View Full Version : Anyone know about Ithaca Grandfather Clocks?
05-14-2009, 03:56 PM
I will be going to look at an Ithica Grandfather ( guy said it is a GF, could be a tall case) and know nothing about Ithica other than the little bit posted here when I searched.
Was Ithica actually a company that made clocks for the general public? It seems that they were a gift/redemption of sorts via "Green Stamps" (which I am old enough to remember as a child).
From what I have read is that they never actually made their own movement, but used Gilbert, Waterbury, etc. on a contract sale. True?
Do these clocks have any value or is there a collector market for them?
I am looking at it mostly due to the fact it is old (company failed in 1917) and depending on its color it may fit in with my furniture. All I know so far is that it only runs for a short time according to the owner. That in itself is no big deal as long as it is an American movement.
No photo available at this time.
edit to add:
The years of greatest prosperity for the Ithaca Company were between 1875 and 1900. By 1898, they added a floor-standing non-calendar clock to their offerings and subsequently manufactured these "grandfather" clocks for the next 20 years or so. These particular clocks employed inexpensive spring or weight-driven Connecticut-made movements.
This to me means it has even less of a collectible presence than their standard calender clocks, no?
05-14-2009, 04:08 PM
I'm not sure what the term "even less" means as Ithaca Double Dial Calendar clocks are very collectible. The grandfathers are not as much. I have seen several and a buddy of mine had a few at a time. As I remember, they were fairly inexpensive. The ones I saw had Gilbert movements. I have seen double spring time and strike and also weight driven. ca. 1900's. I seem to remember the cases also looking like a couple in the Gilbert books. They might have used other Conn. movements but I remember the Gilberts.
05-14-2009, 04:10 PM
My Double Dial has a Welch movement.
05-14-2009, 05:47 PM
Collectability is in the eye (and pocketbook) of the beholder. I own an Ithaca Grandfather, similar in appearance to the Gilbert Hall Clock No. 24, with a different strike set-up. It is a nice looking and nice sounding clock. It has an unsigned Gilbert spring driven movement. And, of course, it will have the same maintenance needs of any spring movement, with the added fun of operating on a pendulum that is probably over 30" in length. At the moment it is working well and keeping good time (a tad fast, actually). It was aimed at a market that wanted a presentable grandfather clock that was much less expensive than its weight-driven cousins.
05-14-2009, 06:06 PM
Thanks guy's, that helped a lot.
In doing more net research, I see that the double dials are very much collectible. Unfortunately, this one is going to be the "lesser" collectible of the Ithica clocks being a Grandfather.
If the condition of it and the price of it are right, I might just get it because it would be cool to have a GF that doesn't have a Westminster chime which is all I have right now.
I find it fascinating that even way back in the late 1800-early 1900, companies were copying other companies cases and even using other companies movements.
05-14-2009, 06:12 PM
Most of the manufacturers would sell movements to anyone who wanted to purchase them, probably with volume discounts. Very similar to Hermle now. By the way, it is spelled Ithaca, which may help for your google search. An NAWCC member (Joel Warren) now owns the Ithaca Clock Company name and makes parts for them (mostly, but not only, case parts).
05-14-2009, 06:18 PM
I can't believe I spelled that wrong. Duh! Wanna see something even funnier? Do a search on these forums spelling it wrong like I did. Bunch of other threads have it wrong too. Doesn't make me feel so illiterate now!
Another interesting thing I have read is that they did not use Mahogany and chose to either use Oak or Cherry which was dyed very dark to appear it was Mahogany. Kind of seems like they were the low man on the pole trying to hang with the big boys any way they could. Could be a cool clock. I like underdogs :)
05-14-2009, 08:13 PM
And now, antique cherry clocks are highly desired. Fewer of them and harder to find. They mellow out beautifully. As for the grandfather's themselves, I think Steven T. hit it on the head. Reasonable price. Nice look. Why not?
05-14-2009, 09:51 PM
You guys have peaked my interest. I will definitely take a look and see what it is. Guy says it is in very nice condition (we all know how that story goes)and that it just doesn't run for long so he wants to get rid of it. Who knows, it may be a nice clock and it may talk me into coming home with me.
I will be sure to snap a couple of photos regardless.
05-15-2009, 09:06 AM
Here's a movement from an Ithaca GF. Waterbury, T/S, half dead-beat, spring powered, count wheel. I imagine it's fairly representative of movements you'll find in the long case clocks.
05-16-2009, 10:37 PM
Went and checked out the Ithaca GF today. It was a genuine Ithaca with an Oak case. Did not pull dial to see maker.
