Clockmaking in Connecticut
Q. I have two of these antique clocks. Can you please tell me their approximate value?
A. Your clocks were made by the New England Clock Company which was formed in 1956 in Farmington, Connecticut but had much earlier origins. The company originated as Forestville Manufacturing (which went bankrupt in 1860). It then was purchased by E.N. Welsh in 1864 until 1903 when it was sold again and renamed the Sessions Clock Company. The company was largely successful up until World War II. Due to the war and technology developments they stopped making mechanical clocks and mostly made electric alarm clocks. In 1956 Sessions Clock Company was sold and eventually reorganized as The New England Clock Company in Farmington. They made antique reproduction clocks and did quite well in the 1960’s-1970’s when there was a surge in interest in colonial furniture.
Unfortunately, when this tide turned they limped along until around 2000 when they formerly went out of business.
Connecticut is the where clockmaking in the United States began. During the early days of the colonies, all brass works came from England. The cabinets and clock construction could be done here but the British demanded that the brass clock works had to come from Europe. Clocks were expensive and those made in the colonies typically had wood workings. Much of the soil in the Naugatuck River Valley was not ideal for farming but there was water power and the ingredients for making tin and brass. Skilled workers from Europe moved to the area in the late eighteenth century and these industries flourished and led to Connecticut becoming a center for brass production and clockmaking. The small city of Waterbury was once called the “Brass Capital of the World”.
These type of clocks are referred to as “steeple” clocks. This style falls under the category of “Gothic Revival” which was most popular between 1830-1860 and is also considered “Victorian”. Steeple clocks are primarily American.
Your clocks are “Eight Day Spring Wound Pendulum” clocks which means they only need to be wound once a week. The clocks are model #212C and were likely made in 1967 as per what is printed on the back side of your clock.
Clocks like yours that have been serviced and in good working condition sell at retail for around $300 each. At auction they sell between $75 and $150.
Karen Waterman is a fine art, antique furniture and decorative arts appraiser in the East Bay area and will answer as many questions regarding your “hidden treasures” as possible. By email with a question you give full permission for use in the column. Names, addresses or e-mail will not be published Send e-mails (digital photos preferred ) to email@example.com.