Timby Solar Timepiece. Saratoga Springs and Baldwinsville, New York. Special case. 221035

Timby’s Solar Timepiece was reportedly made Saratoga Springs and then later in Baldwinsville, New York. The company was formed in 1863 and lasted two short years, (1865). It appears that they produced approximately 600 clocks. A small percentage of the movements are reported have been made in Saratoga by E. F. Rawson. The majority of the movement production was supplied by LaPort Hubbell. The clocks were manufactured and sold by L. E. Whiting. This firm advertised that they were the “Best made in America and unsurpassed in Europe… making it an excellent timekeeper…” They were designed to illustrate the diurnal revolution of the earth and thus marketed as a geographical educator for the school room and family.

This is a very unusual example in that the case presentation varies significantly from the other examples that are known. The common form features a case that is constructed in walnut and and features a finish that accentuates the natural color and grain of the wood. That version is decorated with shapely moldings and three distinctive finials. Two of these are located at the sides of the case and are mounted just below the cornice molding. The third finial is centered on the case. The top of this finial and the center drop which supports it, feature gilded surfaces. The lower drop is said to represents the sun.

This clock is much more shapely in its case presentation. The curved moldings are well formed and frame the information presentation of the clock. The walnut wood is treated with a jet black finish. Many of the moldings are decorated with a an applied string of brass beads. The top of the case is fitted with a turned wooden finial. The bottom of this decoration is finished in gold, This represents the sun and positioned over the earth / globe. This globe measures six inches in diameter and rotates once every 24 hours. The globe was manufactured in Boston and features the Joslin Label. It reads, “JOSLIN’S / Six Inch / Terrestrial Globe, / Containing the latest Discoveries. / BOSTON. / Gilman Joslin, / 1860.” The condition of this globe is excellent and it is easy to read. The globe is set on its meridian and can be viewed from both sides of the case. A time dial is mounted around the circumference of this globe along the equator. The time of the day is indicated by a brass arrow pointer that is mounted to the case. The lower dial or minute wheel is paper. This dial also is designed to rotate. It makes one full revolution per each hour. An alcohol thermometer is mounted in front of the minute dial. This is an unusual feature for this manufacturer. The scale is in Fahrenheit. The temperature standards of “FREEZING, SUMR HEAT” and “FEVER HEAT” are indicated. The movement for this clock is located in the bottom of the case. It is brass and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It features a balance wheel escapement and is wound from the back of the case with a key.

The approximate dimensions of this case are as follows: 23.5 inches tall, 13.75 wide at the lower base molding and 6.5 inches deep. This clock was made circa 1865.


About Theodore Ruggles Timby of Saratoga Springs, New York.

Theodore Ruggles Timby was born in New York state on April 5th, 1822. He was a very bright person. Some of the inventions he is credited with are a floating dry dock system for the shipping industry, the revolving gun turret (a version of this was installed on the Union’s ironclad, the U.S.S. Monitor) and a sighting and electrical firing system for heavy guns. Timby died in Brooklyn, New York in 1909.

This Timby Solar Timepiece was made by L. E. Whiting of Saratoga Springs, New York. He was a local jeweler. Inside the case attached to the back of the lower door is a label that reads: TIMBY’S SOLAR TIMEPIECE, MANUFACTURED BY L. E. WHITING, SARATOGA SPRINGS, N. Y. It then describes the clock as, Illustrating the Diurnal Revolution of the Earth, and serving as a GEOGRAPHICAL EDUCATOR for the SCHOOL ROOM and the Family, Ornamental in the Parlor, and useful everywhere. The old and unmeaning clockface may now be banished from use as no longer desirable. The movements in these Time – pieces is the best ever made in America, and unsurpassed in Europe; the balance wheel is set in jewels, making it as a time – keeper equal to the best lever watch and regulated in the same way. WIND ONCE A WEEK REGULARLY. WARRANTED accurate and of perfect workmanship throughout.

Lewis E. Whiting is recorder in American Clocks. Volume 3. American Clockmakers and Watchmakers. This book was written by Sonya l. & Thomas J. Spittler, and Chris Bailey. Whiting is listed as working within the 1860’s. He is listed as working with Theodore Ruggles Timby. The company was formed in 1863 and lasted only 2 short years, (1865). The movements found in these clocks are reported as being made in Saratoga by either E. F. Rawson or more popularly believed by LaPort Hubbell. The clocks were sold by L. E. Whiting and he advertised that they were the Best made in America and unsurpassed in Europe… making it an excellent timekeeper… These clocks were marketed to Geographical Educators for the School room and the family. It is said to have appealed to the prosperous transient population of Saratoga.

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