Jerome & Co. Shelf Clock


This S.B. Jerome shelf clock dates to around 1870 and features “plastic composition” inserts in the door that were the subject of Design Patent 4,278, issued Aug. 9, 1870.


Typical Jerome & Co. label. This one does not have the patent date listed, which suggests to me that it dates to slightly before the patent was issued. Notice that the board on which the label is mounted is held in place with rough-cut nails. Another Jerome & Co. in my collection, with a label listing an October 1870 patent date, uses triangular metal fasteners. I believe nails are earlier than the triangular fasteners.


8-day spring-driven movement by Noah Pomeroy (front).


Rear view of Pomeroy movement.


This clock has an unusual feature that would ordinarily be cause for concern. However, I have looked this over very carefully and can find no reason to believe that it is not original to the clock. The backboard has an additional thin board tacked to it. The typical wallpaper backing that is found on S.B. Jerome clocks in this case has a lower part and an upper part. The lower part is underneath the added backboard, while the upper part is on top of the added board, and it drapes over and partially covers the lower wallpaper. In total, there appear to be four separate pieces of wallpaper: two making up the lower portion and two the upper. Comparison of this clock with another of the same style, but lacking the added backboard, revealed that the interior of this case is slightly deeper. There were no differences in exterior dimensions. Apparently, the added board was necessary to bring the Pomeroy movement closer to the dial. Which raises a question about the movement originally intended for the clock: did Pomeroy originally supply Jerome with movements with longer windings arbors?


Remnant of a blue label on the back of the clock. S.B. Jerome clocks sometimes have a blue label identifying a patent date (see, for example, the octagon gallery clock).


Detail showing the finely detailed, plastic composition insert in the door.

Design patent 4278-1a

Drawing for Design Patent 4,278. Note that this clock shares attributes of both versions: the lower part of the door on the left (Fig. 1), with the oval insert; and the upper part of the door on the right (Fig. 2).

Design patent 4278-2a

Specifications for Design Patent 4,278, assigned by Jerome to Samuel Peck & Co. According to the New Haven City Directory, S.B. Jerome and S. Peck & Co. shared workspace at 81 Day St. Peck was a daguerreotype frame manufacturer, and these decorative composition inserts are often found in daguerreotype frames. Clocks with S. Peck & Co. labels are also known.  These clocks are only different from the Jerome & Co. ones by the substitution of Peck & Co. for Jerome & Co. on the label.

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