Antique Connecticut Clocks: Mantel Clocks

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Antique mantel clocks in the Connecticut tradition were made possible by improved spring technology that allowed the creation of smaller clocks. Learn about mantel clocks from a dealer in this free video on collecting antique timepieces.

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Video Transcript

It's important to talk a little bit more about main springs and the rise of main springs because it really allowed the American clock and just redo blast them in a way that it could've if they were confined to making big cases that had to have weight descending inside them. You really, suddenly with main springs powering the clock, you could make much smaller clock, you could make clocks that were inexpensive as well and it could fit in people's homes in a different way. This is just an example of a Ansonia Ironing Clock, but spring driven. If this clock had weights in it, it have to be the size of the OG clocks or the Pillars and Scroll clocks that we talked about before. I've got a couple of main springs here to look at, and these are steel. I mentioned that brass main springs were used initially by Terry and Andrews and some others, but they were, they weren't as good for a number of reasons. So these are steel main springs; often when a main spring breaks, that's what the problem is and we'll talk about servicing clocks later, but this is what's powering the clock, it's your energy that winds it up tight. Most of these clocks have open springs. Well, if you look in the back at the movement or if we look in my, the movement on the stand we saw before, you can actually see the main spring that expands as it's running and gets small and gets nice and tight and small when you've wound it up. Many clocks, however, contains the main spring inside of barrels. This is a, from a French clock, but instead of the spring being out in the air and expanding, the spring is contained within a barrel. This system works basically the same, but it keeps the spring cleaner and allows you to have, have the spring gear driving in and perhaps a little bit more effective weight then these open springs even though you have the expense and complexity of building a main spring barrel.


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