Identifying Sessions Mantle Clock

Mightyacorn

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Sep 25, 2019
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Good evening! I have this Sessions mantle clock that was allegedly given to my great grandparents as a wedding gift. They were married in 1906. I’m having difficulty locating any information on when this may have been made or what model it may have been. Any help would be tremendously appreciated.

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leeinv66

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It is my understanding that E.N. Welch labels stopped in 1903 and clocks made after that had both E.N. Welch and Sessions Clock Company on the label (as your clock does). The Welch brand was phased out altogether by about 1920. So, it is possible the clock was a wedding gift.
 
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Bruce Alexander

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Tran Duy Ly's "Sessions" book has this clock identified on page 142 as the "Carlotta" from circa 1908. Specific examples could have been manufactured several years before or after that date so the model is definitely within the time frames mentioned by you and Peter.

It may be of interest to note that the clock originally listed for $9.15. Adjusted for inflation that would be about $260 in 2019. That was a very nice gift. Probably well used and apparently well cared for.


Edit: You can search the 'net to find other examples. Here is one: Sessions Black Parlour Mantel Clock | Collectors Weekly

BTW, Welcome to the NAWCC's Message Board "MightyAcorn" :)
 
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Steven Thornberry

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The Carlotta was also offered by Welch; it is shown in Tran's Welch book from the 1901 catalogue. So, this is a model "inherited" by Sessions when they took over Welch in 1903. Every now and then you find one of these "inherited models" with a Sessions label (or a "Sessions, successor etc." label) and a Welch movement. Sessions would have used up any and all leftover Welch stock.
 

Mightyacorn

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Thank you so much! It’s so exciting to have a name and a timeframe for the clock! I’ve been in love with this clock ever since I can remember. I just remember watching my grandfather wind it when I was very young. It had stopped working and they replaced it, but always kept it tucked away carefully. We realized while inspecting
It last night that it was missing the pendulum and likely gummed up, so I ordered a new pendulum last might and will see how it goes.
Bruce or Steven can you please tell me if the glass for the face was flat or curved? I was going to replace that as well ❤ Thank you so much!
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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The early sessions movements had a flying saucer shaped pendulum bob. I've never seen one of these offered as a replacement but the available round or hex shaped "S" bobs should work just fine.

Just put a straight edge where the back of the glass would go, a 1/8" (or more) clearance at the tip of the hand shaft would indicate a flat glass. Most were flat, some curved, and a very few had a thick beveled glass.

Willie X
 

Mightyacorn

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Aha! This is the part I ordered ❤
Thank you SO much for all of the info. I’m thrilled to know more about the history of these clocks and the company.

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Willie X

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Glad you didn't go for the repos. That's a nice find. Did you somehow remember what the old bob looked like?

WIllie X
 

Bruce Alexander

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I agree with Willie.
Even though your clock's bezel looks to be the heavier cast metal type, It most likely had flat glass with no bevel. I've seen a similar Seth Thomas Mantel clock (a "Chandos") with a replacement piece of convex glass. It's a minor point but it just doesn't look right to me. Though it was fine, I ended up replacing it with flat glass.

What do you plan to do about the ...
gummed up
... condition?

Bruce
 

Mightyacorn

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The bezel is pretty lightweight, so flat glass makes the most sense. I might see if I can find something with a UV coating to prevent further damage on the clock face. From the photos I looked up this morning, those numbers used to be closer to white.

As for gummed up, I am looking into some clock oil, we gently blew out some stuff with compressed air. I have an inquiry to a local-ish clock repair to see what they would charge. A lot of YouTubing has said to use a toothpick and very gently clean around the pivots with that and just use the newer synthetic clock oils and that should take care of things. My only concern are the springs as it has sat mostly untouched for at least 35 years.
 

Mightyacorn

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As for the pendulum, perhaps it’s buried somewhere in my memory, but looking at it, it just felt like the right one, and I figured since the label seemed to me to be early on in the existence of sessions clocks since there were no notices or mentions of model numbers or names, I felt like the S wouldn’t have been in place yet since it would be older stock.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Mightyacorn,

Just how substantial the bezel is does tell part of the story. Heavy beveled glass needs a substantial bezel. As Willie alluded to earlier, convex glass is most likely required when extra clearance is needed for the minute arbor. Flat glass won't work if there isn't clearance for it so before you order replacement glass, please be sure to take the measurements he detailed...
Just put a straight edge where the back of the glass would go, a 1/8" (or more) clearance at the tip of the hand shaft would indicate a flat glass.
...I'm pretty sure flat glass is called for but it's best to be sure.

