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Shelf & Mantel Clocks
Mantel clocks have been a design centerpiece since domestic clocks made an appearance in the 1600s. Antique mantel clocks were luxury items through the 19th century in some arenas, reserved only to decorate the homes and businesses of the wealthy. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the modern manufacturing process, shelf and mantel clocks became available to more collectors who could appreciate the historical and cultural value of these timepieces.
The Ingraham mantel clock produced by Connecticut clockmaker Elias Ingraham can refer to any number of Ingraham’s models. Ingraham models bore distinctive cases including the steepled Gothic clocks and gilded Grecian clocks. The popularity of black mantel clocks made from onyx, slate, marble, iron, and wood led to the production of the Seth Thomas adamantine clock in beginning in 1882. Adamantine veneer was a celluloid made in black and white, patterned after onyx, marble, or wood grain.
Another popular name in vintage mantel clocks is the German Kienzle mantel clock. Kienzle clocks are reminiscent of Art Deco, such as the chrome metal drum pivoted clock in the Museum Victoria collection. Sessions mantel clock models, produced by William Sessions of Connecticut, include the black mantel clocks of Welsh design from 1903 to 1930.
A '30s continental oak-cased musical mantel clock by Kienzle sold for $728 at a Bonham’s auction in 2013
An Empire gilt-bronze figural mantel clock signed Ravrio, Bronzier a Paris, with movement by Mesnil circa 1810 sold for $7,500 at a Bonham’s auction in 2015
A French Empire ormolu mantel clock with a figure of George Washington made between 1815 and 1819 by Dubac of Paris realized a price of $219,750 at an auction by Christie’s in 2013