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Ansonia Clock Company Royal Bonn Clock c1895

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SOLD - July 2014
7.00 LBS

Product Description


Ansonia Clock Company Royal Bonn clock c1895

This Ansonia Royal Bonn ‘La Calle” model is a rare and highly desirable find because not many of them are on the market. The clock has an eight-day movement, which was considered delux, and strike movement that strikes every half hour on a gong. The open escapement dial with Roman numerals and a Rococo sash surrounding the beveled glass. The pink toned porcelain case is decorated with beautifully painted flowers and pink and gold highlights. This clock model is featured in Tran Duy Ly’s “Ansonia Clocks & Watches” book on page 629. Inside the movement bears a patent date on the movement of June 14th, 1881

This clock has been professional serviced in the past, the most recent being in 1998. It does run, but recommend it be serviced if placed into regular use. The condition of the case is immaculate! Only slight crazing in the glaze in a few spots and no or cracks, chips. The paint and color and gold details just pop like the day it was new. A truly nice find!




Item Brand History:

Royal Bonn is the 19th and 20th Century Trade Name used by the renowned craftsman Franz Anton Mehlem, who produced pottery in Bonn, Germany from 1836 to 1931. Fine Porcelain and Earthenware were manufactured in the factory. In 1921, the firm was purchased by Villeroy & Boch and closed in 1931. The signature crest insignia features a crown, which is prominently displayed on the back of its clock cases imported by the Ansonia Clock Company and pictured here.

Since their inception in 1850, the Ansonia Clock Co. has consistently produced some of the finest and aesthetically pleasing American Clocks. This mantle clock will add charm and character to your home because of the delicate colors and hand-painted decorations. The Ansonia Clock Company was one of the major 19th century American clock manufacturers. It produced millions of clocks in the period between 1850, its year of incorporation, and 1929, the year the company went into receivership and sold its remaining assets to Soviet Russia.

1850 - The Ansonia Clock Company is formed as a subsidiary of the Ansonia Brass Company by Phelps and two Bristol, Connecticut clockmakers, Theodore Terry and Franklin C. Andrews.

       By 1838, inexpensive clock movements made of rolled brass had largely replaced wooden and cast brass movements in America. Terry & Andrews were the largest clock manufacturers in Bristol at that time. They had more than 50 employees and had used 58 tons of brass in the production of about 25,000 clocks in the previous year. Phelps decided to get into the clockmaking business as a means to expand his market for his brass products. It was a shrewd business move for Phelps to join forces with Terry and Andrews, allowing him to profit from the manufacture of a clock’s raw components and the finished product as well.
       Terry and Andrews thought it was a good business decision for them as well, giving them ready access to large quantities of brass for use in clock movements. They agreed to sell Phelps a 50% interest in their clockmaking business and move the entire operation to Ansonia, CT, where Phelps had his brass mill.

1851 - 1852 Andrews leaves the business.  In 1851 Andrews sells all but one of his shares. He sells his remaining share to Terry in 1852.

1853 Ansonia exhibits their cast iron cased clocks at the New York World's Fair. Only two other American clock companies exhibited at the fair, which opened on July 4, 1853. They were the Jerome Manufacturing Company of New Haven, Connecticut, and the Litchfield Manufacturing Company of Litchfield, Connecticut.

1853 - Anson Phelps, at age 73, sells his interest in the Ansonia Clock Company to his son-in-law, James B. Stokes. Stokes was one of the directors of the firm of Phelps, Dodge & Co., a metal importing company originally founded by Anson G. Phelps and two of his son-in-laws. Phelps dies a wealthy man at his New York City home on November 30, 1853.

Early engraving of the original Ansonia Clock Factory in Connecticut

1854 - A huge fire destroys the Ansonia Clock Company factory. The New York Daily Times reports at the time: “New Haven, Saturday, July 8 - The large stone factory of the Ansonia Clock Company was wholly destroyed by fire early this morning. The loss exceeds one hundred thousand dollars. Insured for about fifty thousand. The business of the company was conducted by T. Terry & Son.”

