Owen, Lorton, Kroeber

Steven Thornberry

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George B. Owen had a long career as a clockmaker. Born in 1834, he started in the clock business in 1852. By 1854 he had purchased his employer’s shop and formed G.B. Owen & Company (the “& Company” = John H. Owen, Jr., his brother) operating at 325 Hudson Street. G.B. Owen & Company dissolved 1859. In 1856, Owen and Henry D. Clark, a machinist, had formed Owen & Clark at 25 John Street, NYC. Owen & Clark was dissolved 1861/62 (I've seen both years). Owen continued running the business at the 25 John Street location. In 1866, Owen left for Winsted, CT, to become General Manager for the Gilbert Manufacturing Company. Owen remained with Gilbert until 1913. Owen had other, independent clock making ventures during his 47 years with Gilbert. Owen died in 1916.

Between 1862 and 1884, Owen received over 20 patents, one of which was the following

USD1738.jpg

Here is a link to the full patent: Design Patent 1738
 
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Steven Thornberry

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One of George Owen's employees at 25 John Street was Florenz Kroeber. After Owen left NYC to work for William L. Gilbert, Kroeber continued to operate at that location in his own right. Between 1866 and 1868, he offered clocks under the Fuller & Kroeber label. (It seems there actually was no Fuller, but that is a different story). A clock bearing a Fuller & Kroeber label is shown below. It is based on the March 17, 1863, patent shown above, and, in fact, carries that date on the panel attached to the base. It has a Noah Pomeroy 8-day movement. Kroeber often used Pomeroy movements.

F&K Case.JPG F&K Label 2.JPG F&K Case Patent.JPG F&K Movement.JPG

Although the 1863 parent drawing shows two panels, only one remains on this clock. However, I seem to be able to make out the shadow where a second panel might have been placed (also possibly just my imagination).

F&K Panel Shadow_LI.jpg


Of interest to this thread are the bezel, which carries the May 10, 1859, patent date for a dial patent granted to S. E. Root (not visible in the picture), and the slotted opening in the bottom of the the case, which might have been fitted with a dust cover.

F&K Bezel.JPG F&K Bottom Slots.JPG
 
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Steven Thornberry

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This brings me to two timepieces in my possession that are similar to the Fuller & Kroeber (F&K) shown above.

The first has essentially the same case as the F&K, though some smaller. The style and position of the panel are also different, and I see no indication it ever had a second panel. The bezel and dial are the same, the capitals are the same, and it has the slotted opening in the bottom of the case It also has the dust cover that is not present on the F&K. The movement is unsigned. There is no label, and the timepiece was sold as a "Kroeber & Mueller, ca. 1880." Mueller would likely have been Nicholas Muller, Kroeber's father-in-law, who died in 1873.

RT1.JPG RT1 Bezel.JPG RT1 Bottom.JPG RT1 Door.JPG RT1 Movement Front.JPG RT1 Movement  Back.JPG

The second timepiece again has the same basic case. Note however the different style of the base and the capitals. The appearance and condition of the capitals make me wonder whether they have been damaged or replaced. The movement is like the one shown just above, and the dial, bezel, panel, slotted opening, and dust cover appear the same. This timepiece carries the label of William B. Lorton. Lorton has appeared a few times in the pages of the NAWCC Bulletin. He is thought to be an assembler and retailer who worked at the 1 Cortlandt Street address from 1857 to at least 1861 (Bulletin 294, February 1995, pp. 107-08), but he may also have manufactured iron clock fronts and papier mache cases (Bulletin 339, August 2002, pp. 499-500). There is the partial name of a building on the label, which is the Gilsey Building.

RT2 (2).JPG RT2 Bezel.JPG RT2 Bottom.JPG RT2 Door.JPG RT2 Movement Front.JPG RT2 Movement Back.JPG RT2 Label (1).JPG

The similar features between these two round-top timepieces and the F&K suggest, to me at least, they might have been made by the same shop.
 

Steven Thornberry

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I recently acquired a third timepiece with the same movement. In fact, it was the movement that caught my attention. The case is totally different from the two above, but it does have the same style dial and bezel and the same slotted opening on the bottom, but without the dust cover. The base is somewhat similar to that of the first round-top timepiece shown above. There is also a small hole in the front of the case where something might have been attached, but I have no idea what. There is no label. Is this another timepiece made by the same shop as the F&K?

Flat Top.JPG Flat Top Bezel.JPG Flat Top Bottom.JPG Flat Top Mvmt Front.JPG Flat Top Mvmt Back.JPG
 

Steven Thornberry

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The three movements shown above are unsigned. Thus, I can't identify the maker with any certainty. On the basis of the similarity of the escape wheel bridges with those on George Owen movements from a later period, I wondered whether he might have manufactured these movements while at 25 John Street. This Owen movement, for example.
Metis Mvmnt 1.JPG

That's not much to go on. Lee Smith's article on escape wheel bridges in the December 1999 Bulletin shows many other makers besides Owen using this style of escape wheel bridge (p. 770).

