Ithaca Grandfather clocks
Ithaca Grandfather clocks are antique tall case clocks manufactured by the Ithaca Clock Company between 1898 and 1917.
Background and Description
The Ithaca Clock Company were established in 1865 to manufacture clocks with a calendar mechanism. The great years of prosperity for the Ithaca company were between 1875 and 1900. By 1898 they had added a floor-standing non-calendar clock to their offerings, the Ithaca tall case, or Grandfather clock. This was manufactured until the company went bankrupt in 1917.
Ithaca Grandfather clocks were offered as a gift in a promotional coupon redemption program by S&H Green Shield Stamps.
The Ithaca company did not make their own movements for these Grandfather clocks, but employed inexpensive spring or weight -driven Connecticut-made movements, such as those of Gilbert or Welch. Usually these movements would be left unmarked.
The clocks are sometimes considered a copycat of the Gilbert Hall Clock No. 24. However, this is not the case. Gilbert and Ithaca traded back and forth with movements and clock cases respectively, so this is why often the Gilbert clocks look so similar: because Ithaca produced the cases for them.
They were produced in several different grades, using varying qualities of material. For example some were made of cherry, and some of oak. The squared dial is often decorated with flowers in the corners, and often had brass or wood surface trim pieces, and three brass or wood finials. The doors could be either bevelled or flat glass. They had a long pendulum.
Collecting Ithaca Grandfather clocks
These are considered less collectible than the Ithaca Double Dial Calendar clocks. However, they do have a niche devout following.
Almost every Ithaca Grandfather clock will have a pencilled-in notation behind the dial, on the right side of the bonnet, stating the date of production and the production number in that year.
It was common at the time of manufacture for any clock factory in the Connecticut area to agree to manufacture any model of clock, for a customer willing to pay. Therefore there are a number of undocumented ‘Ithaca’ Grandfather clocks not made by Ithaca. Care must be taken to ensure an example is genuine.
Spring-driven Grandfather clocks require maintenance to continue to run smoothly. There are a few companies that are specifically geared towards restoring and repairing Ithaca clocks. One is the Ithaca Calendar Clock Company, Inc. in Newfield N.Y. 14867. They continue to manufacture a few new clocks and sell refurbished Ithaca calendar clocks, and parts.
Often pieces have been replaced, especially the glass. It can affect the value as to whether all original parts remain, such as all three finials, generally brass or wood, which are often missing or damaged, and the surface trim pieces.
They can be found at estate auctions, antique stores, even at flea markets. They are occasionally offered on auction websites such as eBay, however, they are large, heavy, delicate objects, so difficult and expensive to ship.
Ithaca Grandfather clocks generally sell for between $400 and $1,000 in good condition, between $100-$300 in bad condition.