Henry Sperry - J.L. Cobb Clock

Pat L.

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This clock was found locally on Craiglist this morning. It's an 8 day clock with Henry Sperry on the dial, and with a label of J.L. Cobb. The movement has no markings. A similar clock with J.L. Cobb label but slightly different movement was shown on page 189 of the April 1992 NAWCC Bulletin: Log In

It's approx. 16-3/4" high x 11-1/8" wide. Here are a few pictures...

Sperry-1.JPG Sperry-2.JPG Sperry-3.JPG Sperry-4.JPG
 

Steven Thornberry

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Definitely a New Haven movement in an E&A Ingraham scroll front clock. I have a beehive clock with a similar movement. Have a look at the April 2009 Bulletin for a discussion, beginning on page 219. It may be relevant to your clock as well.

April 2009 Bulletin

All that said, I cannot, off hand, explain the connection with both Sperry and Cobb, who were retailers in NYC. Others may have the answer.
 

Pat L.

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Steven,
Thanks for the information. I'll check out the bulletin article now.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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This clock was found locally on Craiglist this morning. It's an 8 day clock with Henry Sperry on the dial, and with a label of J.L. Cobb. The movement has no markings. A similar clock with J.L. Cobb label but slightly different movement was shown on page 189 of the April 1992 NAWCC Bulletin: Log In

It's approx. 16-3/4" high x 11-1/8" wide. Here are a few pictures...

View attachment 624402 View attachment 624403 View attachment 624404 View attachment 624405
I really like those scroll front clocks!! Yours is the "full size" version and a pretty one. There were also miniatures. I have a number of the full size and miniatures with all sorts of movements. I even have one with a Welch movement and label. It's the very one Ken Roberts pictured in either his J.C. Brown or Forestville clock makers book. Can't remember which. Only one I have ever come across.

This case style could be veneered, veneered with gilt stenciled decoration, or ebonized with MOP inlay with gilt and painted decoration.

The doors could be plain or like yours, with ripple molding.

This style of case seems to have been a favorite of E & A Ingraham. That firm did not make their own movements, but procured them from others. So, one may see movements by Jerome, Terry, Downs and Co. (as in the example you linked to) or Terry, Downs and Burwell and so on. I am not sure that they were the sole makers of this case style.

Assuming your clock is all original, which I have no reason to doubt based upon the pix provided, it was quite the group effort. Mr. Cobb was most likely one of the assemblers/retailers who populated lower Manhattan at that time. Sperry was another. The movement is by Jerome. I suspect that your clock was the result of some sort of bartering between firms.

I was not familiar with J.L. Cobb. It did get me looking around.

See this Bulletin article:

240_61.pdf (nawcc.org)

Snowden Taylor used to list "unusual" makers in the Research column. He lists him at 338 Broadway, NYC in that article.

Even better, see this one:

301_221.pdf (nawcc.org)

Go to pages 228 to 229. Especially see the clock in figure 7A along with the accompanying pix of figures 7B and 7C. The movement in the clock in the Bulletin looks to me like a Morse? Otherwise, that clock should look very familiar? Even a similar tablet! I will say that most of the E & A Ingraham versions of this case I have seen have rather different tablets, often stenciled ones by Fenn or decalcomania. The tablet in your clock reminds me more of those I have seen in other Sperry clocks. Other differences are that the E & A Ingraham clocks often have an eglomise dial surround and the veneered cases are gilt stenciled typically on rosewood. That does often get refinished away.

An interesting bit about the label in your clock and that shown in this reference. They are similar though not the same. But they share one very interesting feature: both are labels for weight driven clocks! It seems that most of the reported clocks labeled by this person were weight driven ogees. So, when they had a spring driven clock, they just used what they had handy?

Enjoy your nice clock.

RM
 
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Steven Thornberry

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Pat: Just to add a little to the Sperry-Cobb connection. Henry Sperry was one of many Sperrys who were involved in the clock business in New York City. Chris Bailey wrote an article on them, which appeared in the Research Activities and News section of the October 1988 Bulletin. See pages 419-425. Much of the information in the article is derived from contemporary NYC business directories.

From that article I find that Henry Sperry & Co. (also sometimes referred to as H. Sperry & Co.) was in business at 338 Broadway between 1853 and 1859. Henry Sperry died in 1859. A firm called Sperry & Bros. continued at that address in 1859-60. (Sperry also conducted business at other addresses in the same time period, not entirely unusual for NY "clockmakers".) 338 Broadway, of course, is the address of J. L. Cobb listed on the label of your clock. This certainly adds to the possibility of some sort of business connection between Sperry & Cobb. Just what connection exactly is unclear, since very little is known about Cobb other than his name, address, and a few clocks bearing his label. Perhaps following Sperry's death, Cobb acquired some of his unsold stock and affixed his own label on it, using, it seems, the only label he had, one for weight-driven clocks. But that's only a guess. Other firms may also have conducted business at that address.,

Have a look at Chris Bailey's article, and see what you think.
 
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Pat L.

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RM and Steven,
Thanks for taking the time to provide so much useful information about my clock.
 

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