However, a fourth movement like the three above appeared on these Forums in 2019 in an Anglo-American timepiece. Here is the thread. Identifying a Gilbert | NAWCC Forums. The movement in that thread was signed "Wm. L. Gilbert, Winchester, CT, USA." So, was Gilbert the maker of the movement? Or, might Gilbert have acquired the movement made by Owen? I can't, of course, rule out a 3rd party.

I do know of another instance where Gilbert used a movement also used by Owen while at 25 John Street. Here is an Owen iron front and its movement.

Iron Front.JPG Iron Front Mvmt Front.JPG Iron Front Mvmt Back.JPG

And here is a Gilbert Cottage No. 2 with the same movement. Tran's Gilbert book shows the Cottage No. 2 from the 1881 and 1885 catalogues. It could also have been offered several years earlier, I suppose.

Cottage No. 2.JPG Cottage No. 2 Mvmt Front.JPG Cottage No. 2 Mvmt Back.JPG
 

Steven Thornberry

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Since I have mentioned patents by George, I have decided to append a table of those patents that I have been able to find, 25 in all.

PatentsDateDescriptionNotes



D1541Feb. 18, 1862Clock Case
D1573May 6, 1862Clock Case
D1608June 17, 1862Clock CaseBulletin June 1999, Feb. 2001*
D1664Oct. 21, 1862Clock Case
D1674Nov. 11, 1862Clock Case
D1738Mar. 17, 1863Clock Case
D1879Jan. 5, 1864Clock Case
D2977Mar. 31, 1868Clock Case Front
D2978Mar. 31, 1868Clock Case Front
D3042May 12, 1868Clock Case
D3064June 2, 1868Clock Case
D3224Nov. 3, 1868Clock Case
D3337Jan. 12, 1869Clock Bell Stand
D3520June 1, 1869Clock Case
D3672Sept. 28, 1869Clock Case
D3815Jan. 11, 1870Clock Frame
D11474Oct. 28, 1879Clock-Dial Rims
US36105Aug. 5, 1862Improvement in Clock Cases
US54198Apr. 24, 1866Calendar ClockOwen listed as still in NYC
US212045Feb. 4, 1879Pendulum Adjustment
US216215June 3, 1879Lock-Work PatentBulletin, Dec. 1994
US248206Oct. 11, 1881Gong BellBulletin, June 1995
US256727Apr. 18, 1882Gong BellBulletin, June 1995
US287604Oct. 30, 1883Clock Pendulumwith I.B. Woodruff & H.W. Beecher
US294262Feb. 26, 1884Striking Mechanism for Clocks

* Clocks covered by Design Patent 1608 were mentioned in two Bulletin articles, June 1999, pp. 379-870, and Feb. 2001, pp. 107-108. However, the applicable patent had not been found. I do not know whether the patent was subsequently found and published in the Bulletin.
 
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TooManyClocks

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Steven,



Thanks for the history–I have an unrestored Owen and Clark ogee that I had basically no information on the company, and had just assumed Owen and Clark bought cases and movements from whoever they could and put their own label on the clocks. Based on what I'm reading here, it appears they may have been manufacturing at least some of their own materials.

Excellent material here; this is much more information than I'd been able to dig up, so thank you!

Also, in another thread below this one, I have another clock that may have some interesting relationships to Owen based on the case patent, S E Root Silas B. Terry and Gilbert Clock Company (or Atkins).

John

AF0EE092-6E17-4F1C-B15C-154EA7AEA8A7.jpeg FE636223-9685-4C0C-A746-D5C7A798C9B6.jpeg 52D6C561-4DD7-4056-88B4-064422384E31.jpeg 3E8FA67D-D1F0-4B93-951C-37051CB4D03E.jpeg
 

Steven Thornberry

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Steven,



Thanks for the history–I have an unrestored Owen and Clark ogee that I had basically no information on the company, and had just assumed Owen and Clark bought cases and movements from whoever they could and put their own label on the clocks. Based on what I'm reading here, it appears they may have been manufacturing at least some of their own materials.

Excellent material here; this is much more information than I'd been able to dig up, so thank you!

Also, in another thread below this one, I have another clock that may have some interesting relationships to Owen based on the case patent, S E Root Silas B. Terry and Gilbert Clock Company (or Atkins).

