New Haven steeple with AS Platt for C. Jerome movement

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Jerome collector, Sep 8, 2019.

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  1. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2005
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    Geologist, US Army Corps of Engineers
    Omaha, NE
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    This post concerns a sharp gothic (or steeple) clock with a label identifying the maker as the New Haven Clock Co. The clock was found during an almost spur-of-the-moment stop at an antique store while vacationing in New Hampshire. When I opened the door of the clock (which almost fell off in my hands due to a missing hinge pin), I was surprised to see a New Haven label that I had never run across. The case was clearly in distress, with missing veneer, finials with busted tips, and a base (front piece) held on by Scotch tape. The finish is original and quite crusty. The dial, hands, and pendulum bob appear to be original.

    Although I have some interest in New Haven’s early clocks, the condition of this one caused me to carefully close the door and walk away. But as I walked toward the front of the shop, I wondered what movement was in the clock. My assumption, based on the winding arbor positions, was that it was a type of 30-hr movement that New Haven used for decades (starting in the mid-1850s with ones made for Jerome) with very little modification. And my curiosity in the movement was more focused on whether it had a maker’s stamp. For a brief, but undefined, period, New Haven used a maker’s stamp that stated “NEW HAVEN/CLOCK CO. CT./U.S.A.”, and I suspected this clock might have that stamp. I asked the owner of the shop if it was okay for me to remove the dial and inspect the movement, and he said “go ahead”.

    The movement, which I am certain is original, is stamped “A.S. PLATT & CO/BRISTOL/CT FOR C. JEROME/NEW HAVEN CONN/USA”. The movement and maker’s stamp were a major surprise. Both have been reported before on the message board (see post #217) and in the NAWCC Bulletin. And Platt movements in Jerome clocks are not uncommon. The connections between AS Platt and Jerome were considerable, so much so that when Jerome went bankrupt in April of 1856, Platt followed in bankruptcy later that year, presumably due to payments never received from Jerome for Platt movements. New Haven, over the course of 1856 and 1857, acquired the assets of the Jerome Manufacturing Co.

    As I indicated above, I haven’t seen this particular New Haven label before, but that could simply be for want of looking. However, many of the early New Haven labels from the mid-1850s are very similar to ones used by Jerome earlier in the 1850s. Those serve both to advertise their product line as well as to offer directions on operating the clock. This label, on the other hand, is quite simple. Another thing to note is the printer’s line: “Benham, Steam Printer”. As early as 1849 and continuing into the 1860s, most of J(ohn) H(all) Benham’s listings and advertisements in the New Haven City Directory (which were printed by Benham) mentioned “steam printer”, referring to the use of steam to power his presses. Benham claimed that he was the first to introduce this method of powering printing presses in New Haven.

    Another wonderful curiosity about the clock is the presence of a verse on the back side of the door that states:

    “It is a shocking thing (to?) say
    I’ll ever honor and obey;
    They should, I think, reverse the plan,
    And leave obedience to the man”

    I haven’t been able to discover the source of this verse, but it appears to be an early expression of feminism. There’s clearly an objection to the wife’s duty to “honor and obey”.

    How to explain a Platt-for-Jerome movement in a New Haven-labeled case? One explanation is that the entire steeple clock, with its Platt movement, was in production and nearly complete when the Jerome Manufacturing Co. failed. All New Haven had to do to get clocks like this on the market (and start getting a return on their investment) was get a run of labels printed. Equally plausible is that the Platt was a loose movement acquired during the bankruptcy that New Haven then cased. Perhaps favoring this scenario is the fact that the label appears to extend behind the sides of the clock, suggesting that the label was glued on before the backboard was nailed to the case. Regardless, the movement and label directly tie the clock to a period when not only Jerome, but also Platt, went bankrupt, and the former Jerome factory was given new life under New Haven ownership.

    Mike

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    gilbert and Rockin Ronnie like this.
  2. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    Jan 18, 2017
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    Very interesting read, I'm probably always going to want to ask the owner to look under the hood now. That poem is fascinating, it makes me wonder what the driver was for that; his wife or some liberal views taking hold in that area.
    Don
     
  3. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    Jun 22, 2004
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    Hi Mike,

    Can I assume after taking a closer look, the clock came home with you after all?

    Bob
     
  4. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    Sep 4, 2005
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    Geologist, US Army Corps of Engineers
    Omaha, NE
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    Oh, absolutely! While I would have preferred the clock to be in pristine condition, I've never let condition stop me when I was intrigued by a label or a movement or a label and a movement.
    Mike
     
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  5. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Nov 18, 2012
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    Nice find and interesting links to the period of transition re. Jerome and New Haven.
    Ron
     
  6. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    Jun 22, 2004
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    Mike,

    Glad to hear that it found an appreciative home! The clock was worth saving if only for the great little verse hidden inside. I secret rebellion by someone who may not have been able to say such things out loud?
     

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