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My “new” old clock- circa 1850’s Chauncey Jerome 8 day ogee

My most recent clock family member arrived on Thursday. It is one that I plan on keeping: a mid-19th century (sometime before 1853) “ogee” style clock made by the Chauncey Jerome factory in New Haven, Connecticut:


An “ogee” clock doesn’t describe a brand or mechanism: instead, ogee describes the shape of the curves in the moulding [1]. Because the name has been attached to a general style and vintage of clock, sometimes you’ll see an “ogee” without the correct type of case design. Mine is finished with “American rosewood” veneer which is almost perfectly intact.

My clock was made sometime before the reforming of the Chauncey Jerome [2] business into the New Haven clock company in 1853. That makes the clock itself older than Canada and the American Civil War, which is a bit sobering. The case and mechanism are original: the tablet (the back painted glass at the bottom of the clock) is possibly original, but could be a contemporary (circa 1850) replacement. The face is a replacement from a different clock (a 30 hour mechanism) of about the same age. The weights for the 8 day weight driven mechanism are quite massive- on the order of ten pounds each.


These were “common” clocks at the time, although the eight day mechanisms like mine were more expensive and are accordingly quite a bit rarer. Clocks of this kind were the ones that the American settlers moving west would put in the back of their wagons. Most of them are in rather rough shape today as they weren’t considered art or fancy furniture- they were practical necessities which, although often made to look fairly attractive, were not babied.

It is pretty astounding to me to have something of this age in such workable condition in my house. It is fully functional: this isn’t a “fixer” clock for me, but a “collectable”, and will be staying with me. It cost less than a Playstation 3: not cheap, but not exorbitant for something with this much history.