John

View attachment 651466 View attachment 651467 View attachment 651468 View attachment 651469
I appreciate your comments. I would not be surprised that Owen & Clark purchased and sold cases and movements from other sources, much like other NYC clockmakers/clock retailers. My own feeling is that Owen was one who may have manufactured his own cases and movements, certainly cases, just judging from his numerous case patents. The search goes on, and I am always ready to be proven wrong. Being wrong is a good way to learn something.
 

TooManyClocks

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As i was reading your info above, i kept looking at the Owen case design, and how it resembles a clock case I have, then I looked at the bezel. The case is at least similar except the base, but the bezel is identical to the one you referenced by S E Root in post #2 above , and carries the same patent date of May 10, 1859.

It has a ladder movement , and according to what I can gather from this NAWCC bulletin article Log In is likely a Gilbert (or possibly Atkins) ladder movement, with a design apparently by Silas B Terry if i’m reading things right—it does have the mainspring mounted on the outside back of the movement, and was interesting to work with while overhauling and reassembling the movement. I’d never seen anything like it before.

Otherwise, it’s a nice, unique, well running movement after a good cleaning, several bushings installed, and straightening two badly bent escape wheel teeth. I‘m reasonably sure someone uncaringly moved the clock around with the pendulum attached and swinging. The bent teeth were aligned with where the verge meets the teeth.

There isn’t enough of a surviving label for me to identify a manufacturer.

Thank you for leading me in the right direction with this earlier thread, https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/waterbury-cottage-clock.149269/ which clears up some misunderstandings I had about the clock‘s manufacture based on incorrect information I found online (not everything online is true?):rolleyes:

This is a tiny clock. Compare it’s size to the ogee in the above thread

John

Edit: this is a clock I got on the big online auction place. I paid about $42 for it, including shipping, with the movement unseen. I took a chance on it, and ended up with a nice little (ok, tiny) clock

E00FEA50-038D-4AFF-88CE-18EC0093D17D.jpeg 4A745864-292C-4259-8741-FF49039C02FB.jpeg 3AD8F920-A3AC-46E0-8CD0-81CA4ECE64BD.jpeg 744276B7-6492-4E1E-8A67-91BC79B2904C.jpeg C539E937-8630-4462-9BD4-3D72850690EA.jpeg E7C1FBB1-2E69-496C-8302-BC7D6749540F.jpeg 486A1CC4-5723-4964-AB51-B15D77A681AE.jpeg E727F736-E089-4DC3-805F-9E5DC4422E33.jpeg
 
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Steven Thornberry

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I appreciate your comments. I would not be surprised that Owen & Clark purchased and sold cases and movements from other sources, much like other NYC clockmakers/clock retailers. My own feeling is that Owen was one who may have manufactured his own cases and movements, certainly cases, just judging from his numerous case patents. The search goes on, and I am always ready to be proven wrong. Being wrong is a good way to learn something.
I forgot to mention in this regard a recent thread on a steeple clock with an apparently original New Haven movement and a George Owen label.

George B Owen Steeple clock | NAWCC Forums
 

Steven Thornberry

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As i was reading your info above, i kept looking at the Owen case design, and how it resembles a clock case I have, then I looked at the bezel. The case is at least similar except the base, but the bezel is identical to the one you referenced by S E Root in post #2 above , and carries the same patent date of May 10, 1859.

It has a ladder movement , and according to what I can gather from this NAWCC bulletin article Log In is likely a Gilbert (or possibly Atkins) ladder movement, with a design apparently by Silas B Terry if i’m reading things right—it does have the mainspring mounted on the outside back of the movement, and was interesting to work with while overhauling and reassembling the movement. I’d never seen anything like it before.

Otherwise, it’s a nice, unique, well running movement after a good cleaning, several bushings installed, and straightening two badly bent escape wheel teeth. I‘m reasonably sure someone uncaringly moved the clock around with the pendulum attached and swinging. The bent teeth were aligned with where the verge meets the teeth.

There isn’t enough of a surviving label for me to identify a manufacturer.

Thank you for leading me in the right direction with this earlier thread, https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/waterbury-cottage-clock.149269/ which clears up some misunderstandings I had about the clock‘s manufacture based on incorrect information I found online (not everything online is true?):rolleyes:

This is a tiny clock. Compare it’s size to the ogee in the above thread

John

Edit: this is a clock I got on the big online auction place. I paid about $42 for it, including shipping, with the movement unseen. I took a chance on it, and ended up with a nice little (ok, tiny) clock

View attachment 651479 View attachment 651491 View attachment 651492 View attachment 651506 View attachment 651508 View attachment 651509 View attachment 651510 View attachment 651511
Compare your clock to the round top shown in the following post. Mini Cottage Clocks | NAWCC Forums
It is said to be a Gilbert, and knowing inbeat, that is likely correct. The case is quite similar, though it appears to have a different dial. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the movement, but a ladder movement is not out of the question. I don't know how it compares in height to yours.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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As i was reading your info above, i kept looking at the Owen case design, and how it resembles a clock case I have, then I looked at the bezel. The case is at least similar except the base, but the bezel is identical to the one you referenced by S E Root in post #2 above , and carries the same patent date of May 10, 1859.

