Antique Mantel Clocks
Mantel clocks are reletively small clocks which can be placed on mantelpieces of shelves.
Mantel clocks are considered among the most acquired timepieces during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the past, people bought this clock not only for use as a house decoration, but also as a form of investment, believing that it will increase in value over time. Like wall clocks, mantel clocks also use a regulator pendulum.
In the 1790s, Simon Willard a famous clock maker at that time, promoted mantel clocks in Massachusetts. Boston thus occupies a special place in history for being the first place in the US where mantel clocks were first sold. However, it was Eli Terry of Connecticut who made the mass production of these clocks possible in the 19th century.
However, France is regarded as the birthplace of mantel clocks. French mantel clocks are normally made from a combination of porcelain, wood and ormolu (which is bronze with 7% gold). A common design in early mantel clocks is a group of small angels, which is why these clocks were also called cherub clocks.
Mantel clocks were named such because they were designed to be displayed on shelves or mantels. They also typically would have intricate and carved designs and built in calendars.
For two centuries, mantel clocks remained popular because of their dependability and aesthetic appeal.
Types of mantel clocks
French mantel clocks are usually attractive and stylish compared to unadorned American mantel clocks. American clocks on the other hand make use of wood with bronze or gilt as decorations.
Many mantel clocks made by the Ansonia Clock Company are made of porcelain and featured images of flowers on the front surface. The company also made a number of carved clocks that showcased sculptures and figurines. Figural clocks are a popular style of mantel clock, particularly if they come in a fashionable design style such as Art Deco.
Elaborate carvings with even, silky lines were the hallmarks of Seth Thomas clocks. These 19th clocks were made of ornately colored wood and for its time, looked modern in appearance.
In the 1840s another mantel clock called the ogee clock was introduced. It was characterized by “S”-like carvings in its molding. This clock was very popular during that era that many timekeeping companies found it very profitable to produce their own line or variation of the ogee.
Another type of mantel clock is the steeple clock, which was created by Elias Ingraham. This clock has a triangle front and column-like sides which resembles a church steeple. This clock inspired other mantle clock design variations such as the double steeple and beehive.
Where to buy mantel clocks
There are many places where you can find vintage mantel clocks for sale such as house clearances, charity shops, internet stores, antique clock shops, auctions, car-boot and yard sales. These clocks however are not as cheap to collect as other antique clocks. On the upside, they are highly saleable and if you know what to look for you can easily find a nice clock on the cheap, refurbish it, and sell it for a good price.