Research Interests

Labels in Jerome 30-hr weight-driven clocks

When I started researching labels in Jerome clocks in 2001, I began to realize how many different labels there were. On a simple level, I wanted to catalogue all of the varieties. On a more complex level, I hoped that understanding label progression would help in nailing down manufacture date of the clocks.

So far I have documented 39 labels with a Bristol, CT address and 29 from New Haven. Jerome used labels from Elihu Geer, Joseph Hurlbut, John Black, Fernando Gutierrez, and John Benham. Additionally, at least 40 labels with the Jerome factory (including later expansions) were used by the New Haven Clock Co., using their own name or more commonly Jerome & Co. as a trade name, after the bankruptcy of the Jerome Manufacturing Co. These are found with labels by Benham, Benham & Son, Goddard, and Scott & Williams, as well as some with no printer identified. Jerome himself continued to use Benham labels (4 identified) for a couple of years after his bankruptcy, while working for the Waterbury Clock Co. and Wm. Gilbert.

Religious symbolism in clock labels

This was an outgrowth of my interest in clock labels in general. After going to see the movie The DaVinci Code, I realized that several of my clock labels had what were clearly symbols or images with religious import. Early labels by Elihu Geer featured images of Jesus and Mary, as well as Veronica’s Veil and Holy Communion. A label by John Benham depicts the four Evangelists. My article on this subject was published in the March/April 2014 Watch & Clock Bulletin. An electronic copy is available online to NAWCC members.

Reverse-painted tablets by Harriet A. Pond

This was sparked by a thread on the NAWCC message board and a chance encounter with a clock restorer/collector with an interesting clock containing a signed reverse-painted tablet. To date, only two examples of tablets signed by Harriet Pond have come to light. If you find one, or even a period tablet signed by another artist, please let me know. These tablets are documented in Cog Counter’s Journal No. 33 (Summer 2011).

Evolution (construction history) of the Jerome Manufacturing Co. (later New Haven Clock Co.) factory in New Haven, CT

The Jerome clock factory is shown on labels starting around 1845 and continuing (with the New Haven Clock Co.) through the rest of the 19th century. Three different images of the factory are used, illustrating the expansion of the factory complex over time. The factory images therefore become another clue in determining when the clock was made.

The mystery of C. Dickinson Haddam

The inscription on the reverse side of the tablet of the circa 1856 Chauncey Jerome ogee that said “C. Dickinson Haddam Nov 22-/64″ was a bit of a mystery until I was able to locate in the 1870 census a Charles Dickinson living in Haddam, CT. You can learn more about the mystery by following this link.

 Ephemera

mass mailing sent out in May 1854 by Augustus Jerome, on behalf of the Jerome Manufacturing Company, offers an example of the marketing tactics of clock makers in the mid-19th century. Augustus was Chauncey’s eldest child and Secretary of the Jerome Manufacturing Co. when this mailing was sent. According to Chris Bailey in From Rags to Riches to Rags:  The Story of Chauncey Jerome, Augustus was responsible for the financial overextension of the company that resulted in its bankruptcy in February 1856. The mailing refers to the company as the largest clock maker in the US and promises that he can provide “clocks of every style and in any quantity” at lower cost than can be found in Philadelphia or New York.

Jerome patents

Despite a lengthy career in the clock making business, Chauncey Jerome held only one patent, Design patent 883 for a style of clock case. Though he claimed to have invented the bronzed looking-glass clock, he apparently never applied for a patent. His brother, Noble, is perhaps best known for Patent 1,200 for an inexpensive, 30-hr brass clock movement. This movement brought about the end of the wooden movement era and revolutionized the clock industry. One of Chauncey’s sons, Samuel Bryan Jerome, apparently held 10 patents for different clock case designs. Examples of clocks in my collection using Jerome patents can be found here. In addition, there’s a patent for a cigar box (of all things) invented by Chauncey Jerome.

Chauncey Jerome, Inc.

I couldn’t find another place to include this on my website, so it will have to reside on the research interests page. Chauncey Jerome, Inc. was incorporated in New York State in 1931. The firm sold electric clocks that were almost certainly made by the New Haven Clock Co. New Haven primarily marketed their electric clocks under the “Elm City” line. An example of a Chauncey Jerome banjo can be found here.

The Blinn family clock

Our research into the ownership history of a clock that was in the Blinn family of Austerlitz, Canaan, and Chatham, NY.  In addition to the ownership history, this ogee clock has a fancy brass dial and wonderful reverse-painted tablet.

The Lincoln-Herndon Law Office Clock

Roughly five years ago I learned about a clock in the collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum through a youtube video on the internet. Four years ago, I was fortunate enough to examine the clock at the Lincoln library. An article I wrote on this clock has been published in the July/August NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin (Number 428). Unfortunately, the link is only available to NAWCC members.

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