The Canada Clock Company (Hamilton Clock Co.) – a brief history

If one were to ask those with a keen interest in Canadian antique clocks, the word Pequegnat would immediately come to mind. Pequegnat produced clocks for close to 40 years and left an indelible mark on Canadian culture.

Predating Arthur Pequegnat is a lesser known clock maker (or clock-makers) that made clocks between 1872 and 1884. The Canada Clock Co, and the Hamilton Clock Co. struggled over a 12 year period to put Canada on the clock-making map. In 1872 the Canada Clock Co. established itself in Whitby, Ontario (Canada) but lasted just 4 years before failing, though largely due to a devastating factory fire.

Case is in fair condition, dial face has some flaking
Canada Clock Company cottage clock

Out of the ashes came another attempt in 1876 and key principles including manager John Collins moved to Hamilton and set up the Hamilton Clock Company. After 4 years this new company also failed and production halted in 1880. In late 1880 one more attempt was made to establish a new company called the Canada Clock Company resurrecting the old name. It is still based in Hamilton at the old Hamilton Clock Co. factory. Success was short-lived as the company declared bankruptcy in 1884 ending a dozen years producing clocks for the Canadian market.

Although both movements and cases were made in Canada they were copies American styles
Canada Clock Company, Prince of Wales parlour clock
Canada Clock Company, Prince of Wales parlour clock
Canada Clock Company, City of Hamilton parlour clock
Canada Clock Company, City of Hamilton parlour clock

I have grouped the clocks from the three companies and these are their characteristics. The most common clocks found today are the weight-driven, thirty-hour “Ogee” style, with colourful birds or flowers surrounded by a black background on the glass tablet. At least five different labels are known, four have a beaver on them. The large printed paper label was located inside the case on the lower back. Spring-driven mantel clocks with plain cases were also made with thirty-hour movements. Although both movements and cases were made in Canada they were obvious copies of American styles.

Hamilton Clock Co Gothic steeple clock
Hamilton Clock Co Gothic steeple clock with etched glass tablet
Loss on the clock label
Clock label showing the Hamilton Clock Company factory

Also produced was a spring-driven “school house” wall clock.

At least sixty models of spring-driven mantel clocks are known, with both thirty-hour and eight-day movements.ย ย Most of the door tablets (Canada Clock Co.) have acid etched glass designs, unique to the two Hamilton-based companies and done in association with a local glass factory. Wall clocks are also found with the Canada Clock Company, Hamilton label.

The most desirable clocks are the ornate time and strike parlour clocks such as the City of Hamilton and Prince of Wales pictured above.

Unfortunately, a valiant attempt to grow a home-bred clock company failed miserably. However, the clocks of all three companies are highly sought after by Canadian collectors today.


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