The Ansonia Clock Company was a US clock manufacturing company that was etablished in 1851.
It is perhaps best known for a series of unusual variants such as figurine clocks and swing clocks. It also produced statue clocks, black iron mantel clocks and china cased clocks.
The history of the Ansonia Clock Company can be traced to the Ansonia Brass Company, which was established by Anson Green Phelps in the year 1844.
For a time Phelps supplied brass to several Connecticut-based watchmakers. Phelps’ fortune however began to change when he was able to strike a deal with two highly respected watchmakers, Franklin C. Andrews and Theodore Terry. He would supply the two with cheap brass materials in exchange for half of the total shares of their highly successful Bristol based clock making business. This partnership paved the way for the formation of the Ansonia Clock Company in 1851.
Ansonia clocks are mostly eight day movements and only need to be wound once every week. In 1875, Ansonia came up with a new type of clock which lights up whenever it alarms. This 30-hour spring driven alarm clock had a walnut case and used a match-wick mechanism.
Ansonia produced a wide array of clocks including miniature ogee shelf alarm clocks, beehive shelf clocks, regulator clocks, and mantel clocks in intricate china cases. Ansonia was also known for its novelty products, such as swinging clocks that featured figurines.
In July 1853, Ansonia participated in the New York World’s Fair, where it was able to showcase its mother of pearl decorated cast-iron clocks.
In the 1870s, the Ansonia Clock Company broke off from the Ansonia Brass Company and then transferred some of its production facilities in New York. Though the company still produced watches in Connecticut, there were far more people working in Ansonia’s New York factory.
Disaster struck in 1880 when the company’s New York facility burned down. Ansonia however was able to quickly bounce back and in the same year built a new factory in the same site where its original New York factory once stood.
In 1883, the company closed down its Connecticut production facility and by the late 1880s, opened new sales offices in Chicago, London, and New York.
In 1904, Ansonia further expanded their product line and began making inexpensive unadorned wristwatches. Production was at its highest in 1914, with the company producing 440 various models of clocks. But by 1920 this figure had been cut down to less than 140, and got even worse in 1927, with Ansonia producing less than 50 models.
Amtorg Trading Corporation, the US trading firm of the Soviet Union bought Ansonia in 1929. In 1969, the Ansonia Clock Co., Inc. of Lynnwood, Washington was able to buy the rights to the Ansonia brand and trademarks.
The Ansonia Clock Company produced a wide array of clocks including galley clocks, mantel clocks, alarm clocks, regulator wall clocks, carriage clocks, cabinet clocks, and clocks with crystal regulators. Examples of materials that the company used in making clocks are onyx, porcelain, marble and china.
Ansonia clock cases were mostly made of wood such as rosewood and mahogany.
Popularity of Ansonia clocks among collectors, and value
Ansonia clocks are popular with clock enthusiasts but are not particularly rare, which ensures that many are available for relatively modest sums, although the most desirable pieces can achieve five figures.
Turn of the century Ansonia black marble mantel clocks can be purchased for as little as £50.
An Ansonia Jewellers Regulator clock from the late 1870s achieved $18,000 at a Tom Harris sale in the US in May 2007.
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