E Ingraham Mystic parlour clock servicing

E. Ingraham Mystic

This E. Ingraham & Co. clock is a garden variety parlour clock. There is nothing special about it but among parlour clocks, it has nice lines and reflects a more conservative approach to clock designs of the late 19th century. It is an 8-day time and strike clock purchased from a local antique store in the spring of 2019. I have recently serviced a number of clocks in preparation for sale and I also considered selling this one. While I am not in the business of selling clocks I will let go of the odd one to keep my collection manageable. My wife feels that it is a keeper though and I agree.

This was a running clock before I took it apart and my goal is to give it a good cleaning and address wear issues

Stamped in the middle of the front plate is “E Ingraham Co patent date Oct 8, 78 Nov 11, 79, Bristol Conn.” On the inside floor below the pendulum, it is stamped “Manufactured by the E. Ingraham & Co, Bristol Conn”. It was not a common practice to stamp the inside floor but it is an interesting feature.

E Ingraham parlour clock with Swigart dial

Tran Duy Ly’s book on Ingraham clocks shows this model, the Mystic, from the 1897 catalogue. The clock sold new for $6.50. Although found in the 1897 catalogue it might have been made some years earlier. Two numbers are neatly etched into the lower right-hand side of the front plate and they are H25,915 and H27,475. They look like service dates, Sept 1915 and April 1975.

There is a stylized “S” logo on the dial face. Some might mistakenly take it for a Sessions clock. The dial is a replacement made by E&J Swigart, a supplier of replacement dials along with other clock and watch supplies. Swigart went out of business in October of 1992. 1972 was the last year they made reproduction clock dials and this appears to roughly coincide with the 1975 service date.

Assessment of the movement

I have worked on a number of Ingraham movements, some with helper springs and some without. It looks to me that helper springs were added, which is not a bad thing and they will stay on the movement. Installing helper springs to ensure levers drop as they should is not an uncommon practice.

Normally these old movements are in varying degrees of wear and quite often there are punch marks around almost every pivot hole plus they are very dirty. This movement has had 13 bushings installed and is surprisingly clean for its age.

This was a running clock before I took it apart and my goal is to give it a good cleaning and address wear issues along the way. It might require some intervention but my first impression is that it looks very good.

Ingraham Mystic
Ingraham Mystic

I found a bent second wheel pivot on the strike side. Before blaming a previous repair it is possible that I was the culprit. Both mainsprings were clamped to restrain their power but when I removed the top plate a wheel sprung out from the strike side. Evidently, the strike side mainspring still had residual power remaining and might have bent the pivot. It was easily straightened.

The main and second wheels on both sides are inscribed for location, so, that is helpful. The strike side mainspring arbour hook has been repaired although the pin is loose and had to be secured. It also appears both mainsprings are replacements. The warning wheel lantern pinion shroud has also been repaired. The clutch on the motion works looks like a repair but I have seen at least one other Ingraham like it, so, I’m not sure.

Ingraham Mystic
Ingraham Mystic, warning wheel with additional punch marks
Ingraham Mystic
Ingraham Mystic, motion works clutch

This clock has had a lot of attention and has led an easy life. The repairs are neat and tidy and appear professionally done.

But there is some wear. The clock requires bushings on both the time side and the strike side. One on the time side and 3 on the strike side, one new, and 3 replacement bushings.

Reassembly and testing

The third wheel on the strike side is a combined locking and pin wheel with 2 locking pins and 2 hammer pins. There is no cam on this arbor, unlike many other American movements. The spaces between the pins allow for the drop lever to descend.

The count wheel is advanced by two protruding pins on the third wheel lantern shroud. It is necessary to ensure that the count wheel is firmly in place, not loose but not too tight, so the third wheel pins can advance the count. The warning wheel is set about half a revolution to set up the strike. During reassembly one of the two lock pins is placed on the locking lever, the end of which has a hook. This is to permit the count lever to go into one of the deep slots.

Since I have worked on a couple of Ingraham movements in the last month there was no need to separate the plates to make additional adjustments.

Unlike earlier Ingraham movements that have no passing strike on the half-hour, this has one.

It is on the test stand and I will let it run for a cycle or two before returning it to its case.

Ingraham Mystic
Ingraham Mystic on the test stand, beat amplifier attached

It’s really nice to work on a clock that has been so obviously well cared for. It will look great and run well though the only item that detracts from the clock is the Swigart replacement dial.

2 thoughts on “E Ingraham Mystic parlour clock servicing

  1. The “clutch” as you call it on these models is made this way as an extra design feature that lets you be able to turn the hands backwards to set the time. The trip wire will catch on the strike levers, but then instead of binding around the 50 minute mark, it will sort of just ratchet over. It is made to catch and hold in the going direction only (to trip the strike). It’s a cool feature, but to a collectors like myself (and possibly you), I always forget which clock this was on, and most other gingerbread clocks can’t be turned backwards.


    1. It is hard to remember which clocks can be turned backwards and which are forward only. It would be prudent to establish the general rule that hands should not be be turned backwards.


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