Presented is a superb and extremely rare example of the famous Seth Thomas Outside Top Bell Ships
clock from when it was first introduced around the Turn of the 20th Century. While one of the most decorative ship’s clocks ever designed, the Seth Thomas ‘Outside Top Bell’ was intended
for real work. Consequently, relatively few have survived the effects of rough usage, years at sea, and salt water corrosion
to come down to today’s collector in the fine condition of this example.
these Top Bell clocks also referred to as “Yacht” clocks are rarely seen except in books and catalogs. We are proud to
have sold the original bottom bell clock by this maker that had a patent dated Nov 4, 1879. The bottom bell clocks were produced
from that date until the mid 1950’s and have become ubiquitous, and are not much in demand. Not so the top bell clock which
is considered the rarest of the ‘Classic’ American ship’s clock. Few of
these true working ship’s clocks have survived in the original condition of this example or are anywhere near this age.
These very handsome
clocks strike ‘Ship’s Bells’ through a double strike system which is unique to Seth Thomas and makes a most distinctive sound.
They were intended to be hung on the bulkheads of a ship’s pilot house, captain’s cabins,etc., and could be found in vessels
ranging from the most luxurious yachts to battleships! One of the Seth Thomas clocks was recovered from the wreck of the USS
MAINE and presented to Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was Secretary of the Navy.
Ship’s Bells struck
through the double strike system mark 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 without moving the hands. The clock runs for
one day, and for best accuracy it should be wound every twelve hours.
CONDITION: The clock came from the factory with a polished nickel plated cartridge brass case.
This clock has acquired an especially attractive age patina and retains about 85% of its original plating. It has been keeping
time with a quartz comparison clock, and looses about a minute a day. That said, it requires an assist to get started by a
slight turn of the balance wheel which is accessible from the back. The dial is in its used condition, but with only a minor
loss of paint on the acid etched Roman numerals and with very little or no loss to its silvered face. It has its original
blued steel hands which are in perfect condition. The case is factory mounted on an Mahogany backboard which has about 90%
of the clock’s original label. From a few feet away, nothing of significance shows so the overall appearance is one of ageless
…..a great looking collector’s clock with exceptional charm.
Dimensions: Height 9 3/4″, Width 6 3/4″, Depth 3 1/4″, Dial Diameter 6″
Weight 3 pounds 9 3/8 oz