Collecting Victorian-Era Clocks

by John Werry on August 10, 2008

ansonia marble clock victorian Collecting Victorian Era Clocks

The world of Victorian antique furniture seems a bit slow right now so I thought I’d post a bit about another niche of collecting – clocks. To be honest, I use these clocks more for effect than for timekeeping. Who wants to wind a clock every week for the rest of your life, let alone several of them? If you are decorating substantially in the Victorian era, it only makes sense to have a few of these punctuating the room.

I haven’t spend a mint on them as most of my “good” ones were inherited and the rest were auction bycatch.

The above alabaster mantel clock is made by Ansonia around 1895 and has a pair of matching candelabra. I recently had it serviced and it is working well again. It has probably been in my family since new.

victorian marble clock Collecting Victorian Era Clocks

Another of my hand-me-downs is this unusual Civil War clock in the form of a drum hanging in a tripod of rifles. It has the original bugle dangling separately.

civil war clock Collecting Victorian Era Clocks

And who hasn’t had one of these? A mass-produced Walnut clock in the Eastlake style. Probably would not keep time very well so I have not put it into operation.

victorian mantle clock Collecting Victorian Era Clocks

Anyway, that’s a brief tour of a few of my clocks and if you’re looking to learn more about clocks of the era, especially those of better quality than those above, the book, “Victorian Clocks“, by Richard Good is a good one, though it will mostly address English clocks from the period. “The Standard Antique Clock Value Guide” by Alex Wescot will help you price and identify more of the mainstream period clocks.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill August 10, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Hello,
Whenever I watch a movie or plot set in the Victorian era, in addition to furniture, I always notice and look for clocks on mantles or clocks hung on the wall to see if they are correct for the period. Kind of a quirk I have I suppose. Thank you for your article on clocks from the Victorian era.

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RareVictorian August 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Bill,

I agree. I have a habit of examining the room and temporarily ignoring the actors for each scene change to make sure they got it right. I’d like to get a list of Victorian-era movies outlined on this site somewhere, maybe the forum.

One of the site-visitors, don’t remember who, stated that one of their favorite movies was the Ghost and Mrs. Chicken starring Don Knotts. I picked it up recently on their suggestion.

As he was one of my favorites as a child, I doubly enjoyed watching it for Don Knotts and watching the furniture and for the Victorian house.

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woodwright August 11, 2008 at 2:31 am

I agree with the movie idea 100%. We’ve watched a lot of movies for the architecture, furniture and set alone – if it’s a good movie – that’s bonus. I’d love to see a place where members could post movies that have great sets. It would really be great/ helpful if somehow other members could also give their opinion/ rating of them to help decide which ones to watch.

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zeke August 11, 2008 at 11:01 pm

As a young boy growing up in the 50s I spent a lot of time in my Grandparents old fashioned grocery store which was right next door to my house. On the wall hung a very generic, garden variety school regulator that my grandfather kept wound and always had the right time on it. Once golden oak it was darkened to an almost ebony finish from all the cigar smoke from the men who used to sit around the potbelly stove in the middle of the store. My grandfather taught me how to tell time on that old clock, when the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 8 you have to go home little zekie!

When my grandparents passed away and the house went up for sale I asked my mother if I could have the clock. It hung in my room for all the years I lived at home and now resides in my own home. Grandpa told me it was given to him by Royal Crown Cola with the stipulation that he hang a Royal Crown Cola calendar from it. On the bottom of the clock is about 50 thumbtack holes as a testament to all the Royal Crown calenders that the soda company brought in each year and my grandfather dutifully hung on it.

It’s just the type of clock you see in just about every antique store selling for about $300. I would never even give it a second glance, let alone buy it and it’s hardly even Victorian, but it has special significance to me. It’s the clock my grandfather taught me how to tell time on and it’s priceless to me.

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j285/zekenstein/IMG_1352.jpg

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RareVictorian August 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Great story, Zeke. If I run across a Royal Crown Cola calendar I’ll let you know.

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RareVictorian August 12, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Actually there is a 1950 Royal Crown calendar on Ebay right now. I think you need to win it and tack it on your clock.

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misslilybart August 13, 2008 at 3:16 pm

We have a few clocks as well, one of my favorites being the clock pictured with the photo of Oscar Wilde on this page: http://mason-wolf.com/aesthetic/aesthetic_03.htm

And yes, a discussion of films with 19th century settings would be most enjoyable, especially if it includes critique of appropriateness and accuracy.

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Rick Lutz June 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

Dear John,
I have the same Ansonia Alabaster Clock. Please tell me the value – I have no candleabra.
Thank you in advance,
Rick

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John Werry June 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Probably $200-$300 for the clock.

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Sally Frame May 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Dear Mr Werry,
I have a marble clock that I would like someone to research and tell me about.
It sat on my parents bookshelf for 60 years. They married in 1942.
Would you help me if I send you a photo?
Sally

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John Werry June 4, 2014 at 10:24 am

Sally, not really a clock expert.

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