Youtube has been compared to the Wild Wild West where anything goes. Some of the videos are very good, some not so much.
I think you've come to the right place to get consistently good advice. At least that has been my experience.

What you're describing is often referred to an "Intact Cleaning". It can be a very controversial topic here because in order to properly clean and service a movement there is general agreement that it really needs to be disassembled first.

I'm not a fan of Intact Cleanings but some folks here can give you their opinions on how best to proceed within its limitations.
Here's one thread that you may find helpful: Cleaning for re-oil without breakdown
There are many threads on the subject.

Even the kind of oil is an object of much discussion and debate. A good synthetic motor oil may be just the ticket for your one clock but I'm biased in favor of Mobil 1. Others will not use anything other than clock oil on their clocks.

Here is a reference that I've found to be very helpful: https://www.kensclockclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Clock-Oils.pdf

Take your time and enjoy your family heirloom. It remains in good hands. Hopefully your family will continue to enjoy it for many generations to come.

Regards,

Bruce
 

Mightyacorn

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Hee hee yeah, YouTube is hit or miss. I will most likely take it to a professional for a cleaning as this clock obviously has a lot of sentimental value to me.
I don’t think it’s going to take much of anything to get it going as it keeps trying to start after blowing it out even without the pendulum. I’m periodically hearing it start to tick. The chimes and gong are in working order. I’ll be sure to measure the clearance. It’s a stamped brass bezel, so it’s not going to hold a ton of weight.

I’ll be digging through the forums more in depth later today. I’m so glad I found you guys! I’m a complete novice in anything related to clocks and clockworks, but they’ve always held my fascination. Perhaps I’m now beginning my trek down the new rabbit hole
 
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Mightyacorn

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new pendulum piece is here! It wants to go, but slows up in one spot. We suspect just a piece of fuzz or something that’s enough to slow it? So I think we’ll take it out, oil the front bits and see how she goes. She really wants to go!
 

Bruce Alexander

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Congratulations on getting your heirloom antique Sessions up and running again! :thumb:

The next thing to concentrate on is setting/adjusting the "Beat". Looking at your video, your clock is pretty far out of beat.

Please see this link for more information: Beat Setting 101

Then let us know what questions you may have.
 

Mightyacorn

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Oh yeah. We have adjusted it. It will probably need one more adjustment. We’re planning on taking the movement out once it’s run down to oil the pivots on the front side, but I’m a little anxious about taking the hands off. I have memories of my grandpa winding this clock, but the consensus from the entire family is that this hasn’t run in 80 or so years. I’m just so thrilled!
 

Bruce Alexander

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Good. Congrats on getting the beat adjusted.

It looks like your clock uses a nut/fastener to hold the minute hand on the minute arbor. It should unscrew counter-clockwise. You may have to hold the minute hand to keep from turning the minute hand/nut/arbor counter-clockwise as a unit. If you have to hold the minute hand, do so near it's base which will lessen the chances that you'll bend or otherwise damage it. If the nut is very tight, and you're afraid to apply too much pressure you might put a very small amount of penetrating oil on it. Don't get any on the paper dial. Just apply a very small amount with a toothpick or maybe the eye of a sewing needle. Let it work in for maybe five minutes or so and try again. Once you get the minute hand off, the hour hand should pull straight off of the hour tube. Sometimes it can be very stubborn too. There are "Hand Puller" tools to deal with them. Hopefully you won't need one. Try to lift the hour hand from it's circular base (not the hand itself) by placing a finger underneath it on each side. Let us know if you have trouble or get stuck on anything.

Edit: From the slightly flattened look of the nut, someone may have used a pair of pliers on it at one time or another. Hopefully you can get it turning with just your finger and thumb. Whatever the case, be careful with the minute hand. They can be easily bent or broken.
 
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