Do you have a passion for antique clocks? If so, you’ll want to learn more about the New Haven Clock Company and the beautiful clocks they manufactured. In this article, we’ll look at the company’s history, some of the most famous clocks, where to get them, and how to know if you have an authentic one in your possession.
History of the New Haven Clock Company
Let’s first look at a brief history of one of the most prominent clock manufacturers of its time.
The New Haven Clock Company was founded in 1850 by Hiram Camp and a few other watchmakers in the New Haven, Connecticut, area. The company’s plan was to mass produce brass clock movements for Camp’s uncle, Chauncy Jerome, who owned the nearby Jerome Manufacturing Company.
When the New Haven Clock Company bought Jerome’s company a few years later, they continued the work of building great clocks. In fact, New Haven’s clocks and non-jeweled pocket watches became known for their high-quality by the 1880s.
And that wasn’t the only thing they were famous for. One of the men who ran the company during this time, Walter Camp, was also considered the father of American football. While working at the clock company, he also served as a member of the National Football Rules Committee and is the reason behind many of the rules we use in American football today.
The 19th century was a good and profitable time for the company. Then they pressed forward and created a lot of beautiful work over the years, even spanning out into wristwatches. They surprisingly survived the Great Depression and transitioned their work to support the war effort of World War II.
However, they saw a dramatic downturn in their company in the 1950’s, in 1960, they unfortunately had to file for bankruptcy and sell pieces of their company in private negotiation, thus closing their doors for good.
How Do I Identify My Antique New Haven Clock?
Now that we know a bit more about New Haven Clock Company and its history, let’s look at how to identify their amazing clocks.
If you’re not sure if the clock you have is indeed a New Haven, don’t worry! We can help you figure it out.
By far, the main way to tell if you have a New Haven clock is by looking for the label. New Haven often placed the company’s name boldly across the dial. A paper label can also be found inside the case or on the clock’s back.
When they first started out, they used “Jerome & Co.” on their label, since that name was much more well-known. Eventually, though, they grew so well known that they began putting “New Haven Clock Co.” on the label instead. So, discovering the name on the clock could give you a ballpark idea of when the clock was made.
When clockmakers produced clock movements, they would sign their name to them. Knowing the makers associated with New Haven’s clocks could give you an idea if your clock is indeed a New Haven Clock Company original or if it’s a reproduction.
A Reputable, Knowledgeable Dealer
While the company label and the maker’s name are sometimes good indicators, they can also give you information that is incorrect or misleading.
For example, you don’t always know if the movement within the clock is the original movement or if it had been replaced years later during a restoration. Also, a clock’s paper label could have been damaged and lost, or taken off one clock to be pasted another (lookalike) clock in order to sell at a higher price.
A reputable and knowledgeable dealer can tell you if your clock is authentic or if it’s a reproduction. But if a dealer is devious, he or she may try to mislead you, so it’s important to find a trustworthy, reliable one–and one that knows a lot about antique clocks!
If you’re still not sure if you have a New Haven clock, you can always take it to an appraiser or antiques dealer for help, or check around on a reputable antique clock identification website to learn more.
How Much Are New Haven Clocks Worth?
The value of New Haven clocks can vary greatly depending on the age, condition, style, and type of clock. For example, a simple wall clock from the 1950s may only be worth a few hundred dollars (or less), while an ornate grandfather clock or tall case clock from the 1880s could be worth several thousand.
It just really depends! That’s where it’s a great idea to check online auction websites as well as speak with a knowledgeable and trustworthy dealer. The more avenues you take, the more likely you’ll be to get an accurate valuation of the clock in your possession.
What are the most famous New Haven clocks?
Although the New Haven Clock Company is no longer in business, their clocks are still sought after by clock collectors. In fact, many of the world’s most famous and expensive clocks were made by New Haven. They were a very prominent company back then.
New Haven produced several different types of clocks over the years. Here are a few types they produced:
Banjo clocks are some of the most distinctive wall clocks, first created in 1802. Designed with a long, narrow face and often with an ornate wood case and glass, these beautiful clocks were quickly added to New Haven’s collection of products.
New Haven grandfather clocks or tall case clocks are tall and have a stately look about them. They were designed to be heirloom pieces that could be passed down from generation to generation.
A type of clock rarely made by other companies, the calendar clock was a unique spin on clocks. They not only told time, but they also were also often a double-dial, meaning they had two dials on the front, one that showed the day of the week, month, and date.
Flying Pendulum Clock
One of New Haven’s most iconic clocks, the Ignatz, or the flying pendulum, clock was first introduced in 1884. These clocks were designed with a long ball-likc pendulum that “flew” through the air like a tetherball rather than simply swinging back and forth like a traditional escapement.
These were only produced for about a year, so they are quite sought after by clock collectors.
They produced so many types of clocks (not to mention the non-jeweled pocket watches and wristwatches!). In addition to the ones listed above, they also manufactured these types of clocks:
- Shelf clocks
- China clocks
- Statue clocks
Where Can You Get Antique New Haven Clocks?
You’ve learned a lot about New Haven clocks throughout this article! Perhaps now you’re interested in collecting them, or at least picking one up for your fireplace mantle. They really are stunning enough to purchase and use.
If that’s the case, you may be wondering where you can find them. Here are a few places to look:
Online Auctions and Marketplaces
Many New Haven clocks can be found for sale on online auction websites, like Ebay and on online marketplaces that sell antiques, like Etsy. These places are a great place to start your search, but be sure to do your research before bidding or buying!
Another option is to visit your local antique stores. Sometimes these stores will have New Haven clocks for sale. However, the prices can vary greatly and you’ll want to do your research to know if the dealer is knowledgeable and reputable. It’s also important to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase, if you can.
There are also many clock dealers, both online and off, who specialize in New Haven clocks. These dealers usually have a wide selection of New Haven clocks available, and they may also be able to help you with any questions you have.
When it comes to buying and collecting New Haven clocks, there are many options available.
Now You Know All About the New Haven Clock Company
New Haven clocks are beautiful, collectible pieces that can range in value from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. They come in many different styles, including grandfather clocks, wall clocks, and calendar clocks, and their manufacturer’s history is a wonderfully interesting one.
If you’re interested in collecting New Haven clocks, or even just owning one, there are many places you can look for them, but be sure to do your research before making any purchase, so you know you’re getting a fair price!
New Haven clocks are a great addition to any collection, and their beauty is sure to enhance any home. You won’t regret purchasing one of these!
Which is your favorite type of New Haven clock? Let us know in the comments below.