Can this gingerbread clock made by E. Ingraham be saved? Possibly, but this clock is destined to become a parts clock and I will explain why in this post. In the spring of this year (2022) 4 clocks were bought at auction. I can save three of them but not this one.
Gingerbread clocks often called “kitchen clocks”, were introduced after the American Civil War and remained popular until the end of World War I.
The term is derived from the tradition of making decorated gingerbread houses which began in Germany in the early 1800s. The broad application of the gingerbread style applied to almost anything including clocks.
The gingerbread design is polarizing. Collectors either love them or hate them. I am not particularly fond of the design generally, with certain exceptions, but I can see how some collectors are attracted to the style.
The cases were steam-pressed oak and occasionally other hardwoods were used. Various designs were pressed by a heat-bond process which was quite advanced for the time. It was a time-saver, spectacular designs were pressed within seconds and it saved on labour costs. Hundreds of thousands of these steam-pressed oak-cased clocks were made and all are now well over 100+ years old.
So, what is off putting about this clock?
It came with no glass and to me that is the deciding factor. I do not have the time or inclination to look for an appropriate tablet for this clock and obtaining one will not increase its value appreciably will not make it more desirable.
The case may look good but the auction photo does not tell the entire story. There are newer screws and nails in various places in the rear of the case that were used to keep the case from falling apart and not a very professional job at that. It would have to be taken apart and re-glued.
On top of everything I don’t like this clock enough to spend any time on it.
I can use the dial for a Sessions clock I am working on and will keep the case, harvesting what wood I need for future projects.
I will inspect the movement and if things look good, service it and sell it separately.
Call this an obituary. The reality is this clock has been around for over 100 years, has served its purpose and has now come to the end of its life.