Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Harmon Estate Clocks, Part 3

Little clocks!

Tiny, adorable, and they don't take up too much space. What's not to love?

First, a couple of clocks from Connecticut:

Seth Thomas 8 Day mantle clock.

Waterbury Clock Company's ormolu style clock.

Much less detail on the back.

Detail of the dial and hands.

A travel clock from Massachusetts:

A Waltham 8 day travel clock with a medieval flair
...and the price sticker from when my grandfather purchased it.

The back of the Waltham.

 And a clock from Massachusetts made for a company in Wisconsin:

A Chelsea clock made for the Warner Instrument Company, for cars.

The Warner Instrument Company, based in Beloit, Wisconsin, specialized in meters for automobiles a century ago, when simple instruments like odometers weren't standard issue for cars. Chelsea made clocks which attached to the Warner "auto-meters," because having a clock on your dashboard also wasn't standard issue one hundred years ago.

Detail of a Warner Instruments advertisement from
Collier's Magazine, Automobile Supplement, January 11, 1913.

My grandfather's clock was made to fit on top of the Warner Auto-Meter Model M-2, as seen in the advertisement above. The Auto-Meter displayed speed up to 60 mph (up to 100 mph if you bought the Model N-2), as well as a trip odometer that reset after 1,000 miles, and a "season" odometer that reset after 100,000 miles.

There are also a few tiny imports:

Who can resist an Art Deco bird cage clock?

The bird cage clock was made in the late 1940s by the Toyo Watch company in occupied Japan. It's a classic Art Deco chrome and brass design. The cage hangs from an elegant arc attached to a marble base.

Bird cage movement, stamped "Toyo Watch" and "Made In Occupied Japan"

The cute little bird in his dusty cage.

The annular dial with Art Deco numerals on a cheery red ground.

A hint of its former glory: a band of bright turquoise inside an ornamental band of (formerly) polished brass. The cage would have appeared to have been gilded.

A German travel-size alarm clock.

The back of the German alarm clock.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Harmon Estate Clocks, Part 2

According to the 1962 article about my grandfather, he had a collection of about 150 clocks. Based on what I've found so far, I think they're all here. I'm still working on getting them unpacked, along with my grandmother's kitchen and gardening supplies, my grandfather's crates full of miscellaneous hardware supplies, and various boxes of books and records.

Here's a few more of the clocks unpacked so far.

Shepard, Le Boutillier & Co.

Clock retailed by Shepard, Le Boutillier & Co., New York, 1870s or '80s. The company imported French and English clocks beginning in 1872. The name was changed to Le Boutillier & Co. in 1893.

Detail of the retailer's name on the dial.

Black, Starr & Frost

Chiming clock retailed by New York jeweler Black, Starr & Frost.

Detail of the dial, showing what is left of the retailer's name.

Ithaca Calendar Clocks

Ithaca Calendar Clock Company, telling the time on
the upper dial and the date on the lower dial.

This particular example of an Ithaca Calendar Clock, as noted on the calendar dial, features Henry Bishop Horton's patents of 1865 and 1866. Horton initially tried to sell his patent to the Seth Thomas clock company in Plymouth Hollow (now Thomaston, CT), but they already owned calendar clock patents and were not interested. Horton next tried the Waterbury Clock Company, but they could not agree on a deal that satisfied him. Horton gave up on trying to sell his patent and instead started up his own clock company, partnering with three others to form the Ithaca Calendar Clock Company.

Horton was a multi-talented inventor: he designed and manufactured a melodeon which he called the Melo-Pean in Akron, Ohio, and he formed an autophone organette company in Ithaca. Born in Winchester, CT in 1819, Horton and his family moved to Covert, NY when he was four. He apprenticed with a cabinetmaker before developing a specialty in melodeons. Horton died in 1885; his company continued on for nearly thirty years more.

A second Ithaca Calendar Clock, without Horton's name on the dial.

