Category Archives: History

We have a very large library of books, pamphlets, catalogs and other research materials to put together a history of most manufacturers of antique and modern clocks. If you have a question about a clock, please send several close-up, clear pictures of the clock, the glass, the dial (face), and any labels or papers in the clock. We will do our best to give you a little history of the origin of your clock.

An Interesting History of a Hapden Ladies Watch

I recently received this letter from a family friend in Colorado Springs, CO.

It is an interesting look back into time to the early 20th century and a look into the history of a woman’s watch.  The following is his letter and a news account from The Roanoke Times.

From the Roanoke Times:

In the latter part of 1911, a new school was built In the Cave Springs District.  The son of Charlie and Pattie would attend this school.  The school opened in January of 1912 with Miss Chambers and Miss Turner as teachers.

The Raines family lived in a home close by. Miss Chambers arranged to board with this family during the school year.  At the beginning of the new school session, Mr. and Mrs. Raines circulated a petition asking that Miss Chambers be replaced as teacher.  After an investigation, the school board told Mrs. Raines that she would have to bring specific charges against Miss Chambers before they could decide a course of action.

At some time during this period, Miss Chambers left the Raines home and went to board with Charlie and Pattie.

At some time during this period, Miss Chambers left the Raines home and went to board with Charlie and Pattie.

After this happened, some people said that Mrs. Raines was telling things that were derogatory about Miss Chambers.  Therefore, Miss Chambers filed a suit against Mrs. Raines for slander.  Papers were served against Mr. and Mrs. Raines.

According to testimony and news reports, Miss Chambers was on her way to school when Raines caught up to her and he asked her to drop the suit.  When Miss Chambers refused; Mr. Raines shot her.  She died from the wounds a short time later.

After shooting Miss Chambers, Raines went to Laprade’s barn where Charlie was loading hay.  He fired five shots at Charlie, wounding him slightly in the arm.

While all this was going on, Pattie was at her home.  Someone came by and told her that Raines was at the Laprade barn shooting at Charlie. She immediately went to the barn and asked Raines why he was shooting at Charlie.  She also told him that Charlie had been sick and that shooting at him was not good for his health.  She continued to scold him until he asked her “if she wanted one too.”

She continued to scold him until he asked her “if she wanted one too.”

“One what?” Pattie asked.
“A pill (meaning bullet)”, Raines answered.
“No indeed, I don’t want one!” said Pattie.​

Raines talked to her for awhile, got on his horse, went home, and then passed Pattie as he headed toward Salem to surrender to the sheriff.

Raines was tried and convicted of murder for which he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.  He did not have to serve the full sentence time.

The following is from Charlie and Patties’ grandson, Charlie:

I think he served about 8 years. After his release, grandma was working in the garden one day, when Raines stopped by.  He said he had come to apologize, but grandma would not let him go near Charlie.

When Miss Chambers moved in with Pattie and Charles, she told Pattie she did not have the money to pay the $15 per month room and board.  She asked Pattie if she would take her watch as collateral and keep it until she could pay the rent and them redeem the watch.  Pattie agreed to that for her.  When Miss Chambers was murdered, Pattie wrote two letters to her family asking them to come and get her personal things, including the watch. Pattie never heard from them.  She finally disposed of Miss Chambers property, but kept the watch.

In 1962, when her grandson, Charles, returned from Alaska, Pattie gave the watch to Charles. She told him to find some nice lady that would care for it.  Charles’ wife did not want anything to do with the watch due to its history.  Charlie gave the watch to a lady friend in 2020.

Figure 4: 1912 Hapden ladies watch dial

Pattie always thought the watch was presented to Miss Chambers by her family when she finished two years at the local teachers’ college.


Charlie Day       4-29-2020

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Ingraham 1915 “Vicar” Black Mantel Clock Restoration

I recently finished a complete restoration of a 1915 Ingraham “Vicar” black mantel clock.  My customer said he remembered the clock on his grandmother’s mantel in the mid 1940’s over a coal grate.  The clock was later rescued from her basement after her death. The first 2 pictures show the condition of the wood case as I received it.

