Ansonia crystal clock chimes at $400 PLUS: HIstoy of the Ansonia Clock Co.

Q Would you please put in your Antique Trader information about the following: the Crystal Palace Watch Co., Pat, made this clock. Jan. 1845. It stands 18 inches tall and I don’t have any more information other than it is 100 years old. — H.D.R., Frederica, Del.

Tim Luke, antiques appraiser, author and expert for Just Answer.comA This piece is an Ansonia Crystal Palace No. 1 Extra mantel clock manufactured in Brooklyn, NY with a pair of statues flanking a mirrored back. In researching the clock, I discovered various statues were used in the production of the clock, including soldiers, sailors, and the boatmen and lady figure as shown in your example. The piece is an eight day time and bell strike movement with pendulum.

Over the past five years the auction records for these clocks in excellent condition have been selling in the $400 – 850 range. Based on the photos received and information provided your items would be below the low end of the range. Clocks in working condition generally command higher prices. Without knowing if your example is in working order, coupled with the fact the figures appear to have damage issues illustrated by the unbecoming shade of blue, will keep the value down for your clock, more in the $200 to $400 range.

 If you would like to do further research and get more information about the clock, check out the book “Ansonia Clocks” by Tran Duy Ly and look on page 95.

Tim Luke is a featured appraiser on HGTV’s television show “Cash in the Attic” and has participated as an appraiser on public television’s “Antiques Roadshow.” Luke resides in Florida, where he co-owns an auction and appraisal business, TreasureQuest Appraisal Group, Inc. In addition to his daily job at TQAG, Luke works at JustAnswer as one of thousands of experts in more than 150 categories (including antiques) who provide fast and reliable information to users.

History of the Ansonia Clock Co. – courtesy the Encyclopedia of Antique American Clocks

Encyclopedia of Antique American ClocksAnson G. Phelps, a wealthy Connecticut importer of tin, brass and copper, founded the Ansonia Clock Co. in 1850; six years after he built a copper rolling mill near Derby, Conn. Phelps started the business with $100,000. He and his associates, Eli Terry and Franklin C. Andrews, advertised their firm in the Connecticut Business Directory with the following statement: “Ansonia Clock Company, Manufacturers and Dealers in Clocks and Timepieces of Every Description, Wholesale and Retail, Ansonia, Conn.”

After a fire destroyed the factory in 1854, Phelps’ company moved to Ansonia, where it was renamed the Ansonia Brass and Copper Company. The company made clocks there from 1854 to 1878. When it moved its clock making operations to Brooklyn, N.Y, in 1878, it was reorganized under its original name: the Ansonia Clock Company. In 1879, shortly after this move, a fire destroyed the factory. A year later, after completing a new factory in Brooklyn, Ansonia expanded its business. The company developed many new styles of clocks, and novelty and figuring clocks became a big part of its enterprise.

Ansonia introduced all sorts of wall and shelf clocks, including swing clocks. The company marketed imitation French clocks as well as novelties, such as the “Bobbing Doll” and “Swinging Doll,” which it patented in 1855 and 1859. An 1889 catalog of Ansonia clocks featured three versions of the Bobbers, called Jumper No. 1, Jumper No. 2 and Jumper No. 3. Ansonia was known for its diversity of clock types; many of the older and unusual ones have been reproduced, including the “Bobbing” and “Swinging” dolls.

The company’s specialty clocks included the swing clocks, in which female figures held swinging pendulums. Also popular were the Royal Bonn porcelain shelf varieties and the statue clocks, which the company advertised as figure clocks. Among its novelty clocks, the Crystal Palace, Sonnet, Helmsen, and Army and Navy clocks have proved to be excellent collector’s items and have rapidly increased in value. The clocks were marked “New York” as their place of origin.

Just prior to World War I, Ansonia had sales representatives in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Japan and a score of other countries. After the war, its business deteriorated in quality and dropped significantly in the number of clocks produced. Manufacturing stopped in the spring of 1929. By the end of that year, the company’s material assets were sold to the Russian government. The company was defunct after the summer of 1929.

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