19th c American Brewster and Ingrahams

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

NAWCC Member
Nov 26, 2009
5,909
1,254
113
Country
There has been a fair amount written about the paucity of earlier things to be found.

Well, there have been some recent threads devoted to some really wonderful recent finds and acquisitions. Yes, some real rarities and not bargain basement flea market Goodwill finds. But worthwhile learning about even if one will never own similar. I don't know why it would be off-putting or somehow discourage clock collecting as is maintained.

Tonight, I thought I would post a rather humble find that was the result of a Saturday of picking and, I will add, socializing. VERY affordable, a genuine antique, and real part of American clock collecting history, and to me aesthetically pleasing.

It's a standard sized steeple by Brewster and Ingrahams.

DSC00541.JPG

Mahogany veneer on a pine carcass with solid mahogany "steeples". What I liked about the "steeples" is that they haven't had the tips broken off. Except for a couple of minute and hard to see veneer chips, has survived quite well

IMCO, a wonderful original cut and frosted tablet.

DSC00542.JPG

Love the heart shaped wreath.

Nice original white painted dial with black Roman numerals.

DSC00543.JPG

Yes, a witness mark from the original hour hand. No, I'm not going to in-paint it. I especially like the strong signature.

Has a good label:

DSC00544.JPG

One of my favorite things about the clock is that the pressed brass lyre-form pendulum rod decoration is still present. A nice touch.

The movement is signed and has brass ribbed plates. I didn't take a picture as it is a fairly standard and pictured on the Forums and many standard accessible references including the Bulletin. What is a bit unusual, to me, is that if the strike gets out of cinque with the time, it may be advanced by lifting the strike hammer rather than the more standard method of pulling on or lifting a piece of metal wire. The other B&I clock that I recall having that method of strike advancement was one with smooth plates.

It is an 8 day clock with both complete original brass springs which gives the clock a surprising heft. It's the brass springs that make these movements interesting and how they fit into the evolution of manufactured spring driven clocks.

And they're available and affordable.

RM
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
A very well cared for honest clock. I did not know that there were 8 day clocks with brass springs, learn something new here everyday. The pendulum hanger is especially nice, I've never seen that before. Small details like that really add to a clock, even when they're not readily seen. Thank you for another good read.
I've been meaning to find a nice Ingraham clock, since we share a last name.

Will
 

captainclock

Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
212
11
18
32
Elkhart, Indiana
Country
Region
I found a clock very similar to this recently except mine was an Ansonia, mine though was missing its original movement and dial unfortunately but still has its original gong intact yet, and the case is nicely preserved yet, and also has its original paper intact inside.

I'm currently on the look out for an original Ansonia Steeple Clock movement that I can stick into my case and an original dial as well..
 

Steven Thornberry

User Administrator
NAWCC Member
Jan 15, 2004
23,599
1,555
113
Here and there
Country
This inspires me to post pictures of my own Brewster and Ingrahams steeple, which is similar to RM's, though without the brass springs and fancy pendulum rod. Nonetheless, a worthy clock, if I do say so myself. I like the cut and frosted glass design; so does my wife, but diamonds are a girl's best friend. The label is in decent shape and seems much like that shown above. The inscription on the dial is a bit faded.

B&I Steeple.JPG B&I Steeple Door Glass.JPG B&I Steeple Label.JPG B&I Steeple Dial.JPG

The ribbed 8-day movement is signed, though the signature is worn and difficult to read. Still, I tried to photograph it. The names Brewster and Ingrahams are above the words Bristol CT, though in smaller script.

B&I Steeple Mvmt.JPG B&I Mvmt Inscr.JPG
 

shutterbug

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Oct 19, 2005
46,945
1,996
113
North Carolina
Country
Region
Two really nice examples. On yours, Steven, it's interesting that the hammer pivot was punched. None of the others show obvious signs of being altered as far as I can see. Maybe one punch on the escapement. It makes one wonder why the hammer pivot got so much attention.
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,420
980
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
It is not unusual to see these clocks with either clear glass or replaced glasses in them. While there was a recent Bulletin piece that claims these to be etched/engraved glass, many of them are not. The "etched" glass is an applied surface that looks etched in many of these clocks. Frosted seems a better description of them. Sadly, most are water-soluble, something frequently found after an application of Windex or like cleaning solution in an attempt to remove stains or other discoloration. There are differences from clock to clock, some of them have an applied finish that includes very finely ground sand or glass particles. Others seem to have a completely organic "finish." I have been working on a paper for some time on these but have yet to finish it.

