Seth Thomas Office Calendar No. 11. Made 12/1885. 221094

This attractive wall clock was made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Thomaston, Connecticut. It is cataloged as the “Office Calendar No. 11.” This model was offered in the 1884-1885 catalog and was the most expensive and the largest production calendar clock at the time. It was offered in five choices of wood. They included walnut, cherry, oak, old oak and eventually mahogany. This model was made until 1907. This example, having a cherry case and a pendulum that hangs from the back of the movement was made in December of 1885 and is in very good condition.

This is an impressive clock. It is an early version having a cherry veneered case that features an original finish. The case measures a full 68.5 inches in height. At the upper crest, it is 26.5 inches wide and 8 inches deep. The crest is thought to have been hand carved and is secured to the top with two wooden dowels. The fully turned columns flank the sides of the case. They feature several variations in turning design. The front of the case features a large door that is fitted with glass. This opens to access the interior.

The two painted dials are framed in bezels that that are finished in nickle. These are secured to a decorative carved and pierced mask. The dials measure 14 inches in diameter and are painted on tin pans. The upper dial features much of its original paint. It does have some minor areas of in painting. It displays the time, hours, minutes and seconds. The time track is set up in the traditional Roman hour numeral format. A subsidiary seconds dial and the Maker’s trademark are found in the appropriate locations. The lower dial was professionally repainted 40 or more years ago. It displays the calendar information. The days of the month are located on the perimeter of the dial. These numerals are structured in an Arabic format and the date of the month is indicated by the long calendar hand. The day of the week and the month are viewed through rectangular cut outs in the center. This information is printed on their individual paper rolls which are in excellent condition. The calendar patent date information is also painted on this dial. It reads “Patented Feb. 15, 1876.”

This patent date refers to Randal T. Andrews Jr.‘s design for a new and improved calendar mechanism. R. T. Andrews was a Seth Thomas employee. This was the design of choice for the Seth Thomas Clock Company going forward. The calendar mechanism is designed to be perpetual. This means that when it is set up correctly, it will automatically adjust for the variations in the lengths of the twelve months and it adjust automatically or tracks leap year. This mechanism is supported by a large bracket that is attached to the backboard. It gets its change orders form the time movement mounted above.

This weight driven brass constructed time only movement is designed to beat seconds. The two large plates are in the form of trapezoids. The front plate is die-stamped with the Maker’s trademark. The movement features a deadbeat escapement, cut pinions and maintaining power. It is mounted to the backboard via a cast iron mounting bracket. This bracket provides enough space for the pendulum to be mounted at the back of the movement. It is a seconds pendulum comprised of a wooden rod and a brass covered bob. The bob is decorated with a fancy engraved design and is finished in nickle. The pendulum bob is visible in the lower section of the case. It swings in front of an engraved and silvered beat scale that is mounted to the back of the case. The cast iron weight hangs from a cord that threads through a pulley that is mounted to the upper right side of the case. This provides enough drop for the clock to run eight days on a full wind. The weight descends down the right side of the case. This weight is retains almost all of its original grain painted design.

This clock retains its three Seth Thomas Company labels. The Company’s advertisement is pasted to the bottom board inside the case. This is now protected by a clear piece of plastic. The label is in excellent condition. The Clockmaker’s operations label or direction for setting up the clock is pasted on the inside of the lower door frame. This is also in excellent original condition. The third label is located behind the mask pasted to the backboard. This warns the service man not to oil the calendar mechanism. Lastly, the clock is date stamped with Seth Thomas date code. This can be found on the backboard on the back of the case. The code indicates that the clock was made in December of 1885.

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About Seth Thomas of Plymouth and later Thomaston, Connecticut.

Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut, in 1785. He was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner, and worked building houses and barns. He started in the clock business in 1807, working for clockmaker Eli Terry. Thomas formed a clock-making partnership in Plymouth, Connecticut with Eli Terry and Silas Hoadley as Terry, Thomas & Hoadley.

In 1810, he bought Terry’s clock business, making tall clocks with wooden movements, though chose to sell his partnership in 1812, moving in 1813 to Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut, where he set up a factory to make metal-movement clocks. In 1817, he added shelf and mantel clocks. By the mid-1840s, he changed over to brass from wooden movements. He made the clock that is used in Fireman’s Hall. He died in 1859, whereupon the company was taken over by his son, Aaron, who added many styles and improvements after his father’s death. The company went out of business in the 1980s.

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