Help identify/date Ingraham gingerbread clock

Kelly

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I'm about to start on my third "learner" clock. This one is an Ingraham eight day time and strike. The mechanism and case seem original, although the paper clock face is pretty obviously a replacement. The glass may not be original either. See the attached pictures.

The mechanism is stamped "E. Ingraham Co Patent Oct 8 78 Nov 11 79 Bristol, Conn". The interior base of the wooden case is stamped "Manufactured by E. Ingraham & Co Bristol, Conn" The edge of the face is stamped "Nov 10 7" (I couldn't get a decent picture of that as the stamping is rather faint).

Several bushings appear to have been installed at some point: my guess is that the clock was repaired/restored a decade or two ago, based on the dirt on the mechanism and slight yellowing of the replacement gloss-white paper clock face.

Any feedback regarding the approximate date of manufacture, the model name/type, or other details would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Steven Thornberry

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It's the Ruby, shown in Tran Duy Ly's Ingraham book from the 1886 catalogue. The reverse glass design is, as you suggest, a replacement. The design is found on New Haven clocks and does not look correctly positioned on the glass of this clock. The glass may be old; I can't tell for sure from the pictures.
 
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Kelly

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Thank you, Steven! As always, your speed and kindness in sharing this information is amazing. I keep thinking I will have to dig into my penny jar and buy a couple of Tran Duy Ly's books... but you must have a fantastic memory to find things so quickly!

A question about the date. In your experience, based on the stampings on the clock, mechanism, and face ring, what date is most likely for this clock? My first thought was 1887 based on the patent dates and the stamp on the ring ("Nov 10 7"), but that could just as easily be '97, or even 1907, or it could have nothing at all to do with the date of manufacture.
 

harold bain

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Kelly, based on having pinned plates, instead of nuts, would date it to probably early 1880's, possibly before the catalogue Tran found it in.
I like those kitchen clocks with Ingraham stamped into the wood like yours. Don't see them that often.
 

Steven Thornberry

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I suspect the mid-1880's. The catalogue picture in Tran may, for all I know, be the year it first appeared. The patent dates on the movement are commonly seen and appear on movements in clocks the 1890's; so you can't put much reliance on pin-pointing an exact date, but they do give the earliest possible date (1879). Ingraham began dating their movements with month and year of manufacture in 1897 (e.g., 07 01 = July 1901). The date on the bezel, I admit I'm not sure of. These walnut mantel/shelf clocks were popular from the mid/late 1870's into the 1880's. By the 1890's, we see more oak.
 

Kelly

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Kelly, based on having pinned plates, instead of nuts, would date it to probably early 1880's, possibly before the catalogue Tran found it in.
I like those kitchen clocks with Ingraham stamped into the wood like yours. Don't see them that often.
Thanks, Harold: I always get excited for some odd reason when I can find consistent manufacturing information on several parts of the same clock, so the wood stamp likewise made me happy. I've seen these clocks called "kitchen clocks" before: is there a specific characteristic that earns that them that name?

What you say about the pinned plates raises an intriguing observation. I noted that most (not all) of the pins are actually "square" rather than round pins- if you look closely at the one pin showing in my closeup of the mechanism stamping you might see what I mean. I thought that was sort of odd: the pins I've seen on other mechanisms were all round, as if they were cut from a spool of heavy wire or something. I wonder which are the original pins: the round ones, or the squared off ones? Regardless, I'll be preserving them when I clean the mechanism, assuming they come out intact.

Steven's follow up pretty much fixes the date to the early to mid-1880's: thanks! It always amazes me that I can buy something like this at a price not much greater than a brand new clock- all that history doesn't cost as much as I would expect it should.

I have some learning to do when I tidy up the case as well- the base is pulling away from the main body/side boards. Three of the four nails (yep, nails, not screws) are pulled out about a quarter inch and feel loose: probably the wood has dried out. I could push them back in with finger pressure- I don't think that is a good situation for the strength of the case. I'll be asking for advice regarding resetting those nails in the case forum later, once I get to that stage ;)
 

gilbert

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I have seen a couple references that the name 'E. Ingraham & Co. ' (as stamped on case) was the name they went by from 1881-1884 (of course I suppose they may had a supply of cases with name they used later of until they got a new stamp)
 

Steven Thornberry

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I have seen a couple references that the name 'E. Ingraham & Co. ' (as stamped on case) was the name they went by from 1881-1884 (of course I suppose they may had a supply of cases with name they used later of until they got a new stamp)
Good point and good eye. It actually says "The E. Ingraham & Co." My notes indicate this name from July 1880 to 1884. Prior to that, they were "E. Ingraham and Co." (1860-1880). The dates 1880-1884 certainly fit. Not sure, however, how much weight we should place on the definite article. From 1884 on, they were "The E. Ingraham Co." The name on the movement is "E. Ingraham Company."
 

harold bain

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Kelly, the terms "kitchen clock", "gingerbread clock", "parlor clock", "shelf clock" are somewhat interchangeable. Perhaps kitchen clock was used more for the ones with an alarm, as this would have been handy for timing that cake in the oven.
What I do with loose screws/nails is glue a small sliver of wood (I keep popsicle sticks around for this) into the hole to tighten it up, using a little carpenters glue. Too much of a sliver, and you risk splitting the wood when you push the nail back in.
 

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