A rarely seen example of a large size ships clock
which has been in the service on board the four masted 1917 Schooner La Merced now part of a breakwaterPresented is a Seth Thomas clock off the Schooner La Merced mounted on a Mahogany
plaque with descriptive engraved brass plate. The hulk of this wooden schooner now lies on the shore of the
Guemes Channel in Puget Sound near Anacortes, WA. She was built in 1917. The vessel was laid up to form part of a breakwater
in 1931, and is now listed in the National Register as a historically significant vessel.The clock has the early brass open movement with many
of the characteristics of the 1.243 – 1.241 movement and is without any markings as is found only on early production. Note
the pins holding the movement to the pillar posts and the spade shaped hands to their arbor. In later movements screws were
used. Consequently, this clock may date from as early as1850, but more likely around 1880.Note that the winding arbor is just under
the three o’clock position which is almost the exact same place that Seth Thomas’ Bottom Bell Ship’s clock has it positioned.
It is likely that this design later gave birth to that classic which was introduced in 1878. This is only the second clock
of this type and design we have seen and is likely to be one of the oldest movements of this type clock available.
CONDITION: This example is in original condition as can be imagined with a nearly un-blemished face and a movement that
shows as recently cleaned. The clock is running like a charm. Its face is marked Made in the U.S.A. at the
bottom center. It is without a maker’s name on the face or identification on the movement. The cartridge brass case has a
few minor dents and abrasions, and much of its nickel plating has been polished away by 127 years of service. Its
age is indicated only by the movement’s design and the patina of its case. DIMENSIONS:
3/4″ Diameter of Dial 3
7″ Full Diameter
Weight 2 lbs 10 oz
Face in good condition
Open Movement Without Markings
Note Upper Left, Bottom Right
GUARANTY OF SATISFACTION: We guarantee that this clock
will be working on arrival and that our description is entirely accurate or your money back. The only conditions are that
an email authorization be obtained within three days, and that the instrument is returned in its original condition and packaging,
and insured for its full value. Unfortunately, shipping charges are not included in this offer and are non-refundable unless
we are at fault. This does not affect our policy on shipping damage which is discussed below.
We take great care
in packaging our clocks for shipment which includes bubble wrap, placing in a box, and then placing in a larger box surrounded
by impact absorbent material. However, we are not responsible, once it is turned over to the carrier. Full Value insurance
is required. In the event of damage due to shipping we will assist you in all respects
even to filing a claim in your behalf.
Seth Thomas is perhaps the most widely known name in American clockmaking. He made his fortune producing first wood and then
brass clocks. When he died, he was probably one of the wealthiest men in Connecticut. Thomas was born August 19, 1785
the son of a cooper. In 1799 he began an apprentice with Daniel Tuttle, a joiner in Plymouth, CT. He married Tuttle’s niece,
Philenda, in 1808 after completing his training.
Around 1807 he and Silas Hoadley went to work for Eli Terry who had undertaken
to make 4,000 wood tall clock movements. In 1810, Terry sold the business to Thomas & Hoadley and they continued manufacturing
30 hour and 8-day wood movements until December 1813 when Thomas sold his interest to Hoadley. A few days after selling out
to Hoadley Thomas bought a clock factory in Plymouth, Connecticut for $1,500.00 and he continued to make tall case clocks
under his own name.
The development of the shelf clock by Eli Terry in 1814 was a landmark in clockmaking
history and Thomas bought the rights to produce it in the box style and pillar and scroll style. By the 1830s Thomas had discontinued
the pillar and scroll in favor of 8-day models.
By the 1840s, Thomas was ready to start producing the cheap 30-hour brass clock being
made by Chauncey Jerome. He sent his nephew, Marcus Prince, to Bristol to learn how to make the movement. Seth Thomas was
apparently known for not changing his product or mode of production unless forced to do so by competition. The brass movement
was obviously going to replace the wood movement and by 1845 Thomas had phased out manufacturing wood movements altogether.
It is likely that all of Thomas’ early brass clocks were housed in ogee cases and by 1850 Thomas was producing 24,000 brass
clocks a year, valued at $60,000.00.
In 1853 Thomas established the Seth Thomas Clock Company, a joint stock corporation,
which would assure continuity of operation after his death. He died in 1859 at the age of 73 in the town of Plymouth Hollow.
Six years after Thomas’ death in 1865 the town of Plymouth Hollow was renamed Thomaston in honor of his memory.The Seth
Thomas Clock Company continued operation until 1931 when it became a division of General Time Instrument Corporation and was
renamed General Time Corporation. In 1932 Seth E. Thomas Jr. (Seth Thomas’ grandson) died and for the first time since it
was founded the Seth Thomas family no longer had control of the company. However, the Seth Thomas plant at Thomaston remained
in operation until 1982 when the operation (then owned by Talley Industries) moved to Georgia.
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