Ansonia Seeking Model / Casting Identity for this Ansonia Iron Front

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by FatrCat, Jul 30, 2020.

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  1. FatrCat

    FatrCat Registered User
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    Jun 20, 2020
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    Greetings All,
    Hoping that possibly someone out there may know a little something more about this clock than what I've managed to coax out of it, primarily trying to nail down a model name or casting identification and maker. I've searched many hours so far through Google, several digital libraries, NAWCC bulletins, etc. and thus far this one has eluded me.

    First, here's what I do know about it-
    It's an Ansonia, or was originally built with an Ansonia movement, and everything found about the clock physically says this is the original movement it was made / sold with. No signs it has ever been altered. It's an 8-days T&S mechanism, counting chime on the hour, and once cleaned it became a very eager-to-run little movement that sometimes has come back to life and running again 20-30 minutes after having purposely stopped it, so it would seem to be in excellent running condition; a nice plus.

    The clock's basic dimensions are 12 inches wide X 13 inches tall overall, with the commonly used 4-1/2 inch dial face / 5-1/2 inch wide brass/glass face bezel. The dial face looks to be the original, but has no makers mark or dating visible at all, and the brass bezel is equally void of any provenance.

    It's an "iron front" clock, so if sold originally under the Ansonia name it was manufactured between 1854 and 1870. The movement is marked 'Ansonia Clock Co Ansonia Conn U.S.A., putting the movement date between 1850 and 1883. The movement plates being fastened together with square-edged taper pins, and the wood section of the case using square sided nails all definitely point towards a manufacture date of pre-1870.

    No label was present on the clock's case, however, in doing several very thorough inspections of the case using different types of lighting, I did manage to find evidence of a label possibly once being present on the cabinet back, appearing to have been oval-shaped. This would suggest it was sold/labeled under the Ansonia Brass & Battery Company name used 1854-1869.

    Also discovered on the back panel near the top right edge I found a number that was scribed onto the wood: 26212. (Shown in the ansirnfrt4 image under 3 types of light) Significant I think, because while there are several ink and pencil notes present on the back, this is the only marking which was made by scribe, and also made more carefully, small, and aligned to the edge. If perhaps Ansonia (or whomever) were to have been using a serial/dating system similar to that of Seth Thomas, 26212 would translate to mean February 12, 1862, making perfect sense and pinning down the date solidly. (For many of us today, it immediately rings of being a zip code, but this is an old marking, not a newer scrawl, and at that time we had no zip codes, and even today it's not a valid zip for the U.S.A. although there is a 26212 zip code in Spain. Nor does anything point to it's being a telephone number. Ooooh, or perhaps it was the combination to a hidden safe, lol. For now anyway, I'm staying with it's likely being a mfg. date)

    As to the iron casting, to me it definitely has the 'look' of having been a Muller casting design, with many aspects of the artistic style and overall "theming" very much akin to known Muller works from that period, tending often to have a theme rooted in a realistic depiction of 'everyday life'; more dogs and mice- less cherubs. This one looks to at least partially be reflective of .....a vegetable garden:???: At the sides of the base there seems to be peas in pods, and is that supposed to be an onion at front center?? Possibly flanked by two carrots, lol? Wouldn't that say this clock was made to be put in the kitchen? Joking aside, the trouble is there doesn't appear to be a single marking anywhere on the casting that denotes it's maker. Not under the dial bezel, and nothing located anywhere on the back, nor "hidden" (as some artists do) amongst the details on the front.

    Any help in clearing up the mystery of this Tic Toc Garden Veggie Clock would be welcomed and I promise to eat all the spinach and brussell sprouts for a month for anyone that can provide any answers to this one. :eek::p David

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  2. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    So far as I can tell, the only thing definitely Ansonia about this clock is the movement. The name on the movement suggests that it is 1878 to the early 1880's, when Ansonia adopted its well-known arch-top movement. Ansonia could have supplied the movement to another entity, such as the American Clock Co., which existed from 1850 to 1864 and again from 1864 to 1879. It is also not impossible that the case is a holdover from the Ansonia Brass & Copper Co., which was folded into the (second) Ansonia Clock Co. when it was incorporated January 1, 1878. The Ansonia Brass & Copper catalogue from 1874 shows several example of metal clocks and cast metal front clocks. There may be other explanations; without a label it just guesswork unless someone can positively identify the clock. I did not find it in Tran Duy Ly's book on Ansonia clocks. I also have not been able to identify the metal front as a Muller casting.

    The 26212 is not a date but most likely some sort of inventory number or repairman's number.
     
  3. FatrCat

    FatrCat Registered User
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    Thanks, Steve-
    Lacking any casting number or signature I have my doubts of it actually being Muller myself. More likely a "copycat" knock-off of some sort. Still, hoping I'll eventually figure it out.
     
  4. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    While the case may be reminiscent of Muller's themes, I find the execution to be... less organic. Compare it with my Muller 143 (You can see the number engraved at about the 5 O'clock under the bezel area). I find that mine has a much more freehand look to it. Looking at the arch across the top, the spacing from the tops of the bumps to the top edge of the arch varies. The wings slightly above the 3 and 9 are mostly symmetric, but if you look closely the details are not and these also look freehand. And the bouquet is not symmetric.

    On your clock's case it looks much more mechanical, almost not like it was carved by hand. Assuming it was carved by hand they went though much more effort to precisely size everything as if that was their goal. I tend to like Muller's execution for its not perfect, but man-made imperfections. It's weird how some people have a knack for making technical imperfections look appealing here and in some great art - think Impressionists.

    I am not an expert, and I suppose the craftsmanship could have changed over time, but I don't think it is a Muller. I do think your garden / fruits of the earth theme is a correct interpretation. At least they aren't painted bright colors, which I've seen.

    Tom

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  5. FatrCat

    FatrCat Registered User
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    Thanks, Tom-
    Another side of the 'perfection' thought to consider on items such as these, and one that I've no doubt played quite a large role 150-200 years ago would be condition of the molds being used. Molds for casting pewter alloys and other metals were very likely to have seen a lot of use, and a lot of damage. And molds that get damaged and repaired over and over begin to lose detail, and balance which they may have originally had. This, too, would be a potential factor.

    The "garden" theme had somehow struck me as being somewhat "goofy", but I guess when you think about it 40 or 50 years later what were we doing? We were making wall clocks to look like animated cats with swinging tails and rolling eyes; clockmakers from the late 1800's would likely have thought us "goofy", too, lol.
     
  6. gleber

    gleber Registered User

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    Yes, that true about the molds and something to consider. I imagine first one off the line looked quite a bit different from later ones - at least up close.

    And I agree about "goofy." Society and work-life was much more agriculturally based so a garden theme would be something everyone would relate to personally. It's good to remember context when discussing the markets, trade, styles, technology and economics of clocks.

    Tom
     

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