It has a ladder movement , and according to what I can gather from this NAWCC bulletin article Log In is likely a Gilbert (or possibly Atkins) ladder movement, with a design apparently by Silas B Terry if i’m reading things right—it does have the mainspring mounted on the outside back of the movement, and was interesting to work with while overhauling and reassembling the movement. I’d never seen anything like it before.

Otherwise, it’s a nice, unique, well running movement after a good cleaning, several bushings installed, and straightening two badly bent escape wheel teeth. I‘m reasonably sure someone uncaringly moved the clock around with the pendulum attached and swinging. The bent teeth were aligned with where the verge meets the teeth.

There isn’t enough of a surviving label for me to identify a manufacturer.

Thank you for leading me in the right direction with this earlier thread, https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/waterbury-cottage-clock.149269/ which clears up some misunderstandings I had about the clock‘s manufacture based on incorrect information I found online (not everything online is true?):rolleyes:

This is a tiny clock. Compare it’s size to the ogee in the above thread

John

Edit: this is a clock I got on the big online auction place. I paid about $42 for it, including shipping, with the movement unseen. I took a chance on it, and ended up with a nice little (ok, tiny) clock

View attachment 651479 View attachment 651491 View attachment 651492 View attachment 651506 View attachment 651508 View attachment 651509 View attachment 651510 View attachment 651511
Your version of the ladder movement was made by Gilbert. I have had mini steeples, cottage clocks and miniature cottage clocks with that movement. When SBT went bankrupt in 1859, Gilbert brought him to Winstead, CT to supervise his movement shop. Clearly shows SBT's influence. They do turn up with a certain frequency. Often referred to as a "double" ladder movement.

The article you linked to shows a version of that with a tacked on alarm movement.

For other examples, see the "Gilbert" thread:

Gilbert Clocks | NAWCC Forums

Scroll down to posting # 54 for some other cottages with that movement.

RM
 

TooManyClocks

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Compare your clock to the round top shown in the following post. Mini Cottage Clocks | NAWCC Forums
It is said to be a Gilbert, and knowing inbeat, that is likely correct. The case is quite similar, though it appears to have a different dial. Unfortunately, there is no picture of the movement, but a ladder movement is not out of the question. I don't know how it compares in height to yours.
Thank you for digging that up! I doubt i would have found that on my own. Agreed the dial is different, and it appears the dial wasn’t mounted in quite the same place when comparing the photos. The hands on mine are a generic vintage replacement that came with the clock. They’re an odd size, but hopefully sometime some more appropriate hands can be located.

Mine is 10 5/8 inches tall. It just seems little set next to any other clock. It would seem according to one of the threads you referenced there are subminiature cottage clocks that are 9 inches or less, so it just seems very small to me.

I lifted the image from the earlier thread (inbeat’s) to put the two similar clock photos here for comparison. Likely the same case, but not the dial. Presumably still Gilbert, based on movement identification as Gilbert’s

Also for no real reason is a photo attached comparing this clock size with a New Haven cottage clock, and an Ingraham Venetian clock

Thanks again!

John

5A2ED58A-1B1B-498E-BDED-1E0524765718.jpeg F29A1EED-7113-4EDA-8917-B0FD7D457AAE.jpeg F2DC4AF9-6314-4560-85C3-42C0D3587A27.jpeg
 

TooManyClocks

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Your version of the ladder movement was made by Gilbert. I have had mini steeples, cottage clocks and miniature cottage clocks with that movement. When SBT went bankrupt in 1859, Gilbert brought him to Winstead, CT to supervise his movement shop. Clearly shows SBT's influence. They do turn up with a certain frequency. Often referred to as a "double" ladder movement.

The article you linked to shows a version of that with a tacked on alarm movement.

For other examples, see the "Gilbert" thread:

Gilbert Clocks | NAWCC Forums

Scroll down to posting # 54 for some other cottages with that movement.

RM
Thank you for that information as well!
I have to admit to reading through the Bulletin link Steven provided a little too quickly before I replied the first time, so it seemed a good idea to go back and re-read it more carefully later. With that and your information, a lot of the uncertainty and curiosity about this unusual movement style I’ve had has been answered.

I’m just guessing the reason for producing movements of this style was to save on brass. That would presume wood and maybe labor was much cheaper, considering the additional wood blocking and mounting required to mount this movement style in the case and hold the mainspring in place.

John
 

T.Cu

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So interesting to read about these connections, thanks Steven and others. What a fabulous way to get information.
 

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