The Book of American Clocks

The Book of American Clocks

The Book of American Clocks

The Book of American Clocks


The following pages are not intended in any way to be a formal history of American clockmaking. A great deal more research than has yet been attempted remains to be done before such a book can be written. Yet today there is more interest than ever before in American clocks and timepieces. The Kitchen Clock of 1850 is now reverently set on the mantel of the living room after passing years in the attic or barn. With its reestablishment in an honored place in the family circle, there is a natural desire to find out all that can be known about its date, its maker, and its value. And the same is true of great-grandfather's watch, which has turned up in some safety deposit box.

What has been attempted in this book is to establish the known background of clock and watch making in America; to show, by means of the illustrations, the development of the more important types of clocks and watches; and to provide a list of makers with as much information about them as is currently obtainable. Particular attention has been paid in the illustrations to clock movements, because what is inside the clock case is at least as important in dating a clock as the case itself. It is hoped that by a careful examination of the list and the illustrations, any American clock or watch can be identified as to its date and its maker.

To those of us today in search of an interest to take our minds away from the confused present and teach us something of our country's past, there is no pastime which offers such opportunities as the collecting of clocks. Once embarked on it, any number of fascinating questions will arise. For instance, who were the men who printed the old clock labels, and what adhesive did they use to make them stick so well these many years? If the collector is interested in larger questions, did the manufacture of clocks help the brass industry, or was it the other way around?

If this book answers some of the questions which the beginning collector will ask, if it enrolls into the growing list some new collectors, and if in addition it gives to its readers something of the beauty and romance attached to the clocks themselves, the author will feel that he has done his part.


The story of American Timekeeping begins shortly after the separate colonies were settled. Public, or Tower, clocks are mentioned in town records as early as 1650 . . .

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