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Steve Ham Plastics

Product Design and Process Technologist

 

Antique Timepieces , American Manufacturing, and Clock Dating Chart

 

America's manufacturing expertise found its humble beginnings in the clock Porter Contract ClockworkPorter Contract Clockworkshops of Eli Terry of Plymouth Connecticut during the turn of the nineteenth century. This was such a special time in American history. We were between wars with England. The country's leadership was passed from the founding fathers to their protégés and the two party system was born as a compromise of diverse ideologies. The country was entering a period of prosperity. American society started to become a population of specialists. Trade routes were opening to the western reserve territories as the river and canal systems developed. Eleven states had been added to the Union by 1822.

 

 

 

 

Eli Terry was born a fifth generation American, in 1772. He completed his apprenticeship in 1792 under master clockmaker Daniel Burnap and with influence from Thomas Harland. Terry quickly established himself as the new master for the coming century. Terry began developing clock designs that could be produced for the common family. In 1806 he took on a contact with major retailers, the Porter Brothers, for the unheard of quantity of 4,000 clockworks to be completed in three years. To accomplish this feat several manufacturing milestones were established such as interchangeable components, powered machine tools, and the assembly line method. The photo on the left shows clockworks number 3609 from the Porter contract series. Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley were workers on the project and eventually bought out Eli Terry's clock factory. But Terry envisioned a new kind of clock that would be suited to the newly emerging American market for consumer items. With the profits from the Porter contract, Terry was able to develop a compact shelf clock that could be produced efficiently using his mass production techniques. The result of his research was the pillar and scroll shelf clock. His brother and sons were set-up with factories around the area to mass produce the design. An example is shown on the right. Eli Terry had correctly predicted the market and America's hunger for reliable and compact time keepers. Two more major milestones followed the Terrys' initial success. First was intellectual property enforcement and patent protection of manufactured items. Further, in the coming years, as his licensees used interchangeable components of his design, the purchased parts industry was created. Today we would call these tier two suppliers. In 1825 it was a cottage industry doing business largely by bartering.  Many of the great American clock makers emerged from Terry's shops as graduate apprentices armed with knowledge of advanced manufacturing. As America's taste in styles changed from Empire to Gothic to Victorian, the shelf clock also evolved. Brass plates replaced the wooden works, springs replaced weights, and eventually balance springs replaced pendulums. The vision of Eli Terry was fulfilled as he created the clock industry of Connecticut and thereby the roots of America's manufacturing industry.

 

  

One of the best ways to establish the manufactured date of an early antique clock is to determine the printer of the clock's printed paper label found on the inside backboard.

 

 

 

 

 

At the bottom of the label there is often a "printer's line" or advertisement. The following table is a work in process of my research on many of these printers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Printer Name

Address

City

Dates

Hudson & Goodwin

 

Hartford

1800

H.B.Horton

Times Office

Hartford

1824-1825

P. Cranford

 

Hartford

1828 - 1834 ?

Hudson & Skinner

 

 

1830

Thom. A Woodward

Herald Office

Hartford

1831

Norton & Russell

 

 

1828

James Thruber Printer

 

Tauton

1830+

H. Adams Printer

 

 

1830

Asaph Hall Printer

 

 

<1830

Goodwin & Co.

 

 

> 1830 

Silas Folsom

 

 

1830 -  1831

Folsom & Hurlbert

 

 

1831 - 1832

Joseph Hurlburt

 

 

> 1832

Hulbert & Williams

 

 

1839

Henry Baven's Print

19 Water St

Boston

 

John Greve's & Co.

 

Geneva

1835

Barber & Osburn, Print

 

 

1834

J. M. Earle Printer

Sky Office

Worchester

1838

Brownson & Co.

56 Gold St.

New York

1840

Elihu Greer

26 1/2 State St

Hartford

1839 - 1844

Elihu Greer

26 State St

Hartford

1845 -1846

Elihu Greer

1 State St

Hartford

1847 - 1849

Elihu Greer

10 State St

Hartford

1850 - 1855

Elihu Greer

16 State St

Hartford

1856 - 1864

Elihu Greer

18 State st.

Hartford

> 1865

J. G. Wells

 

 

1843 - 1847

C. E. Moss & Co.

 

 

1844 - 1845

John Benham

36 Grand Ave

New Haven

1840 - 1845

John Benham

55 Church St

 

1846 - 1855

John Benham

Corner of Church & Chapel

 

1856 +  

Francis and Loutrel

 

 

1863

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East SideEast Side

The cantilever design by Jim Fox is all about maximizing the view of Whiteside Mountain from every room in the house.

Whiteside Mountain ViewWhiteside Mountain View

 

The center piece of the great room is a massive rock fireplace which carries the cantilever design elements.

FireplaceFireplace

 

The KiteHouse resembles a kite flying in the ridge top breeze.

KiteHouseKiteHouse

Life on top the ridge. At 4,500 feet, it's always cool and breezy.

South Facing DecksSouth Facing Decks