Chauncey Jerome - New Haven, Connecticut. An illuminator and Burglar Alarm Mantel Clock. This is a variation of David M. Charters Patent issued October 21, 1873.

This is an excellent example of a very unusual Jerome Mantel Clock fitted with David M. Charters Patent.

David M. Charters of Xenia, Ohio patented this “Improvement in Alarm Clocks” on October 21, 1873.

This example serves multiple functions. This is as an 30-hour clock that is designed to strike each hour on the hour. A bell is mounted inside the case onto the backboard. This bell is struck by a hammer once for each hour. This clock is also designed with an alarm. The alarm can be used to wake someone in the room by striking, again with a hammer, on a second dedicated bell mounted inside the case. In order to use this function, one would typically be set the alarm and wind it the night before one wished to wake in the morning. This alarm also has the unusual option of lighting an oil lamp. The lamp is mounted on top of the case. This would intern illuminate the room in which the clock was positioned. This feature would be very handy in the winter time in the Northern latitudes. An additional feature of this clock incorporates the brass made device that is mounted to the left side of the case. You will notice that device has six individual levers. Each of these can be locked into a position of engagement. They are designed to have a string tied to the top of each lever. The strings are individual mounted and are secured at the other ends to a variety of locations. Most commonly one would affix them to doors, but why limited yourself? You could also attach them to windows and any object one wished not to have moved, like a valuable clock on the wall or even a painting on the wall. By moving the object, the string is pulled. This then releases the engaged levers on the clock which will set the alarm mechanism in the clock in motion. The alarm bell will ring and the lighting apparatus at the top of the case will be set into action. This will result in the match being struck and the oil lamp being lit. The uses for this are not easily limited.

The case is constructed in figured walnut and it retains an older finish. A bold molding forms the base of the case and helps steady the clock on the mantel. At the front of this clock is a door. This is hinged on the right and still retains its original gutapercha knob. This knob is nicely detailed. Additional pieces of gutapercha are used in the design of the door as framing. In the lower section it forms a frame around an oval shape painting featuring a harbor view. In the upper section of the door the gutapercha is used as a spandrel decoration that frames the dial. All of this is trimmed with brass. The back of the door is fitted with the Maker’s instruction label. This information is pressed into a wooden panel that is backs the lower section of the door. The dial is painted on time and features Roman style hour numerals. A brass alarm disk is located in the center. The movement is brass and spring wound. It is designed to run thirty-hours on a full wind and strike each hour on a bell located inside the case. This clock is also fitted with an alarm. The spring wound alarm mechanism and the dedicated alarm bell are also located inside the case. The brass made device mounted to the left side of the case is used for the alarm function of the clock.

This very unusual clock measures 17.25 inches tall to the top of the lighting device and 12.25 inches wide and 4.5 inches deep.

In order to set this alarm one needs to perform the following procedure. It may be best to ensure the lamp is fueled and that the wick is exposed and in good order. Next, install a wooden match in the holder that is positioned to the right of the lamp. The match will cross over the wick. The match striking mechanism is located on the left. It is spring loaded. To engage it, one must push the clip to the right and open the end to grip the match. This is tension so when it is released by the alarm, it will spring back and the surface of the clip will abrade the match head to fire the match thus lighting the lamp. The operator will then have light.

About Chauncey Jerome of New Haven, Connecticut.

Chauncey Jerome was born in 1793 in Canaan, Connecticut the son of a blacksmith and a nail-maker. He has a storied history in the Connecticut clock industry, becoming one of our Nations giant employers and producers during his lifetime. His autobiography has been reprinted and is available to purchase at the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, CT. It is a worthy read.

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