The clock was missing the case back, pendulum and the decorative gold painted lead tassels on the side.  One of the columns was missing and the other column was badly deteriorated. I was able to find and obtain a different Ingraham model that still had the missing tassels and pendulum.  I will admit, it was a lucky find. I totally disassembled the case, sanded the wood pieces, primed the pieces and then applied several coats of high gloss black lacquer. As a protective coat to the lacquer, 2 coats of high gloss polyurethane were applied.  

1915 Ingraham “VICAR”

The red marble is several layers of different colors of paint on wood.  The finish was crazed or crackled from age. I carefully sanded off the crazed clear finish and applied several coats of high gloss polyurethane.

All the lead parts (side decorations with tassels, legs and column pedestals) were cleaned with soap and water.  Two coats of a metallic gold paint were then applied and once again coated with two coats of polyurethane.

The columns were the next challenge.  I have successfully reproduced the look of the original columns by using wood dowels covered with a specially printed pattern on vinyl.  The clock owner said he had seen custom ballpoint pens made from marble. After some research, I found that custom pens are made from square acrylic blanks with marble dust dispersed throughout.  The blanks are turned in a lathe to produce the pens. I was able to obtain the blacks from an online supplier. I soon realized that my jewelers’ lathe was not large enough to turn the blanks. I have a grandfather clock customer who turns custom ballpoint pens.  It took him about an hour to turn two columns for me. The great part of this experience was that he did not mind that I watched. It’s always great to watch a master working his craft.

The gold inlays and decorations around the dial were placed on the case with a round fingernail polish applicator and gold paint before the application of the polyurethane.  The brass bezel was hand polished and a new two-piece wood back was made and painted to match the rest of the case. The entire clock was then reassembled. Ingraham engineered the production of their black mantel clocks to be finished with a baked high gloss enamel finish before the cases were assembled.  The clock was held together with cut nails and wood screws. I used the original nails and screws to reassemble the case.

The clock movement was just a normal movement restoration that I do daily.

The clock now lives on the credenza in my customer’s office next to a bust of President Lincoln, ready to mark the minutes and hours of the next 100 years.

Restored 1915 Ingraham “VICAR”
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One Of A Kind Masonic Clock

img-190403131827-2When I was growing up in Sylvania, Ohio in the 1960’s, my dad collected clocks and played drums in a popular quartet in the Toledo area.  The guitar player in his group was named Bill Barker, maker of handcrafted guitars.  In 1967, my dad’s stepfather, Harold E. Gordon (or H. E. as we called him), was celebrating his 51st year in the Masons.  Dad thought the occasion deserved a commemorative clock.img-190403131827-3

I remember my dad taking a trip to Schmitt’s antiques in Ypsilanti, MI to purchase a Vienna regulator movement, dial and pendulum for the special clock. He then spent several evenings at the dining room table, drawing up several plans and finally deciding on the final design for the clock.

Dad and I took a trip to Fostoria, Ohio one Saturday morning to a lumber yard that had raw live edge lumber.  After looking through what I thought was endless raw lumber (remember I was 11 years old), dad picked out some live edge walnut boards with good heartwood.
Craft Products, in St. Charles, Illinois, sold numerous accessories and plans to build clocks.   They also sold wood veneer inlays.  A masonic wood inlay was purchased.  Now all the pieces were ready to be assembled.

img-190403131827-1 So, now we are back to Bill Barker.  Dad had arranged to build the clock in Bill’s shop on Central Avenue in Toledo.  It was my first visit to a master craftsman’s workshop.  I was impressed by the guitars in various stages of production.  I also remember tiny wood planes that would take minute shavings of wood with each pass and very small tuning forks that Bill used in the production of his guitar bodies. I asked him if he still had the first guitar he made.  He reached up on the wall and handed the first Barker guitar to me.  I was an impressed 11-year-old.  He then told me that there were too many imperfections in the guitar to ever let anyone play it.  This may have been my first exposure to a true perfectionist.

I learned about woodworking over that Saturday and Sunday.  We planed the lumber, made templets, measured and remeasured.  The clock was coming together.  The door was cut out of the walnut and routed for the glass and the decorative curve around the glass.  Moldings were made for the top and of the case, a recess was made to install the masonic inlay.  Sanding, lots of sanding.  The movement, from an 1864 time only Vienna regulator, was fitted into the case.  The case was then disassembled and finished with Deft satin finish.  I mention the finishing product (Deft) only because I still use it in clock restoration today.  Deft was available in every hardware store until the big box hardware stores and internet put most of the mom and pop hardware stores out of business.  It is now only available through internet stores like Amazon.  The clock was completed over the next few weeks.

