Seth Thomas round top cottage clock

Seth Thomas round top shelf clock

Among the most respected American clockmakers is the Seth Thomas Clock Co. In my collection are 6 Seth Thomas clocks representing several styles all of which are unique representing the period between 1865 and 1930.

I acquired this clock at the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors conference in Springfield Ma. in June of 2019.

It is a large round top shelf clock measuring 15 inches in height, 10 inches wide at the base and 4 inches deep. The attractive Rosewood veneered case has a mirrored rectangular lower tablet. The grain is bold and nicely textured. A sliver of veneer is missing between the 9 and 12 o’clock position of the bezel which, in my view, is repairable. My wife did not notice this until I pointed it out.

8-day Lyre movement in its case
8-day Lyre movement in its case

A distinctive feature is a lyre 8-day Plymouth time and strike spring-driven movement on a bell gong with alarm. The movement is die stamped “S. Thomas, Plymouth Conn.”. The movement is fitted with Geneva stops (stop-works) to improve timekeeping. It is a large movement fitted into a relatively small space. There are factory oil cups for the front bushings but not the back. The plates are held together with taper pins rather than screws. The alarm mechanism, which has a broken spring, is located just below the movement and to the left with alarm adjustment wheel on the centre cannon. Both the alarm and the movement strike on an iron bell gong. The movement is mounted on the back of the case by means of wood blocks top and bottom. To remove the movement from its case the rear panel must be unscrewed.

Alarm mechanism and label
Alarm mechanism and label

Seth Thomas would have used Plymouth die -tamped movements through to the 1870s. Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut became the town of Thomaston in 1865. This clock would be from about 1870. The type 89 movement later superseded the lyre movement became the standard for Seth Thomas shelf and mantel clocks.

Dial restored by Frank Machera, Pleasantville New York

The dial looks new and is, in fact, the work of well-known dial restorer, Frank Machera from 1995.

A good label is affixed inside the case and at the top it says ”Spring Brass Eight Day Clocks”, “Made and Sold by Seth Thomas, Thomaston, Connecticut”. The label is largely intact save for a small piece missing in the lower right corner and slight water staining on the bottom quarter.

8-day Lyre movement
8-day Lyre movement with Geneva stops

The Roman numeral dial with Seth Thomas logo, appropriate to the style of the clock, is a recent addition. The original dial would have been slightly wider in diameter as the minute hand extends well beyond the chapter ring. The Seth Thomas “S” minute hand and “T” hour hand is a distinctive touch and likely original.

The movement runs well. A thorough cleaning and addressing the broken alarm spring should bring this clock back to its former glory.


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