Welch Clocks, by Tran Duy Ly, 8 1/2 x 11", 304 pages, soft cover $32.95, hard cover $39.50,
778 black and white illustrations. Pub. 1992 by Arlington Book Company, 2706 Elsmore Street, Fairfax,
This is the latest in the series of books specializing in American Clocks. The E. N. Welch Mfg. Co. and
it predecessors the E. N. Welch and Welch Spring & Co. produced a very great quantity and variety
of clocks. According to the author, and his contributors, these clocks have captured the attention of
serious clock collectors to a point where now Welch clocks have brought prices approaching those with
Elisha Wales Welch was the largest and most successful clockmaker in the clock busy town of Bdstol. This
took place for almost all of the last half of the 9th century. Mr. Welch's business ability made him multimillionaire.
Althought, after his death and takeover by the Sessions people at the turn of the century, it deteriorated
just as rapidly. In ten years it had come to a point of ruin.
However, during the productive and prosperous period, the outstanding variety of clocks together with
imaginative innovations, inventions and improvements attracted a group of devotees who have specialized
in collecting these clocks.
This new volume, produced by Tran Duy Ly is the result of four years of bonding the many collectors of
Welch clocks but those who have achieved a studied reputation as experts in this particular area.
Many of these authorities have very sizeable collections of Welch clocks but they have also gathered old
catalogs, clippings, photographs and history. Their combined contributions has resulted in this 300 pages
collection pictured clocks, their movements, drawings of patents, actual photographs of the clocks as
well as important and famous peronalities involved in their production, design and innovations. Some names
of famous 19th century personalities were adopted to the clocks.
Mr. Welch was an ardent devotee of the opera and stage, thus he bestowed these names upon his many clocks.
Looking through catalog engraving and photographs their titles is a reminder of the great singers, musicians
and actors of the past century. Apparently his most popular was the tempestuous Adelina Patti whose name
he bestowed on many varieties of shelf clocks. Others names such as Arditi, Sembrich, Damrosch, Auber,
Wagner, Ernani, Oberon, Bellini, Alvary, Mailbran and many other hundreds of different clock case styles.
They fortunately for Mr. Welch in an age before stage agents could extract a royalty for use of their
Mr. Chris Bailey, former curator of the American Clock and Watch Museum at Bristol, Connecticut and an
author of books on American horological products has supplied an in-depth history of the Welch Company.
He has included the predeccesor of the Welch enterprise, continuing well in to the 20th century ending
with the United Metal Goods Mfg. Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y.
The very sizeable collection of such clocks and related memorabilia of Owen and Jo Burt, Owen, a Past
President of the N.A.W.C.C. is well represented between these pages. The similar types of clocks of the
Larry Rappaport collection in Great Neck, New York, that of Terry Wesner of Michigan, Larry B. Funk of
Northfield, Illinois and Robert Reichel of Kent, Washington has also supplied biographies of some of the
named personalities as well as those of inventors such as Solomon Crossby Spring, Benjamin Lewis, Daniel
Jackson Gale is fully covered, along with 30 other credited contributors.
The format of this book is one in which all types and names re-listed alphabetically. Alarm clocks, Beat
Indicatiors, Calendar clocks, Carriage clocks, Hanging clocks, Iron cased clocks, and continuous through
manv designations through Novelty, Patents, Patti types, Pendulums and various groups of wood cased clocks.
Virtually every movement model produced by Welch is pictured by photograph and patent application drawings.
Photographed too, shown close-up are views of calendar mechanism details, pendulum bobs, and the type
of beat or oscillation gauges. Each clock in this book bears an individual number, making it easier to
find through the index similary marked.
In the photos of the movements, many of the brass strap movements pictures views which also show the thickness
of the brass plates, especially those with 30 day movements, indicating they were generous with the sturdiness
of the brass stampings.
Perpetual calendar devices and their dials are clearly pictured, many in close-up, enlarged views together
with printed instructions for the "set-up".
Each clock is shown with its original catalog description and date. As in almost all of Tran Duy Ly's
editions, the opening sections of this book contains a history of the subject and maker and its principles.
This is followed by, "Important Tips" by Mr. Ly which are well-stated and quite useful, especialy
to one recently introduced to the subject. The Index with each clock numbered should make identification
within its pages simple.
Like all such books, this too serves as a price guide although none appear on its pages as being ephemeral
information. This is a welcomed edition of the growing number of American clock encyclopedic references.
HENRY B. FRIED
/ Clock Books / New Books