Jerome Rose Cottage clock – a candidate for extreme restoration?

What to do with this cute Jerome & Co. CA 1870 cottage clock?

Published May 2022

I worked on the movement in the spring of 2022 and even at that point I was not sure what to do with the clock case. The tiny movement intrigued me and I wanted to have it running but the case – what a total disaster.

A tiny movement

Chauncey Jerome was a prolific clockmaker and a true pioneer of the early American clock. Despite his success in clock manufacturing from the late 1830s to the early 1850s, a number of poor business decisions led to bankruptcy in 1856, and the assets of the bankrupt Jerome Manufacturing Co. were purchased by the New Haven Clock Co.

The copper wire soldered to the movement is actually a homemade bushing

While Jerome was involved in numerous clock-making activities after his bankruptcy and marketed clocks under his name and label, Jerome & Co. is not one of those. “Jerome & Co.” was a tradename used by the New Haven clock company to cash in on the Jerome name. Chauncey Jerome never oversaw the production of this particular clock. Still, in some eyes, the fact that it is a “Jerome clock” means something.

These clocks were only a dollar or two in their day and nobody expected them to last forever. Given that it was likely made in the 1870s it has certainly had a long life.

The movement was cleaned and the worst holes including the copper wire thingy contraption were bushed.

Black dots indicate new bushings, note the solid wheel in the back of the movement

One look at it would tell anyone that the clock has been through many hands and the case is well worn. In fact, some would consider it one step away from being binned. But I am looking for a challenge and I think this is it.

There are veneer losses on the right side of the case, the bottom corners, and the top left. Most of the “gilt” around the front access door has worn off. There is a large age split on the top-right and the reverse-painted lower tablet has significant losses. It looks very depressing.

Despite numerous issues with the case, the movement is likely original, the hands probably original, and the dial as well though the pendulum bob is a replacement.

There are significant losses on the dial and it will take a bit of work to put it right. The case issues are not unexpected given the age of the clock but it has obviously not had a lot of care over the years

Given the present condition of the clock case, I am curious to see what I can do. One thing I know for certain is that any work on the case will be an improvement. We’ll see what I can come up with.


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