Theodore Ruggles Timby of Saratoga Springs, New York.

The Timby Solar Timepiece. Lewis E. Whiting, a local jeweler who is listed as working within the period of the 1860s. During that time, he worked with an ingenious designer named Theodore Ruggles Timby. A company was formed in 1863 and lasted only two short years (1865). Based on the surviving production, it is thought that they sold approximately 600 of these unusual clocks in total. The cases were fitted with spring-powered 8-day brass movement that featured balance wheel escapements. A small number of these were made in Saratoga by either E. F. Rawson. The vast majority of the clocks have movements made by LaPort Hubbell. Inside many of the cases of these very unusual clocks, usually 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 clock face 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.” This label is often numbered in ink. The highest number I have recorded to date is “497.”

Theodore Ruggles Timby was born in New York State on April 5th, 1822. He was a very bright and industrious person and is credited with a number of inventions. He designed a floating dry dock system for the shipping industry. He also designed a revolving gun turret, which was installed on the Union’s ironclad, the U.S.S. Monitor. He also designed a sighting system and electrical firing system for heavy guns. Timby died in Brooklyn, New York, in 1909.

Timby Solar Timepiece or Globe Clock. Saratoga Springs and Baldwinsville, New York. This very unusual case may have been a special order since it is the only example known. 221035

These “Timby’s Solar Timepieces” were made in Saratoga Springs and then later in Baldwinsville, New York. These distinctive clocks were manufactured… read more