How to date an e. ingraham clock

Updated November 21, 2016

Elias Ingraham founded his first clock company in 1844 and won 17 clock patents between 1853 and 1973. The name of the company actually changed six times, which provides important information for collectors seeking to date an antique E. Ingraham clock, as the company name and is located on a plate underneath the clock movement on all Ingraham clocks. In addition, Ingraham clocks were often distinctively styled.

Look for the name of the company on the front plate, which can be viewed by removing the clock movement. The company changed names several times as Elias and his brother Andrew first joined a partnership with Elisha Curtis Brewster, which led to the establishment of the Brewster & Ingrahams Company in 1844. This changed to E. & A. Ingrahams Company in 1852, Elias Ingraham and Company in 1857, E. Ingraham & Company in 1861, The E. Ingraham & Company in 1881 and The E. Ingraham Company in 1885. Matching the precise company name as stamped on the front plate to the dates of a specific company name will help correctly identify the date of the clock.

Find two numbers stamped on the front clock movement plate. The dates indicate the month and year the clock was manufactured. For instance a “12 29” would indicate that the clock was made in December 1929.

Look for gothic-style clocks with either rounded or pointed tops and sharp steeples on either side of the clock face. These steeples were often adorned with columns and/or rippled moulding. These clocks were particularly indicative of the Brewster & Ingrahams clocks (the first company name) and can generally be classified as manufactured between 1844 and 1852.

A banjo clock is another distinctive Ingraham style. Banjo-style clocks resemble the musical instrument with a circular face and a long neck that ends in a square base. Banjo clocks were popular between the 1840s and 1860s.

Ionic-style clocks were elaborate in design and decorated with mother-of-pearl, rosewood veneer and gilt columns. The Ingraham Ionic clocks were made for both a shelf and walls and were made from 1862 until 1924.

Double-dial wall and shelf clocks that display the month, day of the week and the time of day were made by The E. Ingraham Company starting in 1885. These clocks were made by The E. Ingraham Company, which was run by Elias's son Edward, between 1885 and 1924.

Mantel clocks with Chinese themes, including carved dragon’s feet, were made by The E. Ingraham Company near the end of the 19th century. Other popular Ingraham clocks made during this time included patriotic themes.

Clocks with a black, shiny finish that is marble-like in appearance were a very popular Ingraham design between 1885 and the early 1920s.

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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.