Around 1866, a new joint stock company was founded and the Ithaca Clock Company moved to a new factory location. By 1874, their business was booming, so they began construction on a new, three-story factory building into which they moved in June, 1874.
A Brief Overview:
Founded with very little initial capital in 1865, the Ithaca Calendar Clock Co. initially focused on manufacturing a clock to the specifications of a patents granted to Henry B. Horton on April 18, 1865 and August 28, 1866. It remained in business until March 14, 1917, during World War I, at which time its assets were sold at a public bankruptcy auction.
'The Rest of the Story...
Henry Horton patented some iron-front cases in 1866, which were among the first manufactured by Ithaca. The iron was cast at a local foundry in Ithaca, NY. The company used clock movements from E.N.Welch, Pomeroy, and Laporte Hubbell previous to 1890.
Ithaca made the calendar movements, assembled them with the clock movements and marketed their product from the New York location. It is reported that, based on a patented test mechanism created by Henry Horton and Merritt Wood and patented on July 11, 1867, that as many as 108 clocks could be tested in a single day!
The building honeymoon was short-lived, however, as it was consumed by fire on February 12, 1876. Shortly thereafter, the indominatable firm built a successor building that stands to this day.
The years of greatest prosperity for the Ithaca Company were between 1875 and 1900. By 1898, they added a floor-standing non-calendar clock to their offerings and subsequently manufactured these "grandfather" clocks for the next 20 years or so. These particular clocks employed inexpensive spring or weight-driven Connecticut-made movements.
Over its 50-year period of existance, the company manufactured mantle and hanging calendar clock in a few dozen configurations that ranged between 16 and 72 inches in height. As was typical of the time, there were "theme and variations" on individual models, with some receiving minor cosmetic changes and others a complete revamping, even though the model name or number remained the same. That was intentional to confuse collectors of the present day and to drive up the price for the great-great-great... grandkids (or something like that!)
It is important for all collectors of American clocks to realize that many special-order clocks were made by not only the Ithaca Company, but also by the bevy of CT clockmakers. This accounts for the not-too-infrequent appearance of clocks for which there is no particular documentation, yet the clock is a "straight-from-the-factory" model. This often causes consternation among collectors who have not previously experienced a "We'll-make-any-old-clock-you-want-if-you're-willing-to-pay". Among experienced collectors, it causes a frenzy of actions in an attempt to get their hands on a truly unique model, so don't turn away without a very careful look... it may be an undocumented treasure staring at you!
Ithaca calendar clocks remain in spectacularly high demand. Though they originally sold in a price range from around $10 to $60, they have become major investments for today's collectors. We are proud to occasionally have one of these amazing clocks available for our clients!