滋賀県や野洲市のお宅にて“アメリカ時計”として知られているアンティーク時計を買い取らせていただきました。

ヴィクトリア朝(1837-1901)以降、量産型として特にコネクティカットで生産された時計は、その特徴的なデザインスタイルから“アメリカ時計”(American Clock)と呼ばれるようになりました。

E.N.Welchは1864年に創業した“アメリカ時計”の時期を代表する時計メイカーの一つです。

創業以来1903年に幕を閉じるまでに紆余曲折を経ながらも、高級路線を打ち出すとそのハンサムなローズウッドケースが人気を博し、その名が知られていきます。1887年に創業者Elisha Welchが死去してからは、だんだんと業績が悪化し、さらに1899年には2度も工場が火災に見舞われるなどの悲劇もあり1902年には同じく“アメリカ時計”製造を営んでいたSessionsファミリーが経営権を受け継ぎ 1903年にSessions Clock Company on January として統合され、Welchとしての歴史に幕をおろしました。

本時計はそんなWelchの全盛期ともいえる1875年に製造されたローズウッド「八日巻き時計」です。

“八日巻き”とはゼンマイを巻いて動くのが7日間であり、8日目に再び巻くことからそう呼ばれています。貴重なアンティーク時計です。

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We visited Yasu city of Shiga prefecture and purchased an antique“American clock”.

The term American clock was used in the Victorian era (1837-1901) and afterward to refer to a particular style of clock design followed by the American clockmakers of the day. In the 19th century, many clocks and watches were produced in the United States, especially in Connecticut, where many companies were formed to mass-produce quality timepieces.

The E. N. Welch Manufacturing Company was a joint stock corporation formed July 6, 1864 to succeed an older private firm making clocks under the name of E. N. Welch.

Elisha N. Welch (1809-1887) had been making clocks at a factory site on East Main Street at Forestville, Conn. since taking over the bankrupt business of J. C. Brown about 1856.

A new movement shop was fitted up in 1869, adding to the two factories already in use by the firm. Between 1868 and 1884, a subsidiary firm called Welch, Spring & Company was formed to produce a more expensive line of clocks. This firm will be spoken of in more detail elsewhere. The Welch firm was well known for its handsome rosewood cases, though in 1885, with changing styles in furniture, the surviving firm began to introduce new models with solid walnut cases and discontinued some of the older rosewood veneered cases.

After the death of Elisha Welch in 1887, the firm began to decline fast, selling off some of its assets and issuing new stock to raise capital. A new line of clocks was introduced for the year 1893, which appeared to be of much cheaper quality than their discounted line. In May of that year the factory was closed down and a receiver was appointed who spent nearly two years selling off stock and settling the debts of the firm. It was not for another year that the firm resumed production.

In 1899, two fires, one in March and a second in December reduced most of the Welch manufacturing complex to ashes. A new brick factory was built and occupied and by April, 1900, they could not meet their liabilities with the interruption in their cash flow. Members of the wealthy Sessions family were busy at this time buying out former stockholders and eventually took control of the firm in 1902 and changed the name to the Sessions Clock Company on January 9, 1903.

This antique clock, “Verdi” rosewood octagon long-drop wall clock, eight day time & strike, spring deiven, was manufactured in 1875, in the heyday of great Welch.