S. B. Terry Sub Miniature Steeple clock with torsion suspension. With Alarm.

This is a rare sub miniature steeple clock made by S. B. Terry while in Forestville, Conn., U. S. A. Terry’s large label can be found pasted on the backboard.

This clock is unusual for two at least reasons. The first is its size. The rosewood veneered case measures a mere 13 inches tall. This is two inches shorter than a typical standard miniature steeple offered by his other competitors. Second, this clock is fitted with a very unusual movement for which S. B. received a patent for in Oct of 1852. A clue that this clock has this mechanism is found on the dial. The dial is painted on tin. Note the hole or decorative slot in the dial between 5:00 and 6:00. If you look closely while this clock is running, you will see movement through this opening. This is the torsion pendulum bob which is in the shape of a barbell. A torsion pendulum system allows this clock to run while being transported or even turned upside down. This movement is key wound, spring and designed to run thirty hours on a full wing. However, it does not have a standard pendulum and escapement. It has what is call a torsion pendulum system. The pendulum rotates on a horizontal plane suspended by a thin spring. The rotation motion back in forth translates to the escapement. This has a great advantage over a traditional pendulum clock movement if the clock is being used in an area where it is moving or vibrating. Examples of such locations are on board ships or trains. The front plate is die stamped with the Maker’s patent date for this style of movement. It reads, ‘PATENTED / OCT 5TH 1852.” This example also features an alarm. This is mounted inside the case. It is also spring powered and strikes on a bell mounted to the backboard. The Clockmaker’s label which can be found on the back of the case. It reads, “EIGHT DAY AND THIRTY HOUR / Marine Clocks, / WARRANTED / …” The lower tablet is original to this clock and is in superb condition. It depicts a New England scene dominated by a meeting house.

The combination of this movement and this case style is very unusual. This very collectable clock was made circa 1852.

About Silas B. Terry of Terryville, Connecticut.

Silas B. Terry was born on February 1, 1807 and died of a heart attack May 20th, 1876. He was one of eight children born to Eli & Eunice (Warner) Terry. He worked in various clock making enterprises. Some of which included the firm S. B. Terry & Company (1852-1853), and Terryville MFG. Co. (1853-1854.) In 1854, Terry went bankrupt and took a job as a general manager of the William L. Gilbert & Company in Winsted, Connecticut. In 1861, he took a job as superintendent of the Waterbury Clock Company . In 1867, he formed the The Terry Clock Company at Waterbury with his sons. Silas’ early clocks were well made and often had interesting movements. The evidence of his work suggests that he loved to tinker.


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