Martins antique mantel clock Collection

European Antique Mantel Clock Collection

Antique mantel clock: French - Antique mantel clock: French alarm - Antique mantel clock: Junghans - Antique mantel clock: Teutonia - Antique mantel clock: British Savings

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I collect small antique mantel clocks - often called "shelf" clocks in the United States.

Occassionaly I have bought what I thought was an American antique mantel clock but then upon careful examination found it to be a "forgery" - made in Europe!

So here are two 19C German antique mantel clocks, probably produced to emulate the extremely popular American clocks and two interesting French mantel clocks.

I also have something quite uncommon and interesting: a "Money Saver" English antique mantel clock.

I like to think about the history these clocks have been through - for example here you will see a mantel clock whose owner, because of world events, was clearly ashamed of its origins!

antique mantel clock (with alarm): Red Star: German?: 1870’s?

Red Star antique mantel clock: alarm: German?: 1870’s

This is an interesting mantel clock: at first glance it appears to be one of the thousands (millions?) of little "shelf" clocks produced in America in the latter half of the 19C - right down to a label showing a pair of eagles sitting on flags draped over clocks bearing the maxim "Time is money"! Witten in red above the eagles are the words "EPLURIBUS UNUM" with a plethora of little red stars. However the main trademark on the label is a large red star with a large "J" in it. I suspect this is in fact a German (Junghans? Black Forest?) mantel clock trying to pass itself off as one of the then very popular American shelf clocks!

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antique mantel clock (with alarm): Teutonia Clock Manufactory: German: 1870’s?

Teutonia Clock Manufactory (sic) antique mantel clock: German: 1870’s?

An interesting aspect to this mantel clock is that the label behind the pendulum has been defaced- all words have been scratched from the paper. I think this is itself an historical artifact... it was common amongst the British at the time of the First World War to attempt to erase signs of German influence from everyday life (I've heard of dachshund dogs being shot in the street!): I expect that the owner of this mantel clock was "ashamed" of its German origins so scratched off the words. I have managed to find a copy of the label- the words erased are "Uhrenfabrik Teutonia", "Made in Germany" and "Schutzmarke". See the labels here. This label was introduced for clocks destined for America after The McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 required the place of manufacture to be stated (the Act was introduced to protect American industries from imports). This label replaced a label (registered on 20th June 1876 at St. Georgen by Phillipp Haas und Sohne) bearing the words, in English, "TEUTONIA CLOCK MANUFACTORY", "TRADE MARK" and "Warranted". It could be that the earlier English version was still used after this Act for clocks destined for England.

If anyone can shed further light on the dating of this antique mantel clock I would be very grateful!

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antique mantel clock: French: 1920’s?

Antique Mantel clock: French: 1920’s?

I got this antique mantel clock very cheaply in a junk shop in France. It is set in marble and came with two other pieces which could be bookends. The grey marble base was longer, but as one end was damaged I had it cut to even things up. There are no markings on the outside of the clock other than "R" and "A" for regulation. On the movements itself there is only the letter "G". I like the "art deco" style of this mantel clock. Although it runs fine, I am unable to make this clock keep good time.

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antique mantel clock: alarm: French: 1930’s?

Antique Mantel clock: alarm: French: 1930’s?

Bought in a "vide grenier in France. This little mantel clock was used to promote beer - as the words on the face make clear - "Bières de Pélican". There are no other interesting markings on the clock. I regret to say that this is another of my "victims" as whilst attempting to improve the terrible accuracy of this clock I made the serious mistake of tampering with the hairspring. Foolishly I thought this might help and too late remembered that this only unbalances the movement and hairsprings are best left alone! Now it will not run at all - but it's a very interesting and decorative little antique mantel clock nevertheless. However, I'm sure it could easily be mended by a competent person!

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antique mantel clock: savings: British: 1930’s?

Antique Mantel clock: "savings" type: British: 1920’s?

It is frequently said that "Time is Money" - but for this little mantel clock "Money is Time"! This clock will only keep running if coins are inserted into the slot in its top: the required input, according to the wording on the top is "TWO FLORINS WEEKLY". This relates to the British pre-decimalisation coinage - a "florin", or two shillings- equivalent to the modern-day ten pence (10p) which is about 15 cents (US). So give it 15 cents and you get 1 week's time...

The mechanism seems to rely on an additional piece of "clockwork"(??) (marked "PAT No. 772762") attached to a fairly standard, cheap movement. Each coin inserted causes a cog-wheel to turn slightly, so that this wheel, driven off the clock movement, has further to turn before a lever drops into a cut-out in it, causing another leaver to touch the balance wheel, stopping the clock. This reminds me of student days when the electricity went out and we would argue whose turn it was to stump up the required 50 pence!

It has been suggested to me that this antique mantel clock might have been provided by a bank or saving society to encourage the owner to save money. It wouldn't have been very successful in my house though as it is very easy to take off the back of the coin receptacle and take out and re-use the coins (or coin!).

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Have you seen my American Antique Mantel ("Shelf") Clock Collection? .. or click on the image below to see large pictures and information:

New Haven Steeple antique mantel clock - Jerome antique mantel clock - New Haven Alarm antique mantel clock - Jerome Large antique mantel clock