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Canada Clock Company, Hamilton Clock Company, and Canada Clock Company

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City of Hamilton model mantel clock, Canada Clock Company, Hamilton, Ontario

The first attempts by Canadians to produce clocks in a factory environment are represented by this set of three companies that struggled to survive against the imports in the late 1800s.  The first Canada Clock Company was created in Whitby, Ontario in the spring of 1872 and produced clock movements and cases for just four years before failing, partly due to a disastrous fire.  The most common clocks found today are the weight-driven, thirty-hour "ogee" style, with colourful birds or flowers surrounded by a black background on the glass tablets.  At least five different labels are known, four with a beaver on them; the large label was located inside the case on the lower back.

 

 

In 1876 some of the key people, including Manager John Collins, moved to Hamilton and set up the Hamilton Clock Company.  They continued to produce weight-driven ogee clocks, often with a mirror in the lower section of the door.  In addition, several models of smaller, spring-driven mantel clocks with plain cases were made with thirty-hour movements.  There was also a spring-driven "school house" wall clock.  The label found on most of their clocks has a picture of the new factory.  Unfortunately, after just four years this new company also failed and production stopped ca. 1880.

 

One more attempt was made starting in late 1880, still operating in the same factory in Hamilton but back under the original Canada Clock Company name.  At least sixty models of spring-driven mantel clock are known, with mostly thirty-hour and some eight-day movements.  Sometimes the company label has survived on the back to this day.  Most of the door tablets have patterns produced by acid etching of the glass, which seems to have been an approach unique to the two Hamilton-based companies. Wall clocks are also found with the Canada Clock Company, Hamilton label. Sadly, the end came in December of 1884 with a declaration of bankruptcy.  The end came after a total of twelve years of struggle.

 

Although many of these clock movements and cases seem to be copies of American styles, the evidence discovered by Canadian authors Jane Varkaris and Jim Connell points clearly to Canadian manufacture.  See the Canadian Books section on this web site for information on their book written about these three companies with its pictures of most of the known clock models.

 

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