Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements
Seth Thomas Clocks and Movements by Tran Duy Ly, 2nd Edition Revised and Enlarged in 1996. 496
pages, 2100 + black & white illustrations & movement descriptions. 8 1/2 x 11 - Paperback $39.50
Hardbound $49.50 Published by Arlington Book Co. Inc., 2706 Elsmore Street, Fairfax, VA 22031 - Phone:
703-280-2005, Fax 703-280-5300
Ten years ago Tran Duy Ly published his first edition of Seth Thomas Clocks & Movements to
stunning reviews. The book was greatly commended for many reasons, none more important than it being the
first real comprehensive guide to the identification and values of most Seth Thomas clocks and movements
manufactured during the firm's first century of production since 1810. Before the conception of Mr. Ly's
guide, collectors everywhere often seemed more busy examining a myriad of individual clock catalogs than
the clock itself. Tran Duy Ly, in one innovative volume, eliminated that problem for Seth Thomas collectors
by exhaustively extracting a complete spectrum of the best catalog representations of the clockmaker's
finest accomplishments to place in his guide. The pages of his Seth Thomas Clocks & Movements contained
refreshing, exact reproductions of Seth Thomas clocks found in original catalogs. Also, the arrangement
of clocks was logical and indexed for ease of use -- reflecting the publisher-editor's own insight as
a highly knowledgeable and respected collector. Immediately, the collector's ability to quickly identify
a clock and determine its originality and value was aided immensely by Mr. Ly's work.
Thus, on hearing of the release of his second edition of Seth Thomas Clocks & Movements my
expectations were high to say the least. Although I hardly thought the first edition could be improved,
upon examination of the new edition I was shown otherwise. Mr. Ly has kept the best features of the original
including his format, so loved by clock collectors everywhere, and the plethora of the clockmaker's finest
works. But he has also added much more new material and meticulous detailing to the vast collection of
clocks already there. Highly precise and clear photographs have been added to the ensemble of catalog
reproductions and many illustrations have been enlarged. As is the case with all his publications, there
is a supplementary price guide which includes current, realistic values of each clock as determined by
a national panel of the best-informed and experienced experts on Seth Thomas clocks. The editor-publisher
has thoughtfully separated the Drice from the book thereby allowing their updating -- as values of clocks
are never static.
Tran Duy Ly, considered the leader in horological reference books and price guide information, includes
his own, tested words of wisdom in the section "Important Tips." This section is a staple in
all of his publications simply because it provides such sound advice for both novice and experienced collectors,
dealers, and restorers. The section gives instruction, from one who has a lifetime of experience, regarding
buying, selling, collecting, investing, speculation, and auctions. Factors which establish the prices
of clocks and the finer points of grading the condition of a clock are some other topics discussed.
Chris H. Bailey, a prominent authority of American clock history and former curator of the American Clock
Museum in Bristol, Connecticut, has contributed an elegant 10-page history of Seth Thomas and his clock
company. There is an eye-appealing City Series section which contains clear and crisp illustrations of
models not included in the early edition such as the Alton, Cairo, Erie, Lafayette, Peoria, and Topeka.
A complete treatment of Calendar clocks is also provided including Fashion calendar clocks. Of note throughout
the book are the displays of original catalog illustrations of many clocks accompanied by actual, sharp
photographs of the specific clock, its movement, and dial. This publication is also enriched by the knowledge
of additional experts such as, Thomas Chapell on the topic of Sonora Chime clocks, Charles May on Fashion
Calendar clocks, Tom Spittler on Longcase clocks and Mantel Clocks-Wood Cases and Paul V. Heffner on the
dating of Seth Thomas clocks. Mr. Ly has again included a separate, thorough and more vast Movements section.
Hundreds of illustrations and descriptions of Seth Thomas movements, along with a cross-referenced table,
are provided and will no doubt give an added dimension of knowledge to clock collectors and repairers.
Mr. Tran Duy Ly's newest book, the second edition of Seth Thomas Clocks & Movements, holds
true with the precedence of excellence set forth by his many previous publications -- those who own one
are sure to agree with me. I am confident that this will be the definitive source of information on Seth
Thomas clocks for all collectors. In recent years, Seth Ihomas clocks have become evermore rare and collectable
and this new guide is sure to serve as the perfect collecting tool for us all.
DAVID WARNER, FNAWCC
/ Clock Books / New Books