Hamilton Clock Company - Octagon Prize

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by woodlawndon, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    581
    109
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    We picked up this modest 8-day time & strike mantel clock recently from a local auction. It was simply described as "mantel clock", it was my wife Jann that recognized it as a Hamilton Clock Company model based on a picture on the back cover of a recently acquired book by Varkaris and Connell entitled The Canada and Hamilton Clock Companies. The name Octagon Prize is apparently based on the case style and was also used by some American makers.

    The Hamilton Clock Company operated out of Hamilton, Ontario during 1876-1880, they were the successors to the Canada Clock Company that operated out of Whitby, Ontario from 1872-1876. A second go for the Canada Clock Company, again in Hamilton, lasted only 4 more years. During the 12 years these companies operated, sales were modest, therefore their clocks are somewhat scarce and are sought after by Canadian collectors.

    In Varkaris and Connell's book, they do a detailed comparison of the movement's dimensions and mechanical differences of those made by the Canadian companies to those of Waterbury, Ansonia, Atkins and Welch. Their motivation was to prove that the movements were indeed made in Ontario and not imports.

    They came to the conclusion that the 8-day time and strike was copied from the Waterbury 1874 patent but there are enough differences to prove they were produced in Ontario. In the book they state that all known examples of the Canadian clocks have the mounting post for the suspension spring situated below the central arbour. Unless other examples have surfaced since the writing of the book in 1986, I have the only known example where the mounting post is situated above and to the right of the central arbour. My speculation is that this is an early example that was quickly changed thereafter.

    Finally, on the back of this clock is written in large pencil cursive, Mr Geo Peters, Peterboro East, Ontario. Although the city of Perborough was established in 1825, the shortened spelling was used by the Railway to fit on their time schedules and the Post Office to fit on their post marks. This practice of interchanging the spelling continued to approx the turn of the century.

    Because the internet is so darned cool, I found a census record for George Peters, born in 1857. He was one of the original settlers of Highlands East, just north of Peterborough. I am familiar with this area of Ontario, even now it is sparsely populated, heavily wooded and rocky. To settle this land 150 years ago would have been challenging, no wonder he had 11 children. Maybe a stretch, but because the time and location fits, George Peters could very well have been the original owner of this clock.

    The clock itself is in decent condition but unfortunately the ink from the label has been completely bleached away. The tablet is etched and is believed to have been made by one of the two glass companies operating out of Hamilton during this time
    Don

    cFQhdGbuQMenRVk9wreJKA.jpg IMG_5511.jpg fullsizeoutput_536.jpeg fullsizeoutput_533.jpeg
     
    Rockin Ronnie and PatH like this.
  2. Jim Hartog

    Jim Hartog Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    514
    24
    18
    house husband
    Whitby, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hello Don,

    Figures 102 and 103 in the Varkaris/Connell book show the two different base profiles found on the taller "Octogon Prize" models. However, yours has the dial of the shorter case style (fig. 96 and 97) with the base found on one of the round dial types (102). A lot of variety for just four years of production.

    Jim
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  3. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    581
    109
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks Jim, I went back and looked at the figures in the book, that is interesting. Mine is the shorter version, 16 1/4 inches.
    Don
     
  4. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    21,470
    176
    63
    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Very nice find Don. These clocks from this maker dont come up that often. Only seen a few come through the Chapter mart. Very cool toknow the history of it too.
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  5. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Dec 5, 2014
    1,239
    850
    113
    Female
    Texas
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    This clock has an interesting name - Octagon Prize. Around the turn of the century and shortly thereafter, there was an Octagon Soap Company that offered prizes (premiums) with the redemption of soap labels. I have a couple of their premium catalogs, but don't find any clocks of this style. Did you come across anything in your research to indicate it might have been a clock made for use as a premium? This is purely speculation and likely has nothing to do with the model name, but curiosity got the better of me. o_O
     
  6. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 4, 2008
    3,703
    349
    83
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Interestingly the shape of the case actually is a heptagon, not an octagon.

    Uhralt
     
  7. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2017
    581
    109
    43
    Male
    Woodlawn, Ontario
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks for that Pat, I too was curious about the origins of the name but all I could find was that Octagon Prize was frequently used to describe a "four-sided top" mantel clock. Apparently New Haven offered at least four models with this name.
    Don
     
  8. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 15, 2004
    20,971
    659
    113
    Male
    Ne’er do well
    Here and there
    Country Flag:
    New Haven offered both a 14" Prize, which was a flat-top cottage clock, and an Octagon Prize, which came in various sizes. The latter were undoubtedly so-named because of their octagon tops, which distinguished them from the flat-top version. The Prize may have been the first produced, but it is also possible that the Prize and one or more of the Octagon Prizes were originally produced contemporaneously.

    BTW, wasn't Octagon Soap sold by Colgate Company (Colgate's Octagon Soap), or was there actually a separate Octagon Soap Co.? The Colgate product did offer coupons on their soap labels that could be redeemed.
     
    woodlawndon likes this.
  9. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 4, 2008
    3,703
    349
    83
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Still wondering why they call it "Octagon". The top of the pictured clock has only 4 sides. Am I splitting hairs? Is it because the angles of this half octagon look like octagon angles?

    Uhralt
     
  10. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Dec 5, 2014
    1,239
    850
    113
    Female
    Texas
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Don, not meaning to sidetrack the post of your great Canadian clock. Sorry.

    Ooops - you're correct that it was a Colgate product, so not a separate entity. Recognize the Colgate Seth Thomas clock (at one time the largest clock in the world) on the front of the 1908 catalog?
    This catalog included a black iron clock - description toward the bottom of the list in the 3rd pic.

    Octagon soap 1908.jpg Octagon 1908 - 3 (3).jpg Octagon 1908 - 4.jpg scan0017.jpg scan0018.jpg Colgate clock stats front.jpg
     
  11. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 18, 2012
    1,435
    82
    48
    Male
    retired educator
    Greenfield, Nova Scotia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #11 Rockin Ronnie, Oct 16, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
    Nice find. Though not an 8-day, the 30-hour movement in this steeple clock from the Hamilton Clock Company has similar features. My wife also has a good eye for clock hunting.
    Ron

    RS Hamilton clock_1.jpg RS Hamilton clock_32.jpg
     
    PatH and woodlawndon like this.

Share This Page