Ansonia Marquis crystal regulator – a reader’s clock

Ansonia Marquis crystal regulator circa 1904

I asked reader and fellow horologist Bob G. if he could kindly give me permission to profile one of his favorite clocks, an Ansonia Marquis crystal regulator circa 1904. This is a very impressive clock that showcases the best of Victorian style at the turn of the twentieth century.

The photos are Bob’s and I will let them largely speak for themselves. But first some information about the company.

Much has been written about the Ansonia Clock Company. The company’s history can be found here. Formed in 1844 the Ansonia Clock Company had a relatively long life but went into receivership just prior to the infamous stock market crash of 1929. The machinery and dies were sold to a Russian holding company thus ending the long reign of one of Americas best known clock companies.

“…there came an order to supply the Soviet union with men and machines to make watches and clocks, neither of which products ever had been manufactured there. Representatives of Amtorg went to the Ansonia Clock Company in Brooklyn and to the Duber Hampden Watch Company of Canton, Ohio, and bought them lock, stock and barrel. Then they hired most of the skilled employees of the plants to go to Russia and operate the familiar machines. These have been installed in a new, many-windowed building in Moscow, where Russian apprentices are beginning to master the trade.”

An inglorious end to a fine clock-maker. Now to Bob’s clock.

Clock face showing Brocot “open” escapement

Bob writes:

the Ansonia “MARQUIS” crystal regulator mantel clock is an eight-day time and strike with open escapement, jeweled pallets, porcelain dial, thick beveled glass and a brass bezel. The hands and pendulum appear original and it came with an old key which is probably a replacement. There are no hairline cracks or chips that I could see in the dial or the beveled glass. The pendulum is the same as the one shown in the 1904 catalog.

Pendulum bob showing faux mercury in two glass tubes

Ansonia listed the MARQUIS in its 1904 catalog. It may have been produced a couple years either side of that date. The original price in 1904 was a whopping $40.00, not cheap for that time period. $40.00 in 1904 is equivalent in purchasing power to $1107.48 in 2019.

The clock measures 15½ inches high and 7½ inches wide with a 4-inch porcelain dial. The case is listed in the catalog as polished brass, “rich gold” ornaments.

Side view of the Marquis

I purchased this clock as part of a large collection. The owner had passed away, and his grandson was settling the estate. The grandfather had opened a jewelry store and clock shop over 73 years ago and the store is still in operation today.

This clock needed a good cleaning, and the brass was badly tarnished.

Tarnished brass base
After cleaning and polishing

The gold ornaments were left intact to preserve the rich patina.

Ornamental features, the legs and crown

The entire clock was disassembled, and the brass parts were run through an ultrasonic cleaner, then polished.

Back plate, coiled gong and hammer

The movement was also taken apart and cleaned. All the bushings and pivots were in good condition. One of the jeweled pallets needed to be adjusted and reset with shellac.

Trim pieces in place

It took about a week to get this beauty all back together and running again, but it was worth the effort to see it ticking away and keeping great time.

Thank you Bob. A most impressive clock.

The jeweled pallets are made from garnet, a precious stone consisting of a deep red vitreous silicate mineral. Here is an interesting 1905 catalog showing Ansonia’s collection of crystal regulators. Page 24 shows the Marquis with a price increase to $41.80. As Bob pointed out, a hefty price for a clock in its time.


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