AMERICAN CLOCKS - Volume 1 - A Guide to Identification and Prices, by Tran Duy Ly. 8 1/2 x 11 -
320 pages - 1159 Black & White illustrations. Published 1992 by Arlington Book Company, 2706 Elsmore
Street, Fairfax, VA. 22031-1409. Smyth sewn hardbound $39.50
While there are many miscellaneous clock catalogues available, for the most part, these show products
of a particular manufacturer at some specific period in that maker's productive history. Others, which
include a greater selection of clocks encompassing most of the clocks made during the productive years
of that factory, specialize in just one brand name. This new volume, in its 320 pages, is a handy encyclopedic
reference which includes the products of nineteen manufacturers. The volume commences with an interesting
history of the Ansonia Clock Co., written by Chris Bailey, a foremost authority on American clock history
and former curator of the American Clock Museum at Bristol. He also supplies backgrounds for each of the
other eighteen factories, these following in alphabetical order.
Thus, in one book are shown thousands of different clocks in various styles, movements, novelty cases
and appearance. The experience of the editor, Tran Duy Ly, is evident in the expert development of the
format in which each company's clocks are displayed. Furthermore, he has arranged the volume in a logical
sequence so that random searching is not necessary, and finding a particular clock is made quite simple.
All clocks of similar type and appearance of each manufacturer are grouped together. In most other reproduced
catalogues, a current value is printed adjacent to the pictured item. Immediately, this ages the volume
as a price reference and can present misleading values in this era of inflation and ascending prices.
In this book, each item has the date of the original catalogue in which each clock's illustration originally
appeared. Prices are listed in a separate price list compiled by a national panel of experts and will
be updated yearly
The practical advantages and versatility of this volume on American clockmakers serve many purposes. First,
it is a quick and ready reference of all manufacturers. Second, with its detailed index and cross references,
it facilitates identification of specific clocks. Further, it provides facsimile reproductions from original
factory catalogue art and not from old, faded photographs. Factory art confers a genuine reference of
documentary value, a reliable reference with which to determine the originality of the offered clock and
the ability to determine whether the timepiece has suffered alterations. Illustrations are sharp and clear,
with precisely defined details, so much desired and sought after by expert restorers.
Mr. Ly notes also that catalogues from small companies such as Parker & Whipple, Warren Telechron,
Russell & Jones, New York Standard Watch Company, and Tiffany Electric are generally printed in pamphlet
form and easily become frayed and worn, misplaced or lost. This volume however, is presented in a securely
bound edition and will be readily available and useful for many years.
Mr. Ly has also included an invaluable section addressing "IMPORTANT TIPS" which contains expert
and useful advice and instructions regarding buying, selling investing, collecting, speculation and auctions.
The novice collector as well as the more experienced clockmaker, dealer, restorer, and research historian
will find this a valuable addition to the clock connoisseur's library.
HENRY B. FRIED
/ Clock Books / New Books