Internet Horology Club 185
Long ago in Far-away Washington DC
August 04, 2007, 22:48David Abbe
Long ago in Far-away Washington DC
Long Long ago in (1914) in a faraway place in D.C, my father Ernst was given a whopping $2.00 for his 10th birthday. He walked "downtown" to a "used clock shop" with a beautiful hand-painted wooden clock in the window "For sale $2.00". My father dearly loved the flowers in the glass (which surely later contributed to his world-class status as a Botanist) and knew that his mother (grandma) Freida would love to have such a pretty clock for the "sitting room" where she practiced on her hand-fitted Grand Piano.
My Father purchased the "Seth" and rushed home to surprise Freida. But alas, when he tried to wind the clock, the key would not turn, and the clock would not start.
So my father (never claiming mechanical genius) carefully wrapped the clock in a linen cloth and made a small wooden box to protect it. He kept "Seth" in his personal stuff fully intending to "get it fixed someday".
In 1999, (85 years later) my father asked me to get the box from his "stuff" and unpack it. I unwrapped it and found this beautiful Clock. Then my father asked if maybe I could have it fixed because it "would not wind". I found 2 keys packed in it, and put one key in the clock winding side and turned it counterclockwise, and "click click click . . ." it wound!
I hung the pendulum and started it. It ran without hesitation giving out a very soft and pleasant "pik pok pik pok" sound. When it reached the hour it produced an incredibly resonant "THU-WONnnng THU-WONnnng THU-WONnnng". My father was awestruck. "It Works" he said. He asked me what I did and I showed him that the key winds the chime and the clock in opposite directions! Ernst replied; "Ooooooh, and I always thought they both wound the same way!"
Two years later, my Father passed, but for his last two years he finally enjoyed "Seth" as he had been waiting 85 years to hear again with it's beautiful sounds that now resonate in my house to this day!
August 04, 2007, 22:49David Abbe
August 04, 2007, 22:50David Abbe
Something about instructions
August 21, 2007, 10:22Bob Kapinos
What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it with us.
August 21, 2007, 21:44Tom Huber
What a very special story and clock. That makes your clock a wonderful family keepsake.
June 21, 2011, 01:30Peter Batagio
Wonderful.. Thank You for sharing.
July 15, 2011, 10:47Werner Rosier
I love stories like that, always brings tears to my eyes. I always wished I had something like that from my grandparents, but no...everything was thrown away.
Thanks for your memories, although it was written in 2007!
My WWW collection is now complete, time to look for new ventures!
October 03, 2011, 18:31Patrick Wallin
That is what I would call a priceless clock.
March 05, 2012, 21:56Bila Wirriganwalters
Not just the clock Patrick, but the story!
November 07, 2012, 22:09Donald Hawes
Really enjoyed your story David!
March 01, 2013, 00:30Michael Weiford
As per our phone conversation I dusted off some of my clock guides and looked up your clock.
I was a little confused at first, I identified the clock but the date was off, until I went back and re-read your post. Your father went to a USED clock shop!
Anyhow, your clock is an 1874 Seth Thomas Cottage clock, 8 day or 30 hour, spring strike. If I am correct the clock stands 14 1/2" tall. There may also be four digits on the back or bottom of the clock, that is the year of production backwards. The letter, A - L gives the month.
I used Tran Duy Ly's third edition - volume 1 of Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements for the ID.
The 2005 price guide lists it at $250, but given that is now 8 years ago and the clock market, especially Seth Thomas, has grown exponentially, I'd put the number closer too $450-500. Many of the clocks offered today have been butchered and yours is an example that would be hard to equal.
I offer this for your information only, as I know the clock will likely never leave your family.
As I mentioned on the phone, antique clocks was my passion for a number of years and I have DOZENS of them! I've given many as gifts to family and friends. Most are arch and broken arch mantle clocks. If there is any interest by the members here I may put some up for auction/sale. I would much rather sell them to members here than on an auction site. I need funds for more watches! Lol.
My son is a college junior studying journalism/broadcasting/business management and I have a 16 year old daughter so dads "play" money is thin sometimes.
August 16, 2013, 00:06Paul Gill
That was a great story. At least your Dad got to hear it before he passed on.
August 16, 2013, 05:57Phillip Sanchez
Dave good stuff...Thank you my friend