There are some upscale clocks, such as those offered by J.C. Brown, Forrestville, etc that certainly do have etched and engraved and cut glasses. Several can be seen in the Bulletin article. But, these B&I clocks, and other makers too, usually have the applied surface frosted glasses. And many of them get washed off or if not washed off then badly damaged by well-meaning owners.

etched glass 1.jpg etched glass 2.jpg frosted glass.jpg brewsterglass.jpg 20180810_181421.jpg 20180807_175310.jpg
 
Last edited:

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

NAWCC Member
Nov 26, 2009
5,909
1,254
113
Country
A very well cared for honest clock. I did not know that there were 8 day clocks with brass springs, learn something new here everyday. The pendulum hanger is especially nice, I've never seen that before. Small details like that really add to a clock, even when they're not readily seen. Thank you for another good read.
I've been meaning to find a nice Ingraham clock, since we share a last name.

Will
Yes, they were though it appears that there are more 30 hour versions.

There are also 8 day brass spring clocks by Terry and Andrews. I've posted examples on the Forums as well, including their version of a non-fusee steeple on steeple. Previously discussed on the Forums is a 4 day Jerome example with brass springs.

The steeple clock case is yet another example of brilliant and simple industrial design. My understanding attributed to Elias Ingraham? Yes, a bit more complicated to construct than the great and noble ogee. Came in a range of sizes (see my posting about a Jerome oversized steeple that includes a group shot showing a range of steeple sizes). Could be adapted to a variety of spring and fusee arrangements. I know of only ONE legitimate weight driven version. The steeple was a case style that would be popular and produced by most makers for at least a century. A variety of tablets were used to add to the decorative appeal.

Many examples are still affordable and accessible and a very nice place to start for a nascent collector and/or someone hoping to hone their repair skills.

RM
 

Steven Thornberry

User Administrator
NAWCC Member
Jan 15, 2004
23,599
1,555
113
Here and there
Country
Brewster and Ingrahams, a partnership between Elisha C. Brewster and Elias and Andrew Ingraham, existed between 1843 and 1852. After the dissolution of the partnership, Elias and Andrew formed E&A Ingraham Co. (EAI) in July 1852. It lasted until December 1856, when it went into bankruptcy. A fire in December 1855, which destroyed their factory, was the "push" that sent the company into its decline. EAI bought movements from others, cased them, and sold them under their label.

The round gothic (beehive) clock shown below contains a New Haven movement. Snowden Taylor has stated that this movement was first made in 1857. He suggested to me that it is in my clock because the clock was issued following completion of the E&A Ingraham bankruptcy. The full story can be found in Snowden's RAN column in the April 2009 Bulletin, beginning on p. 219. Sorry for the detour from Brewster and Ingrahams.

E&A Ingraham.jpg E&A Label 1.JPG E&A Ingraham Movement 001.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: WIngraham

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

NAWCC Member
Nov 26, 2009
5,909
1,254
113
Country
Well, I decided the steeple clock should take a place in my front hall!

DSC00545.JPG

See the recent thread about front halls.

I also realized that there had been no superfluous part of the posting. A real quicky, then.

There was a folk carver from Yarmouth, ME named Everett Pratt. He was active in the 1920's. His specialty were rather folky eagle carvings. Most were small ones on a pedestal. See "The American Eagle" by Philip Isaacson, page 129, figure 129 for his typical product. Reportedly they were sold as souvenirs. As far as I know, none of his work is signed. I will take the chance of posting a picture of the relevant page from the book:

Everett Pratt eagle reference..JPG

He is known to have made larger ones, reportedly for fraternal lodges. For one I believe was misattributed to PA and the wrong century, see "Spiritually Moving" by Geismer and Kahn, # 39. If you read this book, wear hip boots and have a shovel handy as the authors, IMCO, go overboard with what I will describe as "breathless" descriptions of everything in that book. Some VERY nice things, but please, get a grip.

Well, in my travels, I found what I believe to be a rare form of eagle made by him. It is larger and made to mount on a wall:

Pratt eagle 2.JPG

The stance somewhat reminds me of the copper eagle weather vanes of the late 19th and early 20th century which would have been quite familiar to him:

Antique_Weathervane_Copper_Eagle_.jpg

RM
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,420
980
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
Well, his carving is far better than anything I could do, the poor eagle has more in common with a ruptured duck than an eagle.
 

senhalls

Registered User
Apr 4, 2006
327
28
28
western PA.
Country
Region
Thank you for the tour , RM . The clock is almost too good to believe . The bottom of the label has no watermark . Close to spooky good .
 

