New Haven Clock Company a Most Prolific Operation

This pine and Rosewood-veneer clock with a painted glass door is a typical New Haven Clock Company cottage clock.

This pine and Rosewood-veneer clock with a painted glass door is a typical New Haven Clock Company cottage clock.

The New Haven Clock Company was one of the most prolific of the early American New England clock companies. Some indication of the range and scope of their production is that auction listings over the years indicate more than 300 different models were produced , including shelf clocks, clocks with china cases, figural clocks and even longcase clocks. The example above is what most people think of when describing a New Haven cottage clock. The late 19th-century piece constructed of pine and faced with a Rosewood veneer and painted glass door. Values for them vary considerably as they were made for virtually every income range, and the values today depend mainly on the complexity of the design of the case work.

Incorporated Feb. 7, 1853, the New Haven Clock Company was formed by clockmaker Hiram Camp and others to supply clock movements to the Jerome Manufacturing Company, then the largest clock-making operation in the world. Three years later, the Jerome firm went bankrupt and in April of 1856 the New Haven Clock Company raised an additional $20,000 and purchased the Jerome operation.

By 1860, the firm employed 300 men and 15 women and was producing about 170,000 clocks a year. In 1866, the old Jerome factory was destroyed by fire, but a new brick factory was soon built. Its working force had increased to 460 men, 52 women and 88 children by 1880, and nearly half a million dollars worth of clocks were produced that year. Non jeweled pocket watches were added to the line that year and were offered until the 1950s.

By the 1950s the company’s glory days were long behind it and in 1956 it was reorganized under the Bankruptcy Act, but to no avail. By 1960 the operation ceased and the clock manufacturing facilities were sold on March 22 24, 1960 at public auction and by private negotiation.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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