Gilbert Clock

Q: This wondeclock2-editrful antique clock was given to me by my sister-in-law. It had once belonged to her grandparents who lived in Lebanon, KS. The glass on the door is etched with a spider in a web, cattails and other flourish designs that come up to the bottom of the face of the clock. The pendulum has a barometer on it and the top of the pendulum has gold tone clusters of leaves. It is a five-day clock and keeps beautiful time and softly chimes on the hour and half hour.

The pendulum is engraved with “W L Gilbert.” The wood case has designs carved in to it and has a black stain on it. I can see a few holes on the top, which probably once held decorative spindles of some type. Can you please give me some information on this clock?

A: This is a lovely mantle clock made by the William L. Gilbert Clock Company of Connecticut in the late 1800s. William Gilbert was considered one of the foremost clock makers of the 19th century in America. His first company was formed in 1828 in partnership with his brother-in-law. A decade later he was in business with Chauncey Noble a well-known clock maker who led the way in designing clocks with inner workings made of brass instead of the much used wood workings. These new brass movements were the heart of Gilbert’s clocks and the beautiful cases the soul.

In July 1871 the William L. Gilbert Clock Co. was formed, after a previous factory burned to the ground. Gilbert made his clocks so that they were affordable for everyone but still well made. He mimicked the styles of several higher end clock makers by placing steeples or ornate finials on the top of his mantle clock; this is more than likely what went in the holes at the top of your clock.

As with most of the clock makers of the time, managers came and went, and this brought about name changes along the way. Then the inevitable happens and it was bought out by a larger company with the doors closing forever in the late 1950s-early 1960s.

The beautiful etched glass on the front really sets your clock apart. I only wish that it still had the finials on the top but this will give you something to keep an eye out for at flea markets and sales.

** All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawn shop prices are about ½ or less of resale value.

Written by Michelle Staley

Michelle Staley has over 35 years of experience as an antique collector, picker and dealer. She has done hundreds of insurance and IRS appraisals in addition to just satisfying another collector or dealer’s curiosity concerning what an item is, does or its worth. Other experience includes her work as a forensics consultant and in archeological identification and dating.

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