A diminutive schoolhouse clock by Sessions

The Sessions Clock Company of America was one of the leading clock manufacturers in the United States in the early 20th century. Founded in 1903 by William E. Sessions and Aaron Lufkin Dennison in Forestville, Connecticut, the company quickly gained a reputation for producing clocks that were both reliable and affordable.

Over the years, the Sessions Clock Company produced a wide range of clocks, including mantle clocks, and wall clocks, and became known for their innovative designs.

A very popular model was the schoolhouse clock. Schoolhouse wall clocks have a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. Originally used in schools, and other public places, these clocks were designed to be reasonably accurate and reliable timekeepers, with large, easy-to-read dials and distinctive wooden cases with glass-paneled lower access doors showing a moving pendulum.

A comparatively small schoolhouse showing incorrect hands

Over time, schoolhouse clocks became popular in homes and offices, with various manufacturers producing their own versions of the classic design. Today, schoolhouse wall clocks remain a popular choice for those seeking a traditional timepiece and are often seen as a symbol of American craftsmanship and design.

Diminutive clocks were popular in their day because of the lower cost compared to a larger wall clock. This clock is 21 inches high by 13 1/2 inches wide with a 7-inch dial and it is difficult to envision how it could be seen clearly in a large classroom setting but for some school regions, the cost was an important factor. Standard schoolhouse clocks are typically seven to eight inches longer and have 12-inch dials.

Most schoolhouse clocks were designed to display only the time, with no additional features such as a striking mechanism or date displays. This simplicity allowed for a greater focus on reliability, which was essential in public spaces such as schools where good timekeeping and long periods between servicing were crucial.

Shown in the middle with a Waterbury on the right and Sessions on the left, all are time-only clocks

I have had this particular Sessions clock for over a year and it stops from time to time. It likely requires a good cleaning and it is time to put it on the workbench. The case is in excellent condition and I see no need for intervention aside from cleaning with soap and water.

We’ll see what we shall find. I’ll report back in a week or two but this should be a standard servicing job and I am not expecting any surprises.


2 thoughts on “A diminutive schoolhouse clock by Sessions

  1. What a well written and informative piece. Point of clarification – A. L. Dennison (if he was the same Aaron Lufkin Dennison that founded the Boston Watch Company) was long dead by 1903. He died in 1895. i have a Sessions mantle clock. Runs like a top but the strike is messed up and it rings the wrong numbers and at the wrong times. Still a nice clock. My wife bought it at auction for some ridiculously low price like $20.  Steve


    1. Thanks, I will check that out. Regarding your clock, you can move the hour hand to the indicated hour. If it strikes the indicated time on the half-hour simply remove the minute hand and reorient it to the 12 o’clock position. However, if it is doing odd things like striking at the 15 or 45-minute point more or less there are more serious issues with the movement.



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