The Seth Thomas - bottom bell "Ships Bell" (the clocks proper name)
is considered by many to be the 'Classic' American ship's clock. This may be the oldest example of the famous "Ships
Bell" bottom bell clock from 1879 that on the market. It is running like a charm and strikes the ship's bells
with a distinctive ring. They were used in vessels ranging from yachts to battleships! As the U.S. Navy's official timekeeper,
a Seth Thomas clock exactly like this one was on board the USS Maine when she was sunk. The clock was recovered was recovered
from the wreck and presented to Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was Secretary of the Navy.
Note that the face does not have the imprint "PAT NOV 4 1879". Since patents
customarily run for 14 years, that would indicate that museum's clock was made after expiration or sometime after 1893.
Conversely, it means that this example was made between 1879 -1893. The label as discussed below narrows the date down to
1879 or 1880. After careful research, this is the only clock of this type we have seen with the patent imprint.
Few of the early examples have survived in the fine original condition of this example
with the original manufacture's label on the reverse as shown here. The Tomaston, CT label was in use by the company,
1870 - 1880.
The clock strikes Ship's Bells through a double strike system marking off the series of four
hour watches that make up the sailor's day. Each four hour watch is divided into half hour periods tolled from one through
eight bells. When the chiming gets out of sequence the clock has a lever that makes it easier to coordinate the chime
sequence with the time with out moving the hands.
The lever escapement balance wheel used in this clock was developed in the late 1870s and
continued in production through the 1920s. During its production this model was modified a number of times which results in
there being several variations on the market. The clock runs for two days. For best accuracy it should be wound daily.
The design came from the factory mostly with a polished brass case. (later some were
offered with a nickel finish) This example has a patina acquired over 120 years or more. The dial shows some evidence
of minor corrosion, but retains 95% of its silver and original blued steel hands. The Roman numerals have been silk-screened
in place rather than being etched as in later clocks. The clock is in fine mechanical condition with a fine bell tone. It is
mounted on its original wooden backboard which has some small pieces of veneer missing, front and back.
This clock is for a discerning collector who can appreciate it being one of the oldest
and prehaps the finest running examples of this design in the world.