Sessions Lexington Banjo Clock: 1928

Lexington banjo clock CA. 1927
Lexington banjo clock CA. 1927, as found

Once the Sessions Clock Co acquired E. N. Welch assets in 1902 (for the history of E. N. Welch go here) the company was well on its way to becoming one of the biggest clock producers in America. Production began in 1903 and between that time and 1933 Sessions produced 52 models of mechanical clocks, ranging from Advertisers, large and small clocks with logos of various businesses, to wall, or regulator clocks, and shelf or mantel clocks, designed for the home. Some Session clocks from this period are prized by collectors but most others are of the generic kind that have limited value today.

This spring-driven banjo clock is the Sessions Lexington, made in October 1928 (date stamp on label). It is an 8-day time-only clock. The brass eagle pediment sits atop a 6″ silvered dial with Arabic numerals. The mahogany case has a faux inlay design on the throat with brass side frets and below, a rectangular box with a right swinging door that accommodates the pendulum.

Spring driven banjos such as this Sessions can be had for very little money and they are not considered desirable by some collectors but I like the simplicity of this one

I found this clock in an antique store in picturesque Hallowell, Maine.

Clock face showing Arabic numerals
Clock face showing Arabic numerals and some wear consistent with age

The panel has a card stock image of a vessel in full sail. Although not unattractive, card stock images were cheaper to produce than reverse painted tablets. The clock is 26 inches in height and 8 3/4 inches wide.

Lower trunk with pendulum

It is attractive, runs very well and keeps good time. My wife and I have decided to make it our bedroom clock. Though it is a loud ticker it has no strike side to keep us awake. Some might not agree but a ticking clock in a bedroom is very soothing.

8-day time only movement

I have had a opportunity to inspect the movement closely and discovered gunky black oil in several pivot holes and one enlarged pivot hole, rear plate escape wheel. It was the only evidence of wear that I could see. Otherwise, the pivots and lantern pinions were in excellent shape.

It was a quick fix. I disassembled the movement, put the parts into my ultrasonic cleaner, rinsed and dried them and installed a bushing using my Bergeon bushing machine. I assembled the movement, oiled it and returned it to its case without testing. Time-only movements are the simplest to work on and it is rare that a problem is encountered.

Inspection of the time-only movement

While I was at it I cleaned the case with Murphy’s soap, gave the frets and dial bezel a Brasso polish and applied a fresh coat of shellac to the wood surfaces.

Clock throat showing faux inlay
Clock throat showing faux inlay
Cleaned, spruced up and servicing completed

The small changes brightened up the appearance. Spring driven banjos such as this Sessions can be had for very little money and they are not considered desirable by some collectors but I like the simplicity of this one.


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