Can anyone help me with a mystery?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Quantumstarr, Jul 12, 2016.

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  1. Quantumstarr

    Quantumstarr Registered User

    Jul 12, 2016
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    Clock Winsted.jpg Clock Winsted lable.jpg

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me about this clock. A friend of mine gave me 2 clocks from an estate sale he was having because he knows I like old clocks. The other is an Ingraham. The only thing I've been able to find out is that this clock was made by Geo. Owen's company sometime between 1879 and 1894 possibly. I'm not really concerned with what its worth because I like it. I would like to know more about its history. I took it to a local clock shop but the man there told me its nothing special and its probably fake because he doesn't recognize the name. He also dated the other clock incorrectly because I have documentation for that one. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    #2 Steven Thornberry, Jul 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    George B. Owen was General Manager for William L. Gilbert from 1866 to 1913. However, he also formed a couple of independent clock companies, George B. Owen & Co. (ca. 1875 to 1879, when fire destroyed the company) and the Winsted Clock Company, ca. 1879 to 1894, when it was purchased by Gilbert. I believe that Gilbert furnished the movements to Owen's Winsted Clock Co. venture.

    Owen had other, earlier companies as well, including Owen & (Henry D.) Clark (1856 -1861/2). After Owen & Clark dissolved, Owen continued the business until going to work for Gilbert. Interestingly, one of the employees of Owen & Clark and later of Owen was Florenz Kroeber. After Owen departed for Gilbert, Kroeber continued at the same address (25 John Street, NYC) as Fuller & Kroeber. But that's a different story. Owen was an important figure in American horology but often, it seems, a forgotten figure. Now he is relegated to the status of "fake" by an individual who apparently won't take the time to learn better.Yoda His value to Gilbert can perhaps be assessed by Gilbert's apparent acquiescence in allowing his General Manager to form what were tantamount to competition. However, Gilbert being what he was (a fierce businessman), I suspect some strings were attached.

    We have seen Owen clocks on the message board from time to time. Here is an earlier thread with one of my favorites from the period after Owen & Clark but before Owen went to work for Gilbert. A message board search of Owen will bring up a number of threads with Owen clocks. The permanent Gilbert thread also contains a few.
     
  3. Quantumstarr

    Quantumstarr Registered User

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    #3 Quantumstarr, Jul 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    Is there any way to narrow the date more than 15 years besides pulling out the movement? I was able to find an Ingraham catalog. Did the Winsted
    company have anything like that?
    Do the words "patent applied for" on the label help? I searched google patents but I don't know which part the patent would be for. He has several.
     
  4. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    On occasion, American made clock movements have a month and a year stamped into the plates. The first numeral(s) would be the month, and the second numeral(s) would be the year. Aside from being lucky enough to find a clock stamped with a date, I think you are likely out of luck trying to pin down the manufacturing date exactly.
     
  5. Quantumstarr

    Quantumstarr Registered User

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    Thank you. I have heard that they are stamped on the side facing the dial and since I got it to work, I'm afraid to dismantle it. I can't see anything through the back
     
  6. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    #6 Steven Thornberry, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
    Doubtful that this clock would have a date of manufacture stamped on the movement. Certainly Ingraham added dates as Doug stated, but not until 1897. Sometime after 1900, Gilbert stamped some of their movements with the year of manufacture, either two or four digits. Starting sometime in the 19th century, Seth Thomas stamped date codes on the back or bottom of some of their clock cases, and later in the 20th century, we find date codes on the movements. But I suspect that the most this particular clock might have is a patent date and quite possibly not that. The patent date, of course, would provide only an earliest possible date for the manufacture of the movement and would only coincidentally have anything to do with the actual date the clock was made.

    The words "Patent applied for" on the label might give a clue to the a date range and possibly narrow down the 15-year window, if it is possible to determine what exactly the patent refers to.
     
  7. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    A bit of speculating:

    The December 1994 NAWCC Bulletin contains a short article on a black mantel clock labeled Winsted Clock Co. See pages 784 to 785. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the clock, and no name for the clock is mentioned. Even more unfortunately, only members of the NAWCC can view the article online.

    The label on the black mantel does mention two patents, one dated February 10, 1885, and one dated March 13, 1888. These patents were granted to Reese P. Coughlin and concerned the manufacture of clock cases and other articles from plastic materials.

    Now, I have no idea whether either of these patents is, in fact, relevant to your clock, but if so, the words "Patent applied for" would indicate that your clock would have been made after the relevant patent was applied for and before it was granted.

    That's all just a WAG suggested by the Bulletin article, and I'm not sure I believe it applies to your clock. The truth may be something entirely different.
     
  8. Quantumstarr

    Quantumstarr Registered User

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    Thank you so much. If anyone else thinks of something, please let me know. Seems I've hit a dead end. These clocks are still the coolest thing ever to me
     

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