The Seth Thomas Clock Company. The "Hotel" shelf or mantel clock.

This mantel clock has a bold presence and was made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company and is shown in the 1900 catalog. It is called the “Hotel.” In today’s marketplace, it is a very difficult model to find. As a result, we have seen very few of these clocks for sale.

This shelf clock has the following approximate dimensions. It is 18 inches tall, 14 inches wide and just under 7 inches deep. The case is constructed in oak and retains a classic brown finish. (This model was also offered in walnut and in mahogany. Examples in these other woods are seldom seen.) The sides of the case are fitted with decoratively brass inserts. These are pierced with multiple circular holes. The screens are backed in silk. This detail is purposeful in that it allows the sound of the strike to easily escape the case. The front door of the clock is decorated with quarter fans. These frame the fitted glass opening to the dial. A brass trim ring is attached to the interior of the door and secures the glass in the opening. This door opens to a access the painted dial which measures approximately 8 inches in diameter. The dial pan retains its original painted surface. The hours are indicated with Roman style numerals. This dial also features a subsidiary seconds dial and the Maker’s trademark. It is interesting to note that a shelf clock that features a second hand on the dial is somewhat unusual. This is a nice feature. The spring driven, eight day, time and strike movement is constructed in brass. The front plate of the movement is die-stamped by the Maker. It features a Geneva Stop winding mechanism and a deadbeat escapement. This movement is designed to run eight days on a full wind and to strike each hour on the hour on a wire gong. This wire gong is advertised as a Cathedral Bell. It sounds wonderful. The bell stand is die stamped with a patent date. The pendulum bob is brass. It is supported by a wooden rod.

This example is in very good condition and is ready to enjoy. It was made in January of 1888 and is so dated on the back of the case in the Seth Thomas code that reads, “88811.”

Inventory number 215006.

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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