Terry clocks and more to be sold by Tim's, Inc., May 2 Possibly the most important collection of rare, early American Terry clocks ever sold at auction will be sold on Saturday, May 2, by Tim's, Inc., in Terryville, Conn. Other antiques will also be sold.
clock (circa 1840), 26 inches tall, with 11-inch round painted wood dial and beautiful original Terry horologist label inside.
A Terry Clock Co. (Waterbury, Conn.) octagon-top drop model #100 wall clock (circa 1875), 21 inches tall, with cast-iron case, pointed octagonal top, original dial, nice black and gilt label inside and original black painted finish.
Terry Downs & Co. (Bristol, Conn.) clock (circa 1852) with large painted and pearl inlay iron front Gothic-shaped case, 8-day brass striking movement, original dial and nice label.
A walnut and pine case shelf clock, most likely by Silas B. Terry (circa 1850), with 8-day solid plate time movement and nice original dial.
A painted cast-iron novelty clock (circa 1870), possibly by Terry Clock Co., in the shape of a basket of flowers, with wooden case back, S.B. Terry tic-tac escape movement, original dial, and paint and stenciled decoration on cast iron.
Anticipated top earners that aren't Terry clocks include an early Seth Thomas piece (Plymouth, Conn., circa 1840), with wooden movement; a Henry Sperry & Co. (N.Y., circa 1855) clock with 30-hour time-only brass movement; and examples by M. E. Blakeslee and H. Whelton & Co. In all, about 150 rare and vintage clocks will be sold to the highest bidder, the most coveted of them made by Eli Terry, his son Silas and Silas's several sons. Also auctioned will be vintage watches and watch parts.
In the early 19th century, a handful of Connecticut inventors and entrepreneurs transformed the way clocks were made in this country. Eli Terry – along with associates Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley – applied water-powered machinery to clock making. What was once a craft turned into a factory process, one in which machines mass-produced uniform, interchangeable clock parts.
This new process, which became known as the “American system” of clock manufacturing, created a whole new product for the fledgling and mostly rural early American market. Eli Terry, around 1816, designed a distinctly American clock small enough to set on a mantel shelf. Sold to rural buyers by itinerant merchants, these clocks helped transform the North into a modern market society.
These clocks demonstrated Eli Terry's determination to make his clocks as economical to the buying public as possible. The case was a simple wooden box, and the glass doors bore reverse-painted numbers that served as a dial. Terry's success spawned imitators eager to capture their own share of the machine-made clock market. By 1830, western Connecticut was home to over 100 clock making firms.
Silas Burnham Terry (1807-1876) was trained by his famous clock making father, Eli, and in 1852 he formed a partnership with a nephew and another relative called S.B. Terry & Co. That firm ran for about a year and turned into a joint stock corporation called the Terryville Mfg. Co. That firm went bankrupt in 1859, but in 1867 Silas and his four sons formed the Terry Clock Company in Waterbury.
The Terry Clock Company produced some early wooden case clocks, but the majority