1854 - The land and the ruined buildings are bought by the directors of Phelps, Dodge & Co. The shares purchased include the remaining shares owned by the last of the original founders, Theodore Terry. It is interesting to note that Terry thereafter became involved in a clock venture with the great promoter P. T. Barnum. It produced clocks under the name of the Terry & Barnum Manufacturing Company until its bankruptcy in March of 1856.

1854 to 1869 - The Ansonia Brass & Battery Mill, one of Phelps, Dodge & Co.subsidiary companies, continues to make brass movements for supply to the general clockmaking trade. They also made some finished clocks that were usually marketed under the label "Ansonia Brass Company" and, more rarely, the "Ansonia Brass & Battery Company" In 1860 they report having manufactured 22,000 clock movements and 2,000 finished clocks during the previous year.

1869 - Full-scale clock production resumes under the name of the newly incorporated Ansonia Brass & Copper Co., a reorganization of the Ansonia Brass & Battery Company. By June of 1870, the company reports it had manufactured 83,503 clocks. By this time the factory employed 150 workers and had used 90,000 pounds of brass in making the clocks. The earliest known price list under the Ansonia Brass & Copper Company name, dated January 1, 1873, offers 45 models of clocks and timepieces and fourteen different movements.

1877 - The Ansonia Clock Company is reborn when the clockmaking operation is spun off from the brass milling operation. The company is incorporated in New York City, its shares held primarily by the officers of Phelps, Dodge & Company. Henry J. Davies of Brooklyn, himself a clockmaker, inventor and case designer, joins the newly reconstituted company as one of its founders. As President of the firm he makes great contributions to its success. He is thought to be largely responsible for the figurine clocks, swing clocks and other unusual and desireable novelties for which the Ansonia firm became known, and which are among today’s most collectible of Ansonia clocks 
1878 - Inventor Thomas Edison visits the Ansonia Clock Company factory to experiment in combining clocks with his newly developed phonograph. Edison and his pricipal lab assistant, Charles Batchelor, did some of the initial experiments, leaving the Ansonia Clock Company to continue with the bulk of the research and development. Attempts to make a commercially viable "phonograph clock" proved ultimately unsuccessful.

1879 - A second Ansonia Clock factory is opened in Brooklyn, New York. By June of 1880 it has 360 workers. The Ansonia, Connecticut factory continues producing clocks as well with a work force of 100 men and 25 women.

A postcard view of Ansonia Clock Factory, Brooklyn, New York
7th and 8th Aves. and 12th and 13th Sts.
"Largest Clock Factory in the World"

1880 - Misfortune strikes again when the New York factory burns down. The cause of the fire is reportedly an explosion caused by leaking gas. The New York Times reported: “all that remained of the factory was the burned and blackened walls." The loss is reported to be $750,000 with only $250,000 insured.

1881 - The New York factory is rebuilt on the same site. 

1883 - The Ansonia, Connecticut factory is closed. All administrative and manufacturing operations are moved to New York. By this time Ansonia had sales offices in New York, Chicago and London. 

1886 - By now more than 225 different clock models are being manufactured. The prosperous and debt free Ansonia Clock Company reports having an inventory worth $600,000 and receivables valued at $250,000. 

1904 - Ansonia adds inexpensive, non-jeweled watches to their line. Ansonia had produced an estimated 10 million of these by 1929. 

1914 - The company is at its height. More than 440 different clock models are now available. In addition to a huge domestic sales volume, clocks were exported in large quantities to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, India and eighteen other countries.

1915 to 1920 - Sales volume drops as the effects of WWI and stiff competition from other clock companies begins to take its toll. In the early 1900's Ansonia's line of novelty clocks became their biggest sellers. However, as competition for the novelty clock market grew ever stronger, the company attempted to maintain their market share by undercutting their competitors' prices. This strategy proved financially disastrous. By failing to maintain a realistic profit margin the comnpany took on increasing debt, all the while failing to curb the competition in the niche thgey once dominated. By 1920, the number of clock models offered in their catralogs had dropped to 136. Their formerly popular black iron mantel clocks, china cased clocks and statue clocks were all discontinued.

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