Seth Thomas round top shelf clock – simplicity is its strongest suit

Ah, the days when clock companies put a little time and effort into their designs. The Seth Thomas company, in its heyday, produced many attractive clocks and this eight-day shelf clock is one of the finest examples of the 1870s.

Seth Thomas round top
Seth Thomas round top

It is a rather 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. I have seen some with clear glass but I believe the original design called for mirrored glass.

The grain is bold and striking. A sliver of veneer between the 9 and 12 o’clock position of the bezel which was missing when I bought the clock in 2019 has been repaired.

Veneer missing – before the repair

And after the veneer repair.

After veneer repair

Unique stylized hands with “S” on the minute hand and “T” on the hour hand give the clock the look of distinction.

A characteristic feature of the clock is a very attractive lyre 8-day Plymouth time and strike spring-driven movement on a bell gong with alarm. It looks like it is literally stuffed into the case but once the wood dial mount is removed it reveals just enough operating space for this movement which was obviously designed to be placed in a large variety of clock cases.

Side view of the case
Top view

The movement is die stamped “S. Thomas, Plymouth Conn.”. It is fitted with Geneva stops (stop-works) to improve timekeeping. It is nice to see stop works on clocks since they are often missing.

The plates are held together with taper pins rather than screws. The alarm mechanism is located just below the movement and to the left with the alarm adjustment wheel on the center cannon as was common in those days. Both the alarm and the movement strike an iron bell gong. The movement is mounted on the back of the case by means of wooden blocks top and bottom.

Back panel

To remove the movement from its case the rear panel must be unscrewed.

A good label is affixed inside the case and at the top, ”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.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful clocks in my collection.


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