My grandfathIMG_8090 (1)er lived about 30 miles north of Cairo, Illinois in a small agricultural town named Anna.  The clock hung in the house that H.E. built on E. Heacock Street from 1967 until his death in the early 80’s.  The clock then hung in my father’s home in Hilliard, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus) until he retired in 2004.  The clock then moved with dad to Sun City West, Arizona.  Dad died in September of 2007.  In June of 2009, I came in from working clock service calls to a large box that had been delivered by UPS.  This is not an extraordinary event as clocks are shipped to me for repair and restoration all the time. To my surprise, my stepmother, Joan, had shipped the masonic clock to me.  It has hung in my family room ever since.   Although to a collector, the clock has little value, it is one of the most prized clocks in my collection.

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Sessions Kitchen Clock – Before and After


Several months ago, a customer asked if I could restore a clock he found in his Father’s farm house in central Illinois. He remembered the clock from his childhood. The case was in very bad shape. The wood was dry and the finish was cracked. The clock probably sat on a shelf in the kitchen, next to a wood or coal burning cook stove for years. The glass in the door was gone and the pendulum had been cut down both sides. This would have raised the center of gravity of the pendulum allowing the clock to run faster.


AfterThe case was so dried out that it actually fell apart. The old finish was stripped off and some warping of the wood top was taken out. The case was finished, glued back together, new glass, dial, and a new pendulum was installed. The movement was overhauled and tested. Shown below are the before and after pictures of the clock.

Greg Davis – Owner

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Fantastic Find

My father (Boyd Davis) collected clocks all his life, a passion that I seem to have inherited. In 1971, my father and mother opened a clock retail store in Columbus , Ohio (The House of Clocks on Lane Ave). Since I was a junior in high school when the store opened, I’ve never been sure if the store was part of his love for clocks or set up as a second income for the family, or both.

My father had a retired jeweler that did trade work for him. In November 1974, the retired jeweler brought in a box full of clock case and movement parts he had been storing in his attic. He gave it to my father saying “I don’t know exactly what this is, but I’m sure it’s American. I’m sure it’s something special and I want you to have it”. My father offered to buy the box for $50, which was quickly refused. Since the store was busy, the box was placed on a shelf in the back room.

Just before Christmas, my father cleared a table in the back room, took the box down and proceeded to examined it, placing the pieces of the box into position on the table. The clock was totally apart, since all the glue joins had come apart, but it was all there. Much to my father’s surprise, he slowly laid out a complete J. C. Brown Acorn clock (case, movement, fusee mechanism and tablet). The clock was totally restored by father over the next several months.

My father, being one of the most honest men I ever knew, gave the gentleman 3 new Colonial grandfather clocks of his choosing, as payment for the clock. One for each of his grown daughters for Christmas; however, he refused the fourth clock that my father offered to place in his home.


The clock held a very prominent and prestigious place in my mother and father’s home for several years. It was the star of his collection. My father and mother divorced in 1980 after 27 years of marriage. The clock collection was sold, along with other possessions, to settle the divorce. I often wonder who is now showing off this magnificent sample of American clock making history in their collection. I can only hope it is admired as much as my father admired it.

Greg Davis

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1807 – Affordiable clocks for the masses

In  Eli Terry entered into a contract with 2 other men to manufacture 4000 clock movements with dials, hands, weights, and pendulums in a 4 year period. This in clock circles is known as the Porter Contract. In 1806 Terry bought a sawmill that used water power in Plymouth CT. He then hired laborers with specific abilities to produce the various pieces of the clocks, to an accuracy that made the parts interchangeable. One of the first in America to accomplish interchangeable mass produced parts for a product. The fact that the parts were made and assembled by skilled craftsmen, kept the cost down and allowed a much greater production volume, way more than 1 clockmaker could accomplish by himself. Thus was started, in this country, a new business of mass producing clocks, which brought the cost of a clock down to where the masses could afford them. Clocks were no longer for just the aristocrats. Apprenticing with Eli Terry at this time was Seth Thomas and Silas. Hoadley, who both went on to be noted American clockmakers. In my career of over 40 years, I have had the pleasure of restoring several of the now 210 year old all wood movements.

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