Detail of the calendar dial.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Lovely Ladies

So far I've found a number of "lovely ladies" -- statues of women that are all, most likely, part of other things.

The first is Athena in triplicate, part of a gas light set. I'm not quite sure yet how all the pieces fit together. It's a project for whoever buys it.

Detail of Athena gas light set.

The next is a small statue of a Greek figure, perhaps Aphrodite after being given the golden apple by Paris.

A classic Greco-Roman style figure, holding an apple in one hand.

There are screw holes and two screws in the base of the statue.
I don't yet know if whatever it was she stood on is here. It might be.

The next two ladies seem like the sort of sculptures you'd find on a mantle clock. Again, I have not yet matched them up to anything else.

This piece seems fairly complete at first: sculptural figure on a base.
From this view, it's clear that she was meant to be holding something.
There was nothing else in the box in which she was packed.

Whatever she was holding, she was certainly staring intently at it!

The fourth lady is the goat girl, as I call her. She's my favorite.

The newspaper she was wrapped in gives you a sense of scale. The details are exquisite, far better than what you would find on the average figural clock sculpture. Perhaps she goes with something else, or perhaps she is a stand-alone art object.

Detail view of her hair and floral hair ornaments.
Detail of the flower in her hand (which the goat is eyeing hungrily).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chairs, Chairs, and More Chairs

Here's a sneak peek at the zillions of chairs we unloaded from the trailers. I haven't counted them yet, so there may be fewer than a zillion. I'll let you know next month.

Friday, February 14, 2014

"Know Your Neighbor"

In one of the trunks on my grandfather's trailers, I found several copies of a newspaper clipping that profiled my grandfather and his Clock Shop, which was located at 802 South State Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Here are the highlights from the article:

His nine by 13-foot shop usually contains anywhere from 50 to 75 clocks of all kinds and shapes, plus numerous watches.

And, when his work day is done, he goes home to tinker with his own collection of some 150 timepieces, most of them antiques.

The constant ticking, chiming and cuckooing doesn't bother him a bit, he says.

Harmon's connection with clocks dates back to his late teens in New Orleans, when a family friend spurred his entrance into the business side of watch and clock repairing. He became a collector after he had been a repairman for several years.

His repair jobs since he returned to Ann Arbor nine years ago (his family moved here from Kansas, Ill., shortly after his birth and he attended Ann Arbor schools) have ranged from the smallest of watches to a 1776 tower clock imported from Holland, whose pieces came in individual gunny sacks.

"I first became interested in clocks because of a general interest in mechanical things," Harmon said. "But in Washington, D.C., I worked in a shop specializing in antiques and I saw what a huge variety of timepieces there are. I found that it's not only the mechanism that makes a good clock, but the woodworking, carving and painting, too."

...Harmon said a main part of his "business-hobby" is to purchase old clocks and restore them for eventual sale or personal use. "It's not a very good business, though," he added. "I wind up buying a lot of junk I shouldn't."

Victorian Furniture

My grandfather had a wide range of interests. By the time I knew him, his passion had switched from clocks and watches to old houses and antique furniture. Much of what was stored on his trailers was antique furniture in need of restoration. His plan was to open an antique business, restoring the furniture he had collected. Now it's up to me to new homes for everything.

Included in his furniture collection are a number of pieces from about the 1870s, possibly made by Pottier & Stymus, a high-end New York City firm. I have not yet found a maker's label, but the style and quality are consistent with Pottier & Stymus.

The largest mirror.

The smaller bed.

Detail of the inlay on the smaller bed.

The big bed. I'd be nervous sleeping in it: that's some very heavy woodwork on the headboard!

Part of a set of chairs and sofa.

More of the chair set.

Detail of the chair (camera flash was on).

A side table with a stone mosaic top. It looks terrible in this image,
but for the most part, it should clean up easily.

A detail of the mosaic.

A goat's foot table with marble top, in very good condition.
This is one of my favorite pieces from the trailers.

Detail of a gilt mirror.