Ingraham clocks are collectible clocks manufactured by Connecticut clock maker Elias Ingraham. The Ingraham Company are famed for the high quality of their case design and are extremely popular with clock collectors.
From the 1830s, Elias Ingraham worked in a number of partnerships and for a range of companies, producing clock cases. He then established his own firm, and began making clocks under the Ingraham name.
Elias Ingraham was pioneering as a clock manufacturer in his time, as while generally it was clockworks, wheels, springs, escapements and mechanisms etc that were patented by designers, Ingraham focused instead on the cases of the clocks. He won 17 patents between 1853 and 1873, all concerned with the physical appearance of the clock’s casing. This really made him stand out from his competitors.
Ingraham patented an innovative technique of applying black enamel paint to clock cases to give a smooth and shiny finish. This helped popularise the black mantel clocks of the late 1800s – early 1900s, and many companies imitated this process.
Up until 1890, the company only produced pendulum clocks. During the 1890s, they branched out into lever escapement time clocks and alarm clocks. They kept up with the latest technological advances and manufacturing methods.
Ingraham’s son took over the company in 1885, expanding into pocket watch production in the early 20th century.
Following a difficult period during and after the second world war, the company branched out into electric clocks and watches and still makes clocks today, in small numbers.
Guide to Collecting
Clocks that bear the Ingraham name were made by several different manifestations of the company, which began as Ray and Ingraham from 1841 – 1844, Brewster and Ingrahams from 1844-1852, then the E. And A. Ingrahams Company until 1856, Elias Ingraham and Company from 1857-1860, then E. Ingraham and Company until 1880, E. Ingraham & Company until 1884, and finally The E. Ingraham Company from 1885. These changing names, generally labelled on the clock somewhere, are very helpful in dating an Ingraham clock.
The company produced more than 120 different clock designs, including Doric, Grecian, Ionic, Western Union, Oriental. These were in the form of Gothic, banjo clocks, shelf clocks, mantel clocks and wall clocks.
The elegant ‘figure 8’ door design was one of the company’s greatest hallmarks, patented in 1857.
Ingraham clocks, so innovative for their time, continue to be popular with collectors. Their value depends on the age and condition, and the historical significance of the design.
Ingraham clocks can be found at auction, through specialist dealers, on eBay, and in second hand and antique stores.