Looked like any photo of a common Ithaca (Tall boxy case, squared dial with flowers in the corners, etc)
Top scroll was broken with a crappy repair done, center finial was off, finial were banged up. clock does not run, glass non original (I would assume it should be wavy being pre 1918), corner flower paintwork on dial was peeling. I could manually lift chime lever to get it to chime. Wood was disgustingly dirty.
In other words, all there but in serious need of a full restoration and service.
Guy wanted $500, I offered $300 to which he declined. In the few that I have found on the internet, it appears that this clock in VG-EX condition is only a 750-$1K clock. By the time I put many hours of work into it and get new glass, fix scroll work, finial, blah, blah, blah, I thought my offer was fair.
What say the masses?
05-16-2009, 11:28 PM
05-17-2009, 06:20 AM
I agree with Inbeat's "agree." $500 is more than you should pay, considering what you would need to do to get it back into presentable and functioning shape. $300 seems a fair offer. The guy may have trouble letting it go at his price.
05-17-2009, 09:35 AM
Thanks guys. At least I know my assessment was on track and the price I offered was fair. I think this was another one of those cases in which the seller sees the clock as worth a great deal more even though I explained in detail what would be needed and the costs associated with said work.
I have a feeling the clock will be sitting in his house non running for the next 20 years just as it has for the last 20 years. Too bad as it could be nice with some work.
04-24-2010, 05:21 PM
I looked at an Ithaca clock todaya and have a couple of queries the first being what is the difference between a grandfather clock and a tall case clock?
The other question is how the movement is driven. Al the information I've seen so far seems to indicate the movement is a spring driven movement however the movement on the clock I looked at had 2 large weights hanging in the case which led me to believe that the movement was weight driven. Unfortunately I couldn't see the movement as to do so it would appear that I have to remove the screws that attach the face, the taper pin that hold the hands and the hands. Is there any other way to do it? I was also surprised that the face appears to be metal where other references say they are paper, seller actually said face was paper too.
Case appears to be cherry though it looks a little like walnut. Pendulumn support is wood. The glass front is bevelled, that is a replacment.
From a sticker inside it looks like clock was last serviced by the Clock Box with a phone number no area code 329-xxxx I suspect maybe Winthrop MA.
I guess I could go back tomorrow and see if the owner will let me "operate" on the clock to have a look at the movement - not real keen on doing that on expensive things I don't own. If I do is there anything special I should look out for?
Any enlightenment much appreciated
04-24-2010, 06:08 PM
Ithaca tallcase clocks could have either weight-driven or spring-driven movements. I believe they got their movements from Waterbury, Welch, Gilbert, and New Haven. All grandfather clocks are tallcase clocks. There were also somewhat smaller tallcase clocks known popularly as grandmother and granddaughter clocks. The term grandfather clock becaame popular because of he song My Grandfather's Clock. If we had some pictures, we might be able to help you more on the clock you are viewing.
04-25-2010, 07:55 PM
Here are some pictures.
I looked at all the weights and chains and assumed it was weight driven and then stuck the camera in pointing up and lo and behold all that stuff is just window dressing and the movement is actually spring driven. Is that normally what they did? Couldn't get any pictures that actually showed the bevelling on the glass front and sides but it is bevelled with a 1/4 inch edge coming proud. Case is in excellent condition and movement appears to run fine. Strike is the hour and a "bong" on the half hour - minute hand is 30 minutes out of true currently. What is that 1753 number below the arbor - a serial number?
04-25-2010, 10:39 PM
I suspect that the weights and chains were added after the purchase by someone wanting the clock to appear weight-driven. That type of weight wouldn't have been used originally in a clock with a glass door. A more decorative brass-cased weight would have been more likely.
04-26-2010, 05:17 AM
I agree that Ithaca would not have done that. The weights appear older than the clock, which I would put ca. 1905. I have one with the same dial, which is also found on Gilbert's Hall Clock No. 24. The case is also like mine, although mine has decoratribe brass hardware. The movement in the one you show is probably an unsigned Gilbert, as in mine.
04-26-2010, 01:39 PM
Here's a photo of a GF clock I purchased about 25 years ago. I think it will look like the one you're describing. The movement is un-marked, but completely original to the case. The man I bought it from said it was his family's and he was told they got the clock from a Green Stamp redemption program. I had never heard of this until it was discussed in this post. He told me it was an Ithaca, however with an un-marked movement I was skeptical. I now know that Gilbert made this same clock and I think I have actually seen some like it from Seth Thomas.
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