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Long ago in Far-away Washington DC "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
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!

Posts: 6491 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
Inside "Seth"

Posts: 6491 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
IHC Life Member
Picture of David Abbe
Something about instructions

Posts: 6491 | Location: Southern California in the USA | Registered: July 19, 2007
Picture of Bob Kapinos

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing it with us.


Posts: 183 | Location: Ona, West Virginia USA | Registered: May 01, 2005
What a very special story and clock. That makes your clock a wonderful family keepsake.

Posts: 1061 | Registered: March 10, 2003
Wonderful.. Thank You for sharing.
Posts: 2 | Location: Oakland, California in the USA | Registered: January 29, 2010
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!
Posts: 699 | Location: Hannover in Germany | Registered: July 23, 2009
IHC Life Member
Picture of Patrick Wallin
That is what I would call a priceless clock.
Posts: 1732 | Location: Enumclaw, Washington in the USA | Registered: October 02, 2011
IHC Member 1555
Not just the clock Patrick, but the story!
Posts: 2152 | Location: Gladstone in Australia | Registered: January 14, 2011
IHC Member 1498
Picture of Donald Hawes
Really enjoyed your story David!
Posts: 345 | Location: Racine, Wisconsin in the USA | Registered: November 15, 2010
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.

Best regards,

Posts: 206 | Location: West Virginia in the USA | Registered: November 11, 2012
Life Member
That was a great story. At least your Dad got to hear it before he passed on.
Posts: 131 | Location: Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas in the USA | Registered: May 11, 2013
Site Administrator
IHC Life Member
Picture of Phillip Sanchez
Dave good stuff...Thank you my friend
Posts: 4977 | Location: North Georgia Mountains in the U.S.A. | Registered: March 31, 2006
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