American Clocks

The history of American clocks begins in colonial New England in the late 1700s. The first American clocks were made by hand one at a time and were mostly tall clocks or grandfather clocks.Thomas Harland, a skilled English clockmaker who settled in Connecticut, trained Eli Terry, who founded the first American clock factory around 1800.

Eli Terry, along with Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley, applied water-powered machinery to clockmaking. This led to the timepiece industry’s introduction to the Industrial Revolution. Factories began to mass produce clocks with interchangeable parts, a technique that became known as the American system of manufacturing.

Some American clockmakers who made a lasting impression were the Willard family of Massachusetts, Elias Ingraham and Company, and the Ansonia Company. Contemporary New York design company Tiffany and Co. was founded in 1837, representing a departure from European opulence to the new American style. By 1867, Tiffany and Co. was a major competitor in the world of silver, fine jewels, and classic timepieces. Tiffany clocks are sold in more than 200 stores worldwide.


Quick Facts

  • A Simon Willard 1805 Banjo clock sold for $7,380 at Skinner of Boston in 2015
  • An E. Ingraham rosewood Spectacle shelf clock with painted zinc dial in Roman numerals sold for $7,703 at Skinner in 2009
  • An 1880 Tiffany gilt brass and enamel carriage clock featuring Corinthian columns, porcelain dial, and Arabic numerals sold for $4,920 at Skinner Auctions in 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

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ANTIQUE GUSTAV BECKER ANNIVERSARY CLOCK
Oct 30, 3:00 PM PDT
ANTIQUE GUSTAV BECKER ANNIVERSARY CLOCK
by Sunset Auction
Est: $0- $0
$607 Bids
SETH THOMAS Wood & Brass Ships Clock
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
SETH THOMAS Wood & Brass Ships Clock
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $200
$605 Bids
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VICTORIAN INLAID MAHOGANY REGULATOR CLOCK, 19TH C.
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
VICTORIAN INLAID MAHOGANY REGULATOR CLOCK, 19TH C.
by Litchfield Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$2005 Bids
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Imhof Mantle Clock w Singing Bird Automaton
Nov 07, 12:00 PM EDT
Imhof Mantle Clock w Singing Bird Automaton
by Neely Auction
Est: $200- $400
$2604 Bids
Antique Victorian Ansonia Clock Co Floral Pink Ceramic Record Design
Oct 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Victorian Ansonia Clock Co Floral Pink Ceramic Record Design
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $100- $400
$504 Bids
Seth Thomas No. 3 Wall Regulator Clock
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Seth Thomas No. 3 Wall Regulator Clock
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$8504 Bids
Signed OMEGA Mechanical Self Sitting Spherical Shelf Clock
Oct 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Signed OMEGA Mechanical Self Sitting Spherical Shelf Clock
by South Florida Auction & Estate Sale Services
Est: $6- $1,000
$264 Bids
Seth Thomas Candlestick Clock with Dome
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Seth Thomas Candlestick Clock with Dome
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $200
$502 Bids
Ithaca Regulator No. 1 Calendar Wall Clock
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Ithaca Regulator No. 1 Calendar Wall Clock
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,6002 Bids
BRASS CASE SHIPS CLOCK BY BOSTON CLOCK CO
Oct 25, 6:00 PM PDT
BRASS CASE SHIPS CLOCK BY BOSTON CLOCK CO
by O'Gallerie
Est: $200- $300
$1102 Bids
Fine jeweled atmosphere clock by Jaeger Lecoultre
Oct 18, 2:00 PM PDT
Fine jeweled atmosphere clock by Jaeger Lecoultre
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $700
$1102 Bids
Vintage Brass Seikosha Ships Clock With Wooden Base
Oct 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Brass Seikosha Ships Clock With Wooden Base
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $500- $1,000
$101 Bid
Aaron Willard Jr. (1783-1864), Boston, Massachusetts, Banjo Clock
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Aaron Willard Jr. (1783-1864), Boston, Massachusetts, Banjo Clock
by Fontaine's Auction Gallery
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
AN UNUSUAL LATE 19TH CENTURY FRENCH BRASS AND ONYX NOVELTY MANTEL CLOCK
Oct 23, 10:00 AM BST
AN UNUSUAL LATE 19TH CENTURY FRENCH BRASS AND ONYX NOVELTY MANTEL CLOCK
by Hutchinson Scott Limited
Est: £600- £800
£3001 Bid
WWI Kaisermarine Schuchmann & Wilhelmshaven Ships Clock 8 Day Movt.
Oct 23, 12:00 PM EDT
WWI Kaisermarine Schuchmann & Wilhelmshaven Ships Clock 8 Day Movt.
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $500- $1,000
$101 Bid
Cuckoo Clock
Oct 30, 9:00 AM CDT
Cuckoo Clock
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
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VICTORIAN GILTWOOD/COMPOSITION WALL CLOCK, 19TH C.
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
VICTORIAN GILTWOOD/COMPOSITION WALL CLOCK, 19TH C.
by Litchfield Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
WWI German Airplane Dash Clock Revue
Oct 23, 12:00 PM EDT
WWI German Airplane Dash Clock Revue
by Hess Fine Art
Est: $200- $500
$101 Bid
An unusual ladies' clock compact,
Oct 19, 10:00 AM BST
An unusual ladies' clock compact,
by Sworders
Est: £80- £120
£601 Bid
Ansonia Green Marble Mantel Clock 1882
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
Ansonia Green Marble Mantel Clock 1882
by Luban Antique
Est: $200- $500
$501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell American Clocks


Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center

Nadeau's Auction Gallery

Nadeau's Auction Gallery

Hutchinson Scott Limited

Hutchinson Scott Limited

Hess Fine Art

Hess Fine Art