History Of Seth Thomas Clocks
“Seth Thomas, the name itself speaks!!!”
One of the most famous names among all the clock companies all over the world, they made themselves included in the history of clocks with their quality and credibility.
Seth Thomas Clock Company was one of the most luxuriant, prolific and long lived clock companies. Their products were known for their above average level. Many antique Clocks found near Lafayette, Indiana area were mainly of Seth Thomas must have sold many clocks in the Lafayette, Indiana area. For out most of all the antique clocks we repair, about 40% are made by Seth Thomas. But these are now rare to find.
During the 19th century epriod, there were many American clock factories who suffered severely factory fires but Seth Thomas was really fortunate in this respect. Through conservative growth and taking advantage of the new ideas of others, Seth Thomas was able to enjoy financial stability, whereas many other companies faced financial difficulties.
Mr Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1785. He was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner, and worked building houses and barns. He started in the clock business in 1807, working for clockmaker Eli Terry. Thomas formed a clock-making partnership in Plymouth, Connecticut with Eli Terry and Silas Hoadley as Terry, Thomas & Hoadley.
In 1810, he bought Terry’s clock business, making tall clocks with wooden movements, though chose to sell his partnership in 1812, moving in 1813 to Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut, where he set up a factory to make metal-movement clocks. He made the clock that is used in Fireman’s Hall.
Thomas continued Clark’s wooden movement tall clock production, and about 1817 began making the wooden movement shelf and mantel clock. These were cased in pillar and scroll cases until 1830, when the bronze looking glass and other styles became popular. In 1842, brass movements were introduced, and first cased in the popular O.G. case (which was made until 1913). Wood movements were phased out in 1845. In 1853 Mr. Thomas incorporated the Seth Thomas Clock Company, so that the business would outlive him. Mr. Thomas died in 1859, whereupon the company was taken over by his son, Aaron, who added many styles and improvements after his father’s death and Plymouth Hollow was renamed Thomaston in his honor in 1865.
Regulator clocks were introduced in 1860. The patterns and machinery for these had been purchased in 1859 from the creditors of bankrupt clockmaker Silas B. Terry. Spring driven clocks were introduced. 1855—1860. Perpetual calendar clocks were made from ca. 1863—1917. Some of the most popular later types include walnut kitchen clocks, made from 1884 to 1909; marble clocks, 1887—ca. 1895; black (Adamantine finish) wood mantel clocks, ca. 1885—1917; black enameled iron cased clocks, 1892—ca. 1895; oak kitchen clocks, 1890—ca. 1915; tambour clocks, introduced in 1904; chime clocks, introduced in 1909; and electric A/C clocks, introduced in 1928.
Many Seth Thomas clocks from 1881 to 1918 have a date code stamped in ink on the case back or bottom. Usually, the year is done in reverse. It is followed by a letter A—L representing the month. For example, April 1897 would appear as 7981 D.
In 1930 a holding company named General Time Instruments Corporation was formed. And it united Seth Thomas Clock Company with Western Clock Company.
In 1955, a flood badly damaged the Seth Thomas factory. They phased out movement manufacturing and began importing many movements from Germany. Hermle, in the Black forest of Germany, has made many movements for Seth Thomas clocks.
Talley Industries bought General Time in 1968. In 1979 the headquarters moved to Norcross, GA. The company went out of business in the 1980s. In June 2001 General Time announced that it was closing its entire operation. The Colibri Group acquired Seth Thomas. The NAWCC (the National Association of Watch and Clock collectors) purchased from Seth Thomas their collection of historical records, drawings, photographs, advertisements and documents.