Atkins Victor Round Top catalog pageThis is an Atkins "Round Top" #2 shelf clock, circa 1873, inside what's known in our family as the "clock hanger."

The Atkins is an 8-day shelf or mantle clock; strikes the hour (not the half), has a right-hand wind for striking and a left-hand wind for time, both very stiff. The regulator is fussy, and with tiny adjustments I can manage to keep it within 5 minutes a week. Rosewood cabinet. I've seen this described as a figure-8 design (because of the door), but the Atkins catalog simply calls it a "round top." I believe the cabinet is rosewood; it's too dark for myrtle.

It's listed on an 1873 price list at $6.50. It's listed in an 1873 and 1875 price list, so I can't narrow down the date of manufacture beyond that.

The clock was my father's maternal grandmother's clock, purchased new. It was handed down to my paternal grandmother, and then to my family, and now me. If there was an event associated with buying it, I'm not aware. She ran a boarding house in Vermont; maybe they just needed a clock.

The clock hanger is the big, fancy box it's sitting in. My mother found it when I was a toddler, in the basement of a little department store in downtown L.A. They were going to get rid of it, so they sold it to my mother for a pittance. My parents put it on the wall over the fireplace and the clock went in it, and looked like they were made for each other from day 1. Now it's on the wall over my fireplace and the clock is still in it. There was a period of a couple years when a different clock was in it, but just didn't look right.

I don't know what this really is—I've never seen anything like it—whether it was really designed for clocks, or for something else. Closest I've seen are boxes in asian cultures where photos and momentos of deceased relatives are placed as a memorial shrine; though I could easily see putting a statue of a Virgin Mary or a saint in it to look over the house.

Mongomery Ward

I worked for Wards twice and have a conflicted relationship with them: I think of them as a 3-legged, one-eyed dog, lovable but flawed. They splapped their name on an awful lot of medicore products, along with some good stuff. I tend to pick things up here and there with the M-W name if I find them interesting.

This is a steeple clock, made in Korea so I'd place it from the 1980s. It's got a right-hand wind striker and left-hand wind time, somewhat stiff. The minute hand has a sloppy fit so it's about 5 minutes fast at the beginning of the hour, or 5 minutes slow later, depending on how you want to set it. I've tried to tighten the hand a couple times but haven't managed to do it.

It's also missing the finials, and I haven't found anything I like yet to put in the posts yet.

This has a 31 day movement, which makes it very similar to my D&A wall clock, which is also Korean. It's very possible they have the same movement.


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