sell for $200 to $300. Today I see prices all over the map but few beyond $175.

A great find at an excellent price.

Expect a report on the servicing of this 30 hour Waterbury Ogee in the weeks to come.