How to Identify Antique Wall Clocks

Written by lindsay woolman
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If you own an antique wall clock, you are probably curious about where it originated and when it was made. Antique clocks are often passed down from earlier generations or bought as collector's items from an antique store, but they often have a lot of mystery surrounding them. The first wall clocks came from England in the 1700s, and mass production began in the 1800s. The more you know about your clock, the easier it is to determine its value. Here are a few ways to identify your antique wall clock.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Determine the company name or clock manufacturer. Often the name will be engraved or printed on the face of the dial or the back side. Sometimes there will be paper labels attached to the inside of the clock that show the name.

  2. 2

    If you don't find an obvious manufacturer name, look for a trademark symbol or initials. Thing to look for include decorative symbols such as a crown, anchor, bird, or arrows. The clock may also have initials or a letter that is used as a trademark.

  3. 3

    Look for patent marks. These indicate the country where the clock originated. American clocks often have patent numbers marked with a # sign and the word "pat," or a date. Clock makers in other countries use marks such as a cross and a series of numbers (Swiss), the letters DRP (German), Brevet (French for "patent"), and Brevetti (Italian for "patent"). However, some antique wall clocks will have parts from one country and a manufacturer from another.

  4. 4

    Another way to identify your antique clock is to look at how it is made. American antique wall clocks were mass produced starting in the 1820s and used metal for their plates and wheels instead of wood. This style turned out to be less durable than traditional wooden parts used in European models.

  5. 5

    Ask a clocksmith or antique dealer to help you. Many dealers sell and collect antique clocks and can help you identify your own. Finding out the origins and the value of your antique wall clock could truly be like solving a 200-year-old mystery.

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