New Haven Ogee clock – attractive but not without issues

Ogee New Haven clock
Mini Ogee by New Haven, the gaps in the door indicate that the front was once veneered and later stripped

This spring driven 30 hour New Haven Ogee clock is a loud ticker and rapid striker so distinctive that I can hear the ticking outside the room it is in like a mischievous puppy who wants to remind you where it is.

Judging from other New Haven clocks I have researched from this period, 1875 seems to be the approximate date of manufacture. The case measures 18 1/2 by 11 3/4 inches (47cm X 30cm) and the movement measures 3 1/2 by 5 inches (9cm X 12.7cm); a small ogee styled clock some would call a mini.

The clock is a mere reflection of its former self but not unattractive

The New Haven clock Co. has had a long and illustrious history. In 1853 the Haven Clock Company was founded in New Haven, Connecticut by Hiram Camp (1811‑1892) and other clock-makers. The company’s mission was to mass produce inexpensive brass clock movements for use in clocks. In April, 1856 The New Haven Clock Company bought out a competitor’s company, the Jerome Clock Company. They moved their production to the former Jerome factory and New Haven began making clocks under their own trademark. In 1870 some of New Haven’s clocks were marketed under the Jerome & Co. brand.

In 1885 the company stopped selling clocks other than their own New Haven brand. In 1890 the company developed serious financial problems and efforts were made to keep it solvent until 1897 at which time the company emerged after reorganization. In 1902 Walter Chauncey Camp (1859-1925) began to turn the company around. In 1923 Walter Camp stepped down as head of the company and is succeeded by Edwin P. Root.

In 1929 Richard H. Whitehead replaced Root as president of the company but New Haven again faced financial difficulties compounded by the Great Depression in November, 1929. Whitehead was able to keep the company afloat during these troubled times and the firm regained profitability. From 1943 to 1945 the company turned to the war effort, producing products almost exclusively for military use. In March of 1946 The New Haven Clock and Watch Company became the new name of the firm after it reorganized once again. It returns to what it did best before the War, making clocks and watches.

The 1946 reorganization eventually leaves the company vulnerable to foreign investors and it lost control to a consortium of Swiss watchmakers. The man who had successfully shepherded the company through the hard times of the Depression years, resigned as president. In 1956 the New Haven Clock and Watch Company filed Chapter 10 bankruptcy in a U.S. court. Its fortunes have declined precipitously since Whitehead’s departure and it never recovered. In 1960 the company went out of business and the production lines closed. The facilities were sold through a combination of public auction and private negotiation in March of 1960.

Coiled gong - a replacement?
Coiled gong – a replacement from an E. N. Welch or a Gilbert.

This 30 hour New Haven Ogee looks good from a distance but closer inspection reveals a number notable issues. The movement appears original to the case and the case is in fair condition having been reconditioned at one time. Although the sides of the clock are veneered, the veneer on the front has been stripped off presumably because there was too much loss/damage. There is also some veneer loss on the top right side. Crude chisel marks on the left front indicate that the veneer in that area might have been more difficult to strip off. Unfortunate, but I have no intention of re-veneering the front. From a distance it still looks good and the casual observer will hardly know the difference.

The coil gong is a replacement and is in a slightly different location than the original gong judging from screw holes to the right. I can only surmise that the original gong somehow broke. This gong is probably from an E. N. Welch or a Gilbert.

New Haven 30 hour movement
New Haven 30 hour movement, back plate
30 hour movement - front plate
30 hour movement – front plate showing factory installed oil cups

There are oil sinks on the front but not the back plate. The sinks on the front plate are stamped by the factory and were made to look like a more expensive clock since most would not see the rear plate. An odd decision by the manufacturer but a common practice.

Side view of 30 hour movement
Side view of 30 hour movement showing count wheel and cam wheel

The plates are pinned (rather than the newer bolts or screws) and there are two solid gear wheels suggesting that it is an earlier version of this particular 30 hour movement. The suspension spring and leader are a replacement as expected given the age of the clock. The pendulum bob is a replacement and so is the dial face.

I took the movement from its case, inspected it for wear and applied clock oil. The clock is running well and does not require immediate servicing.

The clock is a mere reflection of its former self but not unattractive.

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