T.Cu

NAWCC Member
Sep 26, 2020
167
26
28
Country
Region
  • Like
Reactions: PatH

Bruce Alexander

Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,577
858
113
Country
Region
Yeah, I agree. it is a gem. It makes my well-used Jerome 30-hour Sharp Gothic look like a derelict.

Front.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: RAK and PatH

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,420
980
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
I have shown this one here on the MB before. It too is a Brewster and Ingraham with a Daniel Pratt label. Not only does it have the little gold-leafed turned feet and gold-leafed spires. It also has a 4 arbor 30 hr brass spring t&s movement. And sadly, someone has tried to clean the "frosted" glass losing at least 1/2 the original image. Pretty much survivor but has lost a bit of its original case finish

20210609_152621 (2).jpg 20210609_152632 (2).jpg 20210609_152700 1 (2).jpg
 

Bruce Alexander

Sponsor
NAWCC Brass Member
Feb 22, 2010
7,577
858
113
Country
Region
Jim,

I seem to recall reading somewhere that egg whites were used to "frost" some of these designs. Is that right?
If so, that seems just a tad bit short-sighted to me. On the other hand, what do I know about manufacturing a clock?

Regards,

Bruce
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,420
980
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
Bruce, I have been working on a document in regard to these glasses. I will attach it to a PM. We have not confirmed what some of the frosting is done of. Some of it is organic, some is not organic.
 

Steven Thornberry

User Administrator
NAWCC Member
Jan 15, 2004
23,599
1,555
113
Here and there
Country
BTW, should anyone be interested, Joyce Wahler published a two part article on the evolution of Brewster shelf clocks as eeflected in their labels.

The first part may be found in the June 2000 volume of the Bulletin; the second part is in the August 2000 Bulletin. The second part deals with Brewster and Ingrahams shelf clocks between 1843 and 1848.

Have a look and see if your favorite clock and label is mentioned.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T.Cu

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

NAWCC Member
Nov 26, 2009
5,909
1,254
113
Country
Thank you for the tour , RM . The clock is almost too good to believe . The bottom of the label has no watermark . Close to spooky good .
Thanks.

Condition and price are why I couldn't leave it behind.

There is nice affordable genuinely antique stuff out there.

I have shown this one here on the MB before. It too is a Brewster and Ingraham with a Daniel Pratt label. Not only does it have the little gold-leafed turned feet and gold-leafed spires. It also has a 4 arbor 30 hr brass spring t&s movement. And sadly, someone has tried to clean the "frosted" glass losing at least 1/2 the original image. Pretty much survivor but has lost a bit of its original case finish

View attachment 658232 View attachment 658233 View attachment 658234
And also to point out what sets this clock apart is that it is a 3/4 size, with a shorter, narrower case and different proportions, e.g., note those skinnier moldings.

Nice clock that has been published.

Look forward to seeing your paper about these glasses being published. It would very much complement Paul Hennion's wonderful work on the decalcomania and lithographed glasses, and Ms. Servino's and Mr. Bailey's research into Fenn's products. I will also throw in Mike Bailey's research into Harriet Pond and her rare signed free hand glasses. I maintain that a study of these aspects of American clocks is quite worthwhile, even if dismissed by a few who feel that all that counts are schutzmarken and movements. I would suggest there are parallels to watches where there is an interest and research into the makers of cases and decorated dials. I think clock collectors are behind in that respect.

RM
 

Jim DuBois

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jun 14, 2008
3,420
980
113
Magnolia, TX
Country
Region
RM, good points; but to do a serious analysis of glasses we have to consider the work of Fenn, the work already done by Paul Hennion, the more developed information we have on tablet painting and printing found in recent years, the work of Tom Vaughn, some of the work by folks like Patricia Holloway, additional suggestions and discussions made on the MB under the tablet tab, good photos of examples, as well as some microphotography/analysis and materials analysis. There is also work done by MJ Dapkus in the field of restoration, as well as work done around women in clockmaking as many glasses and dials were done by women, on and on.

It could become a major work and require a lot of input and the assembly of what we have, what we think, examples, and supportive details. RM, you are absolutely correct in thinking it needs to be done, but the task appears to be akin to eating an elephant.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bochisholm

Forum statistics

Threads
167,092
Messages
1,456,075
Members
87,298
Latest member
Samways
Encyclopedia Pages
1,057
Total wiki contributions
2,914
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller