History of the American Clock Business for the Past Sixty Years,
Chauncey Jerome

Distributed Proofreading Team



Barnum's Connection with the Yankee Clock Business


[Illustration: Litho of E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, Hartford, Conn.
Signature of Chauncey Jerome]


The manufacture of Clocks has become one of the most important branches
of American industry. Its productions are of immense value and form an
important article of export to foreign countries. It has grown from
almost nothing to its present dimensions within the last thirty years,
and is confined to one of the smallest States in the Union. Sixty years
ago, a few men with clumsy tools supplied the demand; at the present
time, with systematized labor and complicated machinery, it gives
employment to thousands of men, occupying some of the largest factories
of New England. Previous to the year 1838, most clock movements were
made of wood; since that time they have been constructed of metal, which
is not only better and more durable but even cheaper to manufacture.

Many years of my own life have been inseparably connected with and
devoted to the American clock business, and the most important changes
in it have taken place within my remembrance and actual experience. Its
whole history is familiar to me, and I cannot write my life without
having much to say about "Yankee clocks." Neither can there be a history
of that business written without alluding to myself. A few weeks since
I entered my sixty-seventh year, and reviewing the past, many trying
experiences are brought fresh into my mind. For more than forty-five
years I have been actively engaged in the manufacture of clocks, and
constantly studying and contriving new methods of manufacturing for the
benefit of myself and fellow-men, and although through the
instrumentality of others, I have been unfortunate in the loss of my
good name and an independent competency, which I had honorably and
honestly acquired by these long years of patient toil and industry, it
is a satisfaction to me now to know that I have been the means of doing
some good in the world.

On the following pages in my simple language, and in a bungling manner,
I have told the story of my life. I am no author, but claim a title
which I consider nobler, that of a "Mechanic." Being possessed of a
remarkable memory, I am able to give a minute account and even the date
of every important transaction of my whole life, and distinctly remember
events which took place when I was but a child, three and a half years
old, and how I celebrated my fourth birthday. I could relate many
instances of my boyhood and later day experiences if my health, and
strength would permit. It has been no part of my plan to boast,
exaggerate, or misrepresent anything, but to give "plain facts."

A history of the great business of Clock making has never been written.
I am the oldest man living who has had much to do with it, and am best
able to give its history. To-day my name is seen on millions of these
useful articles in every part of the civilized globe, the result of
early ambition and untiring perseverance. It was in fact the "pride of
my life." Time-keepers have been known for centuries in the old world;
but I will not dwell on that. It is enough for the American people to
know that their country supplies the whole world with its most useful
time-keepers, (as well as many other productions,) and that no other
country can compete with ours in their manufacture.

It has been a long and laborious undertaking for me in my old age to
write such a work as this; but the hope that it might be useful and
instructive to many of my young friends has animated me to go on; and in
presenting it to the public it is with the hope that it will meet with
some favor, and that I shall derive some pecuniary benefit therefrom.

NEW HAVEN, August 15th, 1860.


CHAPTER I.--MY EARLY HISTORY.--Birthplace; nail making; death of my
Father; leaving home; work on a farm; hard times; the great eclipse;
bound out as a carpenter; carry tools thirty miles; work on clock dials;
what I heard at a training; trip to New Jersey in 1812; first visit to
New York; what I saw there; cross the North River in a scow; case making
in New Jersey; hard fare; return home; first appearance in New Haven; at
home again; a great traveller; experiences in the last war; go to New
London to fight the British in 1813; incidents; soldiering at New Haven
in 1814; married; hard times again; cottton [sic] cloth $1 per yard; the
cold summer of 1816; a hard job; work at clocks.

father of wood clocks in Connecticut; clocks in 1800; wheels made with
saw and jack-knife; first clocks by machinery; clocks for pork; men in
the business previous to 1810; [ ] a new invention; the Pillar
Scroll Top Case; peddling clocks on horseback; the Bronze Looking Glass

CHAPTER III.--PERSONAL HISTORY CONTINUED.--1816 to 1825; work with Mr.
Terry; commence business; work alone; large sale to a Southerner; a heap
of money; peddle clocks in Wethersfield; walk twenty-five miles in the
snow; increase business; buy mahogany in the plank; saw veneers with a
hand saw; trade cases for movements; move to Bristol; bad luck; lose
large sum of money; first cases by machinery in Bristol; make clocks in
Mass.; good luck; death of my little daughter; form a company; invent
Bronze Looking Glass Clock.

CHAPTER IV.--PROGRESS OF CLOCK MAKING.--Revival of business; Bronze
Looking Glass Clock favorite; clocks at the South; $115 for a clock;
rapid increase of the business; new church at Bristol--Rev. David L.
Parmelee; hard times of 1837; panic in business; no more clocks will be
made; wooden clocks and wooden nutmegs; opposition to Yankee pedlars in
the South; make clocks in Virginia and South Carolina; my trip to the
South; discouragements; "I won't give up;" invent one day Brass clock;
better times ahead; go further South; return home; produce the new
clock; its success.

CHAPTER V.--BRASS CLOCKS--CLOCKS IN ENGLAND.--The new clock a favorite;
I carry on the business alone; good times; profits in 1841; wood clock
makers half crazy; competition; prices reduced; can Yankee clocks be
introduced into England; I send out a cargo; ridiculed by other clock
makers; prejudice of English people against American manufacturers; how
they were introduced; seized by custom house officers; a good joke;
incidents; the Terry family.

CHAPTER VI.--THE CAREER OF A FAST YOUNG MAN.--Incidents; Frank Merrills;
a smart young man; I sell him clocks; his bogus operations; a sad
history; great losses; human nature; my experience; incident of my
boyhood; Samuel J. Mills, the Missionary; anecdotes.

Haven; factories at Bristol destroyed by fire; great loss; sickness;
heavy trouble; human nature; move whole business to New Haven; John
Woodruff; great competition; clocks in New York; swindlers; law-suit;
ill-feeling of other clock makers.

COMPANY.--Benefit of manufacturing by system; a clock case for eight
cents; a clock for seventy-five cents; thirty years ago and to-day; more
human nature; how the Brass clock is made; cost of a clock; the
facilities of the Jerome Manufacturing Company; a joint stock company;
how it was managed; interesting statements; its failure.

CHAPTER IX.--MEN NOW IN THE BUSINESS.--The New Haven Clock Co.: Hon.
Jas. E. English, H.M. Welch, John Woodruff, Hiram Camp, Philip Pond,
Charles L. Griswold, L.F. Root. Benedict & Burnham Company of Waterbury:
Arad W. Welton. Seth Thomas & Co. Wm. L. Gilbert. E.N. Welch. Beach &
Hubbell. Ireneus Atkins.

Jerome Manufacturing Co.; Terry & Barnum; interesting statements; causes
of the failure; the results.

Haven; move to Waterbury; a frightful accident; a practical story.

confidence; a dishonest man threatening to imprison me for fraud; every
dollar gone; kindness of John Woodruff, etc.

CHAPTER XIII.--THE WOOSTER PLACE CHURCH.--Reasons for building it, and
how it was built; growth of different denominations, etc.

manufactories, facilities for manufacturing, population, wealth, etc.

APPENDIX.--General directions for keeping clocks in order, etc.



I was born in the town of Canaan, Litchfield County, in the State of
Connecticut, on the 10th day of June, 1793. My parents were poor but
respectable and industrious. My father was a blacksmith and wrought-nail
maker by trade, and the father of six children--four sons and two
daughters. I was the fourth child.

In January, 1797, he moved from Canaan to the town of Plymouth, in the
same County, and in the following spring built a blacksmith shop, which
was large enough for three or four men to work at the nail making
business, besides carrying on the blacksmithing. At that time all the
nails used in the country were hammered by hand out of iron rods, which
practice has almost entirely been done away by the introduction of cut

My advantages for education were very poor. When large enough to handle
a hoe, or a bundle of rye, I was kept at work on the farm. The only
opportunity I had for attending school was in the winter season, and
then only about three months in the year, and at a very poor school.
When I was nine years old, my father took me into the shop to work,
where I soon learned to make nails, and worked with him in this way
until his death, which occurred on the fifth of October, 1804. For two
or three days before he died, he suffered the most excruciating pains
from the disease known as the black colic. The day of his death was a
sad one to me, for I knew that I should lose my happy home, and be
obliged to leave it to seek work for my support. There being no
manufacturing of any account in the country, the poor boys were obliged
to let themselves to the farmers, and it was extremely difficult to find
a place to live where they would treat a poor boy like a human being.
Never shall I forget the Monday morning that I took my little bundle of
clothes, and with a bursting heart bid my poor mother good bye.

I knew that the rest of the family had got to leave soon, and I perhaps
never to see any of them again. Being but a boy and naturally very
sympathizing, it really seemed as if my heart would break to think of
leaving my dear old home for good, but stern necessity compelled me, and
I was forced to obey.

The first year after leaving home I was at work on a farm, and almost
every day when alone in the fields would burst into tears--not because I
had to work, but because my father was dead whom I loved, and our happy
family separated and broken up never to live together again. In my new
place I was kept at work very hard, and at the age of fourteen did
almost the work of a man. It was a very lonely place where we lived, and
nothing to interest a child of my age. The people I lived with seemed to
me as very old, though they were probably not more than thirty-six years
of age, and felt no particular interest in me, more than to keep me
constantly at work, early and late, in all kinds of weather, of which I
never complained. I have many times worked all day in the woods,
chopping down trees, with my shoes filled with snow; never had a pair of
boots till I was more than twenty years old. Once in two weeks I was
allowed to go to church, which opportunity I always improved.

I liked to attend church, for I could see so many folks, and the habit
which I then acquired has never to this day left me, and my love for it
dates back to this time in my youth, though the attractions now are

I shall never forget how frightened I was at the great eclipse which
took place on the 16th of June, 1806, and which so terrified the good
people in every part of the land. They were more ignorant about such
operations of the sun fifty-four years ago than at the present time. I
had heard something about eclipses but had not the faintest idea what it
could be. I was hoeing corn that day in a by-place three miles from
town, and thought it certainly was the day of judgment. I watched the
sun steadily disappearing with a trembling heart, and not till it again
appeared bright and shining as before, did I regain my breath and
courage sufficient to whistle.

The winter before I was fifteen years old, I went to live with a house
carpenter to learn the trade, and was bound to him by my guardian till I
was twenty-one years old, and was to have my board and clothes for my
services. I learned the business very readily, and during the last three
years of my apprenticeship could do the work of a man.

It was a very pleasant family that I lived with while learning my trade.
In the year 1809 my "boss" took a job in Torringford, and I went with
him. After being absent several months from home, I felt very anxious to
see my poor mother who lived about two miles from Plymouth. She lived
alone--with the exception of my youngest brother about nine years old. I
made up my mind that I would go down and see her one night. In this way
I could satisfy my boss by not losing any time. It was about twenty
miles, and I only sixteen years old. I was really sorry after I had
started, but was not the boy to back out. It took me till nearly morning
to get there, tramping through the woods half of the way; every noise I
heard I thought was a bear or something that would kill me, and the
frightful notes of the whippoorwill made my hair stand on end. The dogs
were after me at every house I passed. I have never forgotten that
night. The boys of to-day do not see such times as I did.

The next year, 1810, my boss took a job in Ellsworth Society, Litchfield
County. I footed it to and from that place several times in the course
of the year, with a load of joiners' tools on my back. What would a boy
17 years old now think to travel thirty miles in a hot summer's day,
with a heavy load of joiners' tools on his back? But that was about the
only way that we could get around in those days. At that time there were
not half a dozen one-horse wagons in the whole town. At that place I
attended the church of Rev. Daniel Parker, father of Hon. Amasa J.
Parker, of Albany, who was then a little boy four or five years old. I
often saw him at meeting with his mother. He is a first cousin of F.S. &
J. Parker of this city, two highly respectable men engaged in the paper

In the fall of 1811, I made a bargain with the man that I was bound to,
that if he would give me four months in the winter of each year when the
business was dull, I would clothe myself. I therefore went to Waterbury,
and hired myself to Lewis Stebbins, (a singing master of that place,) to
work at making the dials for the old fashioned long clock. This kind of
business gave me great satisfaction, for I always had a desire to work
at clocks. In 1807, when I was fourteen years old, I proposed to my
guardian to get me a place with Mr. Eli Terry, of Plymouth, to work at
them. Mr. Terry was at that time making more clocks than any other man
in the country, about two hundred in a year, which was thought to be a
great number.

My guardian, a good old man, told me that there was so many clocks then
making, that the country would soon be filled with them, and the
business would be good for nothing in two or three years. This opinion
of that wise man made me feel very sad. I well remember, when I was
about twelve years old, what I heard some old gentleman say, at a
training, (all of the good folks in those days were as sure to go to
training as to attend church,) they were talking about Mr. Terry; the
foolish man they said, had begun to make two hundred clocks; one said,
he never would live long enough to finish them; another remarked, that
if he did he never would, nor could possibly sell so many, and ridiculed
the very idea.

I was a little fellow, but heard and swallowed every word those wise men
said, but I did not relish it at all, for I meant some day to make
clocks myself, if I lived.

What would those good old men have thought when they were laughing at
and ridiculing Mr. Terry, if they had known that the little urchin who
was so eagerly listening to their conversation would live to make _Two
Hundred Thousand_ metal clocks in one year, and _many millions_
in his life. They have probably been dead for years, that little boy is
now an old man, and during his life has seen these great changes. The
clock business has grown to be one of the largest in the country, and
almost every kind of American manufactures have improved in much the
same ratio, and I cannot now believe that there will ever be in the same
space of future time so many improvements and inventions as those of the
past half century--one of the most important in the history of the
world. Everyday things with us now would have appeared to our
forefathers as incredible. But returning to my story--having got myself
tolerably well posted about clocks at Waterbury, I hired myself to two
men to go into the state of New Jersey, to make the old fashioned seven
foot standing clock-case. Messrs. Hotchkiss and Pierpont, of Plymouth,
had been selling that kind of a clock without the cases, in the northern
part of that State, for about twenty dollars, apiece. The purchasers,
had complained to them however, that there was no one in that region
that could make the case for them, which prevented many others from
buying. These two men whom I went with, told them that they would get
some one to go out from Connecticut, to make the case, and thought they
could be made for about eighteen or twenty dollars apiece, which would
then make the whole clock cost about forty dollars--not so very costly
after all; for a clock was then considered the most useful of anything
that could be had in a family, for what it cost. I entered into an
agreement with these men at once, and a few days after, we three started
on the 14th Dec., 1812, in an old lumber wagon, with provisions for the
journey, to the far off Jersey. This same trip can now be made in a few
hours. We were _many_ days. We passed through Watertown, and other
villages, and stopped the first night at Bethel. This is the very place
where P.T. Barnum was born, and at about this time, of whom I shall
speak more particularly hereafter. The next morning we started again on
our journey, and not many hours after, arrived in Norwalk, then quite a
small village, situated on Long Island Sound; at this place I saw the
salt water for the first time in my life, also a small row-boat, and
began to feel that I was a great traveler indeed. The following night we
stopped at Stamford, which was, as I viewed it, a great place; here I
saw a few sloops on the Sound, which I thought was the greatest sight
that I had ever seen. This was years before a steamboat had ever passed
through the Sound. The next morning we started again for New York, and
as we passed along I was more and more astonished at the wonderful
things that I saw, and began to think that the world was very extensive.
We did not arrive at the city until night, but there being a full moon
every thing appeared as pleasant, as in the day-time. We passed down
through the Bowery, which was then like a country village, then through
Chatham street to Pearl street, and stopped for the night at a house
kept by old Mr. Titus. I arose early the next morning and hurried into
the street to see how a city looked by day-light. I stood on the corner
of Chatham and Pearl for more than an hour, and I must confess that if I
was ever astonished in my life, it was at that time. I could not
understand why so many people, of every age, description and dress, were
hurrying so in every direction. I asked a man what was going on, and
what all this excitement meant, but he passed right along without
noticing me, which I thought was very uncivil, and I formed a very poor
opinion of those city folks. I ate nothing that morning, for I thought I
could be in better business for a while at least. I wandered about
gazing at the many new sights, and went out as far as the Park; at that
time the workmen were finishing the interior of the City Hall. I was
greatly puzzled to know how the winding stone stairs could be fixed
without any seeming support and yet be perfectly safe. After viewing
many sights, all of which were exceedingly interesting to me, I returned
to the house where my companions were. They told me that they had just
heard that the ship Macedonian, which was taken a few days before from
the British by one of our ships, had just been brought into the harbor
and lay off down by Burling Slip, or in that region. We went down to see
her, and went on board. I was surprised and frightened to see brains and
blood scattered about on the deck in every direction. This prize was
taken by the gallant Decatur, but a short distance from New York.
Hastening back from this sickening scene, we resumed our journey. My two
companions had been telling me that we should have to cross the North
River in a boat, and I did not understand how a boat could be made to
carry our team and be perfectly safe, but when we arrived there, I was
much surprised to see other teams that were to cross over with us, and a
number of people. At that time an old scow crossed from New York City to
the Jersey shore, once in about two hours. What a great change has taken
place in the last forty-seven years; now large steam ferry boats are
crossing and recrossing, making the trip in a few minutes. It was the
first time that I had ever crossed a stream, except on a bridge, and I
feared that we might upset and all be drowned, but no accident happened
to us; we landed in safety, and went on our way rejoicing towards
Elizabethtown. At that place I saw a regiment of soldiers from Kentucky,
who were on their way to the northern frontier to fight the British.
They were a rough set of fellows, and looked as though they could do a
great deal of fighting. It will be remembered that this was the time of
the last war with England. We passed on through Elizabethtown and
Morristown to Dutch Valley, where we stopped for the night. We remained
at this place a few days, looking about for a cabinet shop, or a
suitable place to make the clock cases. Not succeeding, we went a mile
further north, to a place called Schooler's Mountain; here we found a
building that suited us. It was then the day before Christmas. The
people of that region, we found, kept that day more strictly than the
Sabbath, and as we were not ready to go to work, we passed Christmas day
indoors feeling very lonely indeed. The next day we began operations. A
young man from the lower part of New Jersey worked with me all winter.
We boarded ourselves in the same building that we worked in, I doing all
of the house-work and cooking, none of which was very fine or fancy, our
principal food being pork, potatoes and bread, using our work-bench for
a table. Hard work gave us good appetite.

We would work on an average about fifteen hours a day, the house-work
not occupying much of our time. I was then only nineteen years old, and
it hardly seems possible that the boys of the present day could pass
through such trials and hardships, and live. We worked in this way all
winter. When the job was finished, I took my little budget of clothes
and started for home. I traveled the first day as far as Elizabethtown,
and stopped there all night, but found no conveyance from there to New
York. I was told that if I would go down to the Point, I might in the
course of the day, get a passage in a sailing vessel to the city. I went
down early in the morning and, after waiting till noon, found a chance
to go with two men in a small sail boat. I was greatly alarmed at the
strange motions of the boat which I thought would upset, and felt
greatly relieved when I was again on terra firma.

I wandered about the streets of New York all that afternoon, bought a
quantity of bread and cheese, and engaged a passage on the Packet Sloop
Eliza, for New Haven, of her Captain Zebulon Bradley. I slept on board
of her that night at the dock, the next day we set sail for New Haven,
about ten o'clock in the forenoon, with a fair wind, and arrived at the
long wharf in (that city) about eight o'clock the same day. I stopped at
John Howe's Hotel, at the head of the wharf. This was the first time
that I was ever in this beautiful city, and I little thought then that I
ever should live there, working at my favorite business, with three
hundred men in my employ, or that I should ever be its Mayor.--Times

Very early the next morning, after looking about a little, I started
with my bundle of clothes in one hand, and my bread and cheese in the
other, to find the Waterbury turnpike, and after dodging about for a
long time, succeeded in finding it, and passed on up through Waterbury
to Plymouth, walking the whole distance, and arrived home about three
o'clock in the afternoon. This was my first trip abroad, and I really
felt that I was a great traveler, one who had seen much of the world!
What a great change has taken place in so short space of time.

Soon after I returned from my western trip, there began to be a great
excitement throughout the land, about the war. It was proposed by the
Governor of Connecticut, John Cotton Smith, of Sharon, to raise one or
two regiments of State troops to defend it in case of invasion. One
Company of one hundred men, was raised in the towns of Waterbury,
Watertown, Middlebury, Plymouth and Bethlem, and John Buckingham chosen
Captain, who is now living in Waterbury; the other commissioned officers
of the company, were Jas. M.L. Scovill, of Waterbury, and Joseph H.
Bellamy, of Bethlem. The company being composed of young men, and I
being about the right age, had of course to be one of them.

Early in the Summer of 1813, the British fleet run two of our ships of
war up the Thames River, near New London. Their ships being so large
could not enter, but lay at its mouth. Their presence so near greatly
alarmed the citizens of that city, and in fact, all of the people in the
eastern part of the State. Our regiment was ordered to be ready to start
for New London by the first of August. The Plymouth company was called
together on Sunday, which was the first of August, and exercised on the
Green in front of the church, in the fore part of the day. This unusual
occurrence of a military display on the Sabbath greatly alarmed the good
people of the congregation, but it really was a case of necessity, we
were preparing to defend our homes from a foreign foe.

In the afternoon we attended church in a body, wearing our uniforms, to
the wonder and astonishment of boys, but terrible to the old people. On
Monday morning we started on a march to Hartford, sleeping that night in
a barn, in the eastern part of Farmington, and reaching Hartford the
next day, where we joined the other companies, and all started for New
London. The first night we slept in a barn in East Hartford, and the
second one in an old church in Marlboro. I remember lying on the seat of
a pew, with my knapsack under my head. We arrived at New London on
Saturday, marching the whole distance in the first week in August, and a
hotter time I have never experienced since. We were dressed in heavy
woolen clothes, carrying heavy guns and knapsacks, and wearing large
leather caps. It was indeed a tedious job. We were whole days traveling
what can now be done in less than as many hours, and were completely
used up when we arrived there, which would not appear strange. We were
immediately stationed on the high ground, back from the river, about
half way between the city and the light-house, in plain view of the
enemy's ships. They would frequently, when there was a favorable wind,
hoist their sails and beat about in the harbor, making a splendid
appearance, and practising a good deal with their heavy guns on a small
American sloop, which they had taken and anchored a long distance off.
The bounding of the cannon balls on the water was an interesting sight
to me. The first night after our arrival, I was put on guard near the
Light-house, and in plain sight of the ships. I was much afraid that the
sharp shooters from their barges would take me for a target and be smart
enough to hit me; and a heavy shower with thunder and lightning passing
over us during the night, did not alleviate my distress. I was but a
boy, only twenty years old, and would naturally be timid in such a
situation, but I passed the night without being killed; it seems that
was not the way that I was to die.

I soon became sick and disgusted with a soldier's life; it seemed to be
too lazy and low-lived to suit me, and, as near as I could judge, the
inhabitants thought us all a low set of fellows. I never have had a
desire to live or be anywhere without I could be considered at least as
good as the average, which failing I have now as strong as ever. We not
having any battles to fight, had no opportunities of showing our
bravery, and after guarding the city for forty-five days, were
discharged; over which we made a great rejoicing, and returned home by
the way of New Haven, which was my second visit to this city. The North
and Centre Churches were then building, also, the house now standing at
the North-east corner of the Green, owned then by David DeForest;
stopping here over night, we pased [sic] on home to Plymouth. I had not
slept on a bed since I left home, and would have as soon taken the barn
floor as a good bed. This ended my first campaign.

After this I went to work at my trade, the Joiners business. I was still
an apprentice; would not be twenty-one till the next June.

The War was not yet over, and in October, 1814, our Regiment was ordered
by Governor Smith to New Haven, to guard the city. Col. Sanford, (father
of Elihu and Harvey Sanford of this city,) commanded us. On arriving, we
were stationed at the old slaughter-house, in the Eastern part of the
city, at the end of Green street. All the land East of Academy street
was then in farmers' lots, and planted with corn, rye and potatoes now
covered with large manufactories and fine dwellings. I little thought
then, that I should have the largest Clock-factory in the world, within
a stone's throw of my sleeping-place, as has since proved. Nothing of
much importance took place during our campaign at New Haven. The British
did not land or molest us. We built a large fort on the high grounds, on
the East Haven side, which commanded the Harbor, the ruins of which can
now be seen from the city. A good deal of fault was found by the
officers and men with the provisions, which were very poor. When this
campaign closed I was through with my military glory, and returned to my
home, sick and disgusted with a soldier's life. I hope our country will
not be disgraced with another war.

All of the old people will remember what a great rejoicing there was
through the whole country, when peace was declared in February, 1815. I
was married about that time to Salome Smith, daughter of Capt.
Theophilus Smith, one of the last of the Puritanical families there was
in the town; she made one of the best of wives and mothers. She died on
the 6th of March, 1854. We lived together 39 years. A short time after
we were married, I moved to the town of Farmington, and hired a house of
Mr. Chauncey Deming to live in, and went to work for Capt. Selah Porter,
for twenty dollars per month. We built a house for Maj. Timothy Cowles,
which was then the best one in Farmington. I was not worth at this time
fifty dollars in the world.

1815, the year after the war, was, probably the hardest one there has
been for the last hundred years, for a young man to begin for himself.

Pork was sold for thirteen dollars per hundred, Flour at thirteen
dollars per barrel; Molasses was sold for seventy-five cents per gallon,
and brown Sugar at thirty-four cents per pound. I remember buying some
cotton cloth for a common shirt, for which I paid one dollar a yard, no
better than can now be bought for ten cents. I mention these things to
let the young men know what a great change has taken place, and what my
prospects were at that time. Not liking this place, I moved back to
Plymouth. I did not have money enough to pay my rent, which however, was
not due until the next May, but Mr. Deming, who by the way, was one of
the richest men in the State, was determined that I should not go till I
had paid him. I promised him that he should have the money when it was
due, if my life was spared, and he finally consented to let me go. When
it came due I walked to Farmington, fifteen miles, paid him and walked
back the same day, feeling relieved and happy. I obtained the job of
finishing the inside of a dwelling house, which gave me great
encouragement. The times were awful hard and but little business done at
anything. It would almost frighten a man to see a five dollar bill, they
were so very scarce. My work was about two miles from where I lived. My
wife was confined about this time with her first babe. I would rise
every morning two hours before day-light and prepare my breakfast, and
taking my dinner in a little pail, bid my good wife good-by for the day,
and start for my work, not returning till night. About this time the
Congregational Society employed a celebrated music teacher to conduct
the church singing, and I having always had a desire to sing sacred
music, joined his choir and would walk a long distance to attend the
singing schools at night after working hard all day. I was chosen
chorister after a few weeks, which encouraged me very much in the way of
singing, and was afterwards employed as a teacher to some extent, and
for a long time led the singing there and at Bristol where I afterwards
lived. The next summer was the cold one of 1816, which none of the old
people will ever forget, and which many of the young have heard a great
deal about. There was ice and snow in every month in the year. I well
remember on the seventh of June, while on my way to work, about a mile
from home, dressed throughout with thick woolen clothes and an overcoat
on, my hands got so cold that I was obliged to lay down my tools and put
on a pair of mittens which I had in my pocket. It snowed about an hour
that day. On the tenth of June, my wife brought in some clothes that had
been spread on the ground the night before, which were frozen stiff as
in winter. On the fourth of July, I saw several men pitching quoits in
the middle of the day with thick overcoats on, and the sun shining
bright at the same time. A body could not feel very patriotic in such
weather. I often saw men when hoeing corn, stop at the end of a row and
get in the sun by a fence to warm themselves. Not half enough corn
ripened that year to furnish seed for the next. I worked at my trade,
and had the job of finishing the inside of a three-story house, having
twenty-seven doors and a white oak matched floor to make, and did the
whole for eighty-five dollars. The same work could not now be done as I
did it for less than five hundred dollars. Such times as these were
indeed hard for poor young men. We did not have many carpets or costly
furniture and servants; but as winter approached times seemed to grow
harder and harder. No work could be had. I was in debt for my little
house and lot which I had bought only a short time before, near the
center of Plymouth, and had a payment to make on it the next spring. I
proposed going south to the city of Baltimore, to obtain work, and had
already made preparations to go and leave my young family for the
winter, at which I could not help feeling very sad, when I accidentally
heard that Mr. Eli Terry was about to fit up his factory (which was
built the year before,) for making his new Patent Shelf Clock. I thought
perhaps I could get a job with him, and started immediately to see Mr.
Terry, and closed a bargain with him at once. I never shall forget the
great good feeling that this bargain gave me. It was a pleasant kind of
business for me, and then I knew I could see my family once a week or
oftener if necessary.



At the beginning of this book I have said that I would give to the
public a history of the AMERICAN CLOCK BUSINESS. I am now the oldest man
living that has had much to do with the manufacturing of clocks, and
can, I believe, give a more correct account than any other person. This
great business has grown almost from nothing during my remembrance.
Nearly all of the clocks used in this country are made or have been made
in the small State of Connecticut, and a heavy trade in them is carried
on in foreign countries. The business or manufacture of them has become
so systematized of late that it has brought the prices exceedingly low,
and it has long been the astonishment of the whole world how they could
be made so cheap and yet be good. A gentleman called at my factory a few
years ago, when I was carrying on the business, who said he lived in
London, and had seen my clocks in that city, and declared that he was
perfectly astonished at the price of them, and had often remarked that
if he ever came to this country he would visit the factory and see for
himself. After I had showed him all the different processes it required
to complete a clock, he expressed himself in the strongest terms--he
told me he had traveled a great deal in Europe, and had taken a great
interest in all kinds of manufactures, but had never seen anything equal
to this, and did not believe that there was anything made in the known
world that made as much show, and at the same time was as cheap and
useful as the brass clock which I was then manufacturing.

* * * * *

The man above all others in his day for the wood clock was Eli Terry. He
was born in East Windsor, Conn., in April, 1772, and made a few old
fashioned hang-up clocks in his native place before he was twenty-one
years of age. He was a young man of great ingenuity and good native
talent. He moved to the town of Plymouth, Litchfield county, in 1793,
and commenced making a few of the same kind, working alone for several
years. About the year 1800, he might have had a boy or one or two young
men to help him. They would begin one or two dozen at a time, using no
machinery, but cutting the wheels and teeth with a saw and jack-knife.
Mr. Terry would make two or three trips a year to the New Country, as it
was then called, just across the North River, taking with him three or
four clocks, which he would sell for about twenty-five dollars apiece.
This was for the movement only. In 1807 he bought an old mill in the
southern part of the town, and fitted it up to make his clocks by
machinery. About this time a number of men in Waterbury associated
themselves together, and made a large contract with him, they furnishing
the stock, and he making the movements. With this contract and what he
made and sold to other parties, he accumulated quite a little fortune
for those times. The first five hundred clocks ever made by machinery in
the country were started at one time by Mr. Terry at this old mill in
1808, a larger number than had ever been begun at one time in the world.
Previous to this time the wheels and teeth had been cut out by hand;
first marked out with square and compasses, and then sawed with a fine
saw, a very slow and tedious process. Capt. Riley Blakeslee, of this
city, lived with Mr. Terry at that time, and worked on this lot of
clocks, cutting the teeth. Talking with Capt. Blakeslee a few days
since, he related an incident which happened when he was a boy, sixty
years ago, and lived on a farm in Litchfield. One day Mr. Terry came to
the house where he lived to sell a clock. The man with whom young
Blakeslee lived, left him to plow in the field and went to the house to
make a bargain for it, which he did, paying Mr. Terry in salt pork, a
part of which he carried home in his saddle-bags where he had carried
the clock. He was at that time very poor, but twenty-five years after
was worth $200,000, all of which he made in the clock business.

Mr. Terry sold out his business to Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley, two of
his leading workmen, in 1810. This establishment was the leading one for
several years, but other ones springing up in the vicinity, the
competition became so great that the prices were reduced from ten to
five dollars apiece for the bare movement. Daniel Clark, Zenas Cook and
Wm. Porter, started clock-making at Waterbury, and carried it on largely
for several years, but finally failed and went out of the business.

Col. Wm. Leavenworth, of the same place, was in the business in 1810,
but failed, and moved to Albany, N.Y. A man by the name of Mark
Leavenworth made clocks for a long time, and in the latter part of his
life manufactured the Patent Shelf Clock.

Two brothers, James and Lemuel Harrison, made a few before the year
1800, using no machinery, making their wheels with a saw and knife.
Sixty years ago, a man by the name of Gideon Roberts got up a few in the
old way: he was an excellent mechanic and made a good article. He would
finish three or four at a time and take them to New York State to sell.
I have seen him many times, when I was a small boy, pass my father's
house on horseback with a clock in each side of his saddle-bags, and a
third lashed on behind the saddle with the dials in plain sight. They
were then a great curiosity to me. Mr. Roberts had to give up this kind
of business; he could not compete with machinery. John Rich of Bristol
was in the business; also Levi Lewis, but gave it up in a few years. An
Ives family in Bristol were quite conspicuous as clock-makers. They were
good mechanics. One of them, Joseph Ives, has done a great deal towards
improving the eight day brass clock, which I shall speak about

Chauncey Boardman, of Bristol, Riley Whiting, of Winsted, and Asa
Hopkins, of Northfield, were all engaged in the manufacture of the old
fashioned hang-up clock. Butler Dunbar, an old schoolmate of mine, and
father of Col. Edward Dunbar, of Bristol, was engaged with Dr. Titus
Merriman in the same business. They all gave up the business after a few

Mr. Eli Terry (in the year 1814,) invented a beautiful shelf clock made
of wood, which completely revolutionized the whole business. The making
of the old fashioned hang-up wood clock, about which I have been
speaking, passed out of existence. This patent article Mr. Terry
introduced, was called the Pillar Scroll Top Case. The pillars were
about twenty-one inches long, three-quarters of an inch at the base, and
three-eights at the top--resting on a square base, and the top finished
by a handsome cap. It had a large dial eleven inches square, and tablet
below the dial seven by eleven inches. This style of clock was liked
very much and was made in large quantities, and for several years. Mr.
Terry sold a right to manufacture them to Seth Thomas, for one thousand
dollars, which was thought to be a great sum. At first, Terry and Thomas
made each about six thousand clocks per year, but afterwards increased
to ten or twelve thousand. They were sold for fifteen dollars apiece
when first manufactured. I think that these two men cleared about one
hundred thousand dollars apiece, up to the year 1825. Mr. Thomas had
made a good deal of money on the old fashioned style, for he made a good
article, and had but little competition, and controlled most of the

In 1818, Joseph Ives invented a metal clock, making the plates of iron
and the wheels of brass. The movement was very large, and required a
case about five feet long. This style was made for two or three years,
but not in large quantities.

In the year 1825, the writer invented a new case, somewhat larger than
the Scroll Top, which was called the Bronze Looking-Glass Clock. This
was the richest looking and best clock that had ever been made, for the
price. They could be got up for one dollar less than the Scroll Top, yet
sold for two dollars more.



I must now go back and give a history of myself, from the winter of
1816, to this time (1825.) As I said before, I went to work for Mr.
Terry, making the Patent Shelf Clock in the winter of 1816. Mr. Thomas
had been making them for about two years, doing nearly all of the labor
on the case by hand. Mr. Terry in the mean time being a great mechanic
had made many improvements in the way of making the cases. Under his
directions I worked a long time at putting up machinery and benches. We
had a circular saw, the first one in the town, and which was considered
a great curiosity. In the course of the winter he drew another plan of
the Pillar Scroll Top Case with great improvements over the one which
Thomas was then making. I made the first one of the new style that was
ever produced in that factory, which became so celebrated for making the
patent case for more than ten years after.

When my time was out in the spring, I bought some parts of clocks,
mahogany, veneers, etc., and commenced in a small shop, business for
myself. I made the case, and bought the movements, dials and glass,
finishing a few at a time. I found a ready sale for them. I went on in
this small way for a few years, feeling greatly animated with my
prosperity, occasionally making a payment on my little house. I heard
one day of a man in Bristol, who did business in South Carolina, who
wanted to buy a few clocks to take to that market with him. I started at
once over to see him, and soon made a bargain with him to deliver twelve
wood clocks at twelve dollars apiece. I returned home greatly encouraged
by the large order, and went right to work on them. I had them finished
and boxed ready for shipping in a short time. I had agreed to deliver
them on a certain day and was to receive $144 in cash. I hired an old
horse and lumber wagon of one of my neighbors, loaded the boxes and took
an early start for Bristol. I was thinking all the way there of the
large sum that I was to receive, and was fearful that something might
happen to disappoint me. I arrived at Bristol early in the forenoon and
hurried to the house of my customer, and told him I had brought the the
clocks as agreed. He said nothing but went into another room with his
son. I thought surely that something was wrong and that I should not get
the wished-for money, but after a while the old gentleman came back and
sat down by the table. "Here," he says, "is your money, and a heap of
it, too." It did look to me like a large sum, and took us a long time to
count it. This was more than forty years ago, and money was very scarce.
I took it with a trembling hand, and securing it safely in my pocket,
started immediately for home. This was a larger sum than I had ever had
at one time, and I was much alarmed for fear that I should be robbed of
my treasure before I got home. I thought perhaps it might be known that
I was to receive a large sum for clocks, and that some robbers might be
watching in a lonely part of the road and take it from me, but not
meeting any, I arrived safely home, feeling greatly encouraged and
happy. I told my wife that I would make another payment on our house,
which I did with a great deal of satisfaction. After this I was so
anxious to get along with my work that I did not so much as go out into
the street for a week at a time. I would not go out of the gate from the
time I returned from church one Sunday till the next. I loved to work as
well as I did to eat. I remember once, when at school, of chopping a
whole load of wood, for a great lazy boy, for one penny, and I used to
chop all the wood I could get from the families in the neighborhood,
moonlight nights, for very small sums. The winter after I made this
large sale, I took about one dozen of the Pillar Scroll Top Clocks, and
went to the town of Wethersfield to sell them. I hired a man to carry me
over there with a lumber wagon, who returned home. I would take one of
these clocks under each arm and go from house to house and offer them
for sale. The people seemed to be well pleased with them, and I sold
them for eighteen dollars apiece. This was good luck for me. I sold my
last one on Saturday afternoon. There had been a fall of snow the night
before of about eight or ten inches which ended in a rain, and made very
bad walking. Here I was, twenty-five miles from home, my wife was
expecting me, and I felt that I could not stay over Sunday. I was
anxious to tell my family of my good luck that we might rejoice
together. I started to walk the whole distance, but it proved to be the
hardest physical undertaking that I ever experienced. It was bedtime
when I reached Farmington, only one-third the distance, wallowing in
snow porridge all the way. I did not reach home till near Sunday
morning, more dead than alive. I did not go to church that day, which
made many wonder what had become of me, for I was always expected to be
in the singers' seat on Sunday. I did not recover from the effects of
that night-journey for a long time. Soon after this occurrence, I began
to increase my little business, and and employed my old joiner "boss"
and one of his apprentices; bought my mahogany in the plank and sawed my
own vaneers [sic] with a hand-saw. I engaged a man with a one horse
wagon to go to New York after a load of mahogany, and went with him to
select it. The roads were very muddy, and we were obliged to walk the
whole distance home by the side of the wagon. I worked along in this
small way until the year 1821, when I sold my house and lot, which I had
almost worshipped, to Mr. Terry; it was worth six hundred dollars. He
paid me one hundred wood clock movements, with the dials, tablets, glass
and weights. I went over to Bristol to see a man by the name of George
Mitchell, who owned a large two story house, with a barn and seventeen
acres of good land in the southern part of the town, which he said he
would sell and take his pay in clocks. I asked him how many of the Terry
Patent Clocks he would sell it for; he said two hundred and fourteen. I
told him I would give it, and closed the bargain at once. I finished up
the hundred parts which I had got from Mr. Terry, exchanged cases with
him for more, obtained some credit, and in this way made out the
quantity for Mitchell.

The next summer I lost seven hundred and forty dollars by Moses Galpin
of Bethlem. Five or six others with myself trusted this man Galpin with
a large quantity of clocks, and he took them to Louisiana to sell in the
fall of 1821. In the course of the winter he was taken sick and died
there. One of his pedlars came home the next spring without one dollar
in money; the creditors were called together to see what had better be
done. The note that he had given me the fall before was due in July, and
I as much expected it as I did the sun to rise and set. Here was trouble
indeed; it was a great sum of money to lose, and what to do I didn't
know. The creditors had several meetings and finally concluded to send
out a man to look after the property that was scattered through the
state. He could not go without money. We thought if we furnished him
with means to go and finish up the business, we should certainly get
enough to pay the original debt. It was agreed that we should raise a
certain sum, and that each one should pay in proportion to the amount of
his claim. My part was one hundred dollars, and it was a hard job for me
to raise so large a sum after my great loss. When it came fall and time
for him to start, I managed in some way to have it ready. This man's
name was Isaac Turner, about fifty years old, and said to be very
respectable. He started out and traveled all over the state, but found
every thing in the worst kind of shape. The men to whom Galpin had sold
would not pay when they heard that he was dead. Mr. Turner was gone from
home ten months, but instead of his returning with money for us, we were
obliged to pay money that he had borrowed to get home with, besides his
expenses for the ten months that he was gone. This was harder for me
than any of the others, and was indeed a bitter pill. As it was my first
heavy loss I could not help feeling very bad.

In the winter and spring of 1822, I built a small shop in Bristol, for
making the cases only, as all of the others made the movements. The
first circular saw ever used there was put up by myself in 1822, and
this was the commencement of making cases by machinery in that town,
which has since been so renowned for its clock productions. I went on
making cases in a small way for a year or two, sometimes putting in a
few movements and selling them, but not making much money. The clocks of
Terry and Thomas sold first rate, and it was quite difficult to buy any
of the movements, as no others were making the Patent Clock at that
time. I was determined to have some movements to case, and went to
Chauncey Boardman, who had formerly made the old fashioned hang-up
movements, and told him I wanted him to make me two hundred of his kind
with such alterations as I should suggest. He said he would make them
for me. I had them altered and made so as to take a case about four feet
long, which I made out of pine, richly stained and varnished. This made
a good clock for time and suited farmers first rate.

In the spring of 1824, I went into company with two men by the name of
Peck, from Bristol. We took two hundred of these movements and a few
tools in two one horse wagons and started East, intending to stop in the
vicinity of Boston. We stopped at a place about fifteen miles from there
called East Randolph; after looking about a little, we concluded to
start our business there and hired a joiners' shop of John Adams, a
cousin of J.Q. Adams. We then went to Boston and bought a load of
lumber, and commenced operations. I was the case-maker of our concern,
and 'pitched into' the pine lumber in good earnest. I began four cases
at a time and worked like putting out fire on them. My partners were
waiting for some to be finished so that they could go out and sell. In
two or three days I had got them finished and they started with them,
and I began four more. In a day or two they returned home having sold
them at sixteen dollars _each_. This good fortune animated me very
much. I worked about fourteen or fifteen hours per day, and could make
about four cases and put in the glass, movements and dials. We worked on
in this way until we had finished up the two hundred, and sold them at
an average of sixteen dollars apiece. We had done well and returned home
with joyful hearts in the latter part of June. On arriving home I found
my little daughter about five years old quite sick. In a week after she
died. I deeply felt the loss of my little daughter, and every 7th of
July it comes fresh into my mind.

In the fall of 1824, I formed a company with my brother, Noble Jerome,
and Elijah Darrow, for the manufacturing of clocks, and began making a
movement that required a case about six or eight inches longer than the
Terry Patent. We did very well at this for a year or two, during which
time I invented the Bronze Looking Glass Clock, which soon
revolutionized the whole business. As I have said before, it could be
made for one dollar less and sold for two dollars more than the Patent
Case; they were very showy and a little longer. With the introduction of
this clock in the year 1825, closed the second chapter of the history of
the Yankee Clock business.



With the introduction of the Bronze Looking-Glass Clock, the business
seemed to revive in all the neighboring towns, but more especially in
Plymouth and Bristol. Both Mr. Terry and Mr. Thomas, did and said much
in disparagement of my new invention, and tried to discourage the
pedlars from buying of me, but they did as men do now-a-days, buy where
they can do the best and make the most money. This new clock was liked
very much in the southern market. I have heard of some of these being
sold in Mississippi and Lousianna [sic] as high as one hundred and one
hundred and fifteen dollars, and a great many at ninety dollars, which
was a good advance on the first cost. Mr. Thomas gave out that he would
not make them any how, he did not want to follow Jerome, but did finally
come to it, making only a few at first, but running them down in the
mean time and praising his old case. He finally gave up making the
Scroll Top and made my new kind altogether.

Samuel Terry, a brother of Eli, came to Bristol about this time, and
commenced making this kind of clock.

Several others began to make them--Geo. Mitchell and his brother in-law
Rollin Atkins went into it, also Riley Whiting of Winsted. The business
increased very rapidly between 1827 and 1837. During these ten years
Jeromes and Barrow made more than any other company. The two towns of
Plymouth and Bristol grew and improved very rapidly; many new houses
were built, and every thing looked prosperous.

In 1831, a new church was built in Bristol, and, it is said, through the
introduction of this Bronze Looking Glass Clock. Jeromes and Barrow paid
one-third of the cost of its erection. The writer obtained every dollar
of the subscription. The Hon. Tracy Peck and myself first started this
project, which ended in building this fine church which was finished and
dedicated in August, 1832. The Rev. David Lewis Parmelee preached the
dedication sermon, and was the settled minister there. I was greatly
interested in his preaching for ten years. He has for the last nineteen
years preached at South Farms now the town of Morris. This Mr. Parmelee
was a merchant till he was thirty years old, and was then converted in
some mysterious manner, as St. Paul was, and left his business to preach
the gospel. He proved to be one of the soundest preachers in the land,
and I have no doubt but he will be one of the bright and shining lights
in heaven. Oh! what happy days I saw during those ten years, little
dreaming of the great troubles that were before me, or that I should
experience in after life, which are now resting so heavily upon me, many
times seeming greater than I can bear. But such is life.

About this time, also, Chauncey and Lawson C. Ives, two highly
respectable men, built a factory in Bristol for the purpose of making an
eight day brass clock. This clock was invented by Joseph Ives, a brother
of Chauncey, and sold for about twenty dollars. The manufacture of these
was carried on very successfully for a few years by them, but in 1836,
their business was closed up, they having made about one hundred
thousand dollars. Soon after this, in 1837, came the great panic and
break down of business which extended all over the country. Clock makers
and almost every one else stopped business. I should mention that
another company made the eight day brass clock previous to 1837, Erastus
and Harvey Case and John Birge. Their clocks were retailed mostly in the
southern market. They made perhaps four thousand a year. The Ives Co.,
made about two thousand, but both went out of business in 1837, and it
was thought that clock making was about done with in Conn.

The third chapter, as I have divided it, was now closing up. Wood clocks
were good for time, but it was a slow job to properly make them, and
difficult to procure wood just right for wheels and plates, and it took
a whole year to season it. No factory had made over _Ten_ thousand
in a year; they were always classed with wooden nutmegs and wooden
cucumber seeds, and could not be introduced into other countries to any
advantage. But this was not the only trouble; being on water long as
they would have to be, would swell the wood of the wheels and ruin the
clock. Here then we had the eight day brass clock costing about twenty
dollars; the idea had always been that a brass clock must be an eight
day, and all one day should be of wood, and the plan of a brass one day
had never been thought of.

In 1835, the southern people were greatly opposed to the Yankee pedlars
coming into their states, especially the clock pedlars, and the licences
were raised so high by their Legislatures that it amounted to almost a
prohibition. Their laws were that any goods made in their own States
could be sold without licence. Therefore clocks to be profitable must be
made in those states. Chauncey and Noble Jerome started a factory in
Richmond Va., making the cases and parts at Bristol, Connecticut, and
packing them with the dials, glass &c. We shipped them to Richmond and
took along workmen to put them together. The people were highly pleased
with the idea of having clocks all made in their State. The old planters
would tell the pedlars they meant to go to Richmond and see the
wonderful machinery there must be to produce such articles and would no
doubt have thought the tools we had there were sufficient to make a
clock. We carried on this kind of business for two or three years and
did very well at it, though it was unpleasant. Every one knew it was all
a humbug trying to stop the pedlars from coming to their State. We
removed from Richmond to Hamburg, S.C., and manufactured in the same
way. This was in 1835 and '36.

There was another company doing the same kind of business at Augusta,
Geo., by the name Case, Dyer, Wadsworth & Co., and Seth Thomas was
making the cases and movements for them. The hard times came down on us
and we really thought that clocks would no longer be made. Our firm
thought we could make them if any body could, but like the others felt
discouraged and disgusted with the whole business as it was then. I am
sure that I had lost, from 1821 to this time, more than one hundred
thousand _dollars_, and felt very much discouraged in consequence.
Our company had a good deal of unsettled business in Virginia and South
Carolina, and I started in the fall of 1837 for those places. Arriving
at Richmond, I had a strong notion of going into the marl business. I
had been down into Kent county, the summer before, where I saw great
mountains of this white marl composed of shells of clams and oysters
white as chalk. I had sent one vessel load of this to New Haven the year
before. At Richmond I was looking after our old accounts, settling up,
collecting notes and picking up some scattered clocks.

One night I took one of these clocks into my room and placing it on the
table, left a light burning near it and went to bed. While thinking over
my business troubles and disappointments, I could not help feeling very
much depressed. I said to myself I will not give up yet, I know more
about the clock business than anything else. That minute I was looking
at the wood clock on the table and it came into my mind instantly that
there could be a cheap one day brass clock that would take the place of
the wood clock. I at once began to figure on it; the case would cost no
more, the dials, glass, and weights and other fixtures would be the
same, and the size could be reduced. I lay awake nearly all night
thinking this new thing over. I knew there was a fortune in it. Many a
sensible man has since told me that if I could have secured the sole
right for making them for ten years, I could easily have made a million
of dollars. The more I looked at this new plan, the better it appeared.
My business took me to South Carolina before I could return home. I had
now enough to think of day and night; this one day brass clock was
constantly on my mind; I was drawing plans and contriving how they could
be made best. I traveled most of the way from Richmond by stage.
Arriving at Augusta, Geo., I called on the Connecticut men who were
finishing wood clocks for that market, and told Mr. Dyer the head man,
that I had got up, or could get up something when I got home that would
run out all the wood clocks in the country, Thomas's and all; he laughed
at me quite heartily. I told him that was all right, and asked him to
come to Bristol when he went home and I would show him something that
would astonish him. He promised that he would, and during the next
summer when he called at my place, I showed him a shelf full of them
running, which he acknowledged to be the best he had ever seen.

I arrived home from the south the 28th of January, and told my brother
who was a first-rate clock maker what I had been thinking about since I
had been gone. He was much pleased with my plan, thought it a first rate
idea, and said he would go right to work and get up the movement, which
he perfected in a short time so that it was the best clock that had ever
been made in this or any other country. There have been more of this
same kind manufactured than of any other in the United States. What I
originated that night on my bed in Richmond, has given work to thousands
of men yearly for more than twenty years, built up the largest
manufactories in New England, and put more than a million of dollars
into the pockets of the brass makers,--"but there is not one of them
that remembers _Joseph_."



We went on very prosperously making the new clock, and it was admired
by every body. In the year 1839, some of my neighbors and a few of my
leading workmen had a great desire to get into the same kind of
business. We knew competition amongst Yankees was almost sure to kill
business and proposed to have them come in with us and have a share of
the profits. An arrangement to this effect was made and we went on in
this way until the fall of 1840. I found they were much annoyance and
bother to me, and so bought them all out, but had to give them one
hundred per cent. for the use of their money. Some of them had not paid
in anything, but I had to pay them the same profits I did the rest, to
get rid of them. One man had put in three thousand dollars for which I
paid him six thousand. I also bought out my brother Noble Jerome, who
had been in company with me for a long time, and carried on the whole
business alone, which seemed to be rapidly improving.

I made in 1841, thirty-five thousand dollars clear profits. Men would
come and deposit money with me before their orders were finished. This
successful state of things set all of the wood clock makers half crazy,
and they went into it one after another as fast as they could, and of
course run down the price very fast--"Yankee-like." I had been thinking
for two or three years of introducing my clocks into England, and had
availed myself of every opportunity to get posted on that subject; when
I met Englishmen in New York and other places, I would try to find out
by them what the prospects would be for selling Yankee clocks in their
country. I ascertained that there were no cheap metal clocks used or
known there, the only cheap timepiece they had was a Dutch hang-up wood

In 1842, I determined to make the venture of sending a consignment of
brass clocks to Old England. I made a bargain with Epaphroditus Peck, a
very talented young man of Bristol, a son of Hon. Tracy Peck, to take
them out, and sent my son--Chauncey Jerome, Jr. with him. All of the
first cargo consisted of the O.G. one day brass clocks. As soon as it
was known by the neighboring clock-makers, they laughed at me, and
ridiculed the idea of sending clocks to England where labor was so
cheap. They said that they never would interfere with Jerome in that
visionary project, but no sooner had I got them well introduced, after
spending thousands of dollars to effect it, than they had all forgotten
what they said about my folly, and one after another sent over the same
goods to compete with me and run down the price. As I have said before,
wood clocks could never have been exported to Europe from this country,
for many reasons. They would have been laughed at, and looked upon with
suspicion as coming from the wooden nutmeg country, and classed as the
same. They could not endure a long voyage across the water without
swelling the parts and rendering them useless as time-keepers;
experience had taught us this, as many wood clocks on a passage to the
southern market, had been rendered unfit for use for this very reason.
Metal clocks can be sent any where without injury. Millions have been
sent to Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, Palestine, and in fact,
to every part of the world; and millions of dollars brought into this
country by this means, and I think it not unfair to claim the honor of
inventing and introducing this low-price time-piece which has given
employment to so many of our countrymen, and has also, been so useful to
the world at large. No family is so poor but that they can have a
time-piece which is both useful and ornamental. They can be found in
every civilized portion of the globe. Meeting a sea captain one day, he
told me that on landing at the lonely island of St. Helena, the first
thing that he noticed on entering a house, was my name on the face of a
brass clock. Many years ago a missionary (Mr. Ruggles,) at the Sandwich
Islands, told me that he had one of my clocks in his house, the first
one that had ever been on the islands. Travelers have mentioned seeing
them in the city of Jerusalem, in many parts of Egypt, and in fact,
every where, which accounts could not but be interesting and gratifying
to me.

It was a long and tedious undertaking to introduce my first cargo in
England. Mr. Peck and my son wrote me a great many times the first year,
that they never could be sold there, the prejudice against American
manufactures was so great that they would not buy them. Although very
much discouraged, I kept writing them to 'stick to it.' They were once
turned out of a store in London and threatened if they offered their
"Yankee clocks" again to the English people "who made clocks for the
world;" "they were good for nothing or they could not be offered so
cheap." They were finally introduced in this way; the young men
persuaded a merchant to take two into his store for sale. He reluctantly
gave his consent, saying he did not believe they would run at all; they
set the two running and left the price of them. On calling the next day
to see how they were getting along, and what the London merchant thought
of them, they were surprised to find them both gone. On asking what had
become of them, they were told that two men came in and liked their
looks and bought them. The merchant said he did not think any one would
ever buy them, but told them they might bring in four more; "I will see"
he says, "if I can sell any _more_ of your Yankee clocks." They
carried them in and calling the next day, found them all gone. The
merchant then told them to bring in a dozen. These went off in a short
time, and not long after, this same merchant bought two hundred at once,
and other merchants began to think they could make some money on these
Yankee clocks and the business began to improve very rapidly. There are
always men enough who are ready to enter into a business after it is
started and looks favorable. A pleasing incident occurred soon after we
first started. The Revenue laws of England are (or were, at that time)
that the owner of property passing through the Custom-house shall put
such a price on his goods as he pleases, knowing that the government
officers have a right to take the property by adding ten per cent. to
the invoiced price.

I had always told my young men over there to put a fair price on the
clocks, which they did; but the officers thought they put them
altogether too low, so they made up their minds that they would take a
lot, and seized one ship-load, thinking we would put the prices of the
next cargo at higher rates. They paid the cash for this cargo, which
made a good sale for us. A few days after, another invoice arrived which
our folks entered at the same prices as before; but they were again
taken by the officers paying us cash and ten per cent. in addition,
which was very satisfactory to us. On the arrival of the third lot, they
began to think they had better let the Yankees sell their own goods and
passed them through unmolested, and came to the conclusion that we could
make clocks much better and cheaper than their own people. Their
performance has been considered a first-rate joke to say the least.
There will, in all probability, be millions of clocks sold in that
country, and we are the people who will furnish all Europe with all
their common cheap ones as time lasts.

All of the spring and eight day clocks have grown out of the one day
weight clock. There can now be as good an eight day clock bought for
three or four dollars, as could be had for eighteen or twenty dollars
before I got up the one day clock. Mr. Peck, who went to England with my
son, died in London on the 20th, September, 1857; my son died in this
country in July, 1853: so they have gone the way of all the earth, and I
shall have to follow them soon. They were instrumental in laying the
foundation of a large and prosperous business which is now being
successfully carried on. The duties on clocks to England have been
recently removed, which will result to the advantage of persons now in
the business. The many difficulties which we had to battle and contend
with are all overcome. When I invented this one day brass clock, I for
the first time put on the zinc dial which is now universally used, and
is a great improvement on the wood dial, both in appearance and in cost.
This simple idea has been of immense value to all clock-makers.

In the year 1821, when I moved to Bristol, no one was making clocks in
that town; the business had all passed away from there and was carried
on in Plymouth. The little shop I had put up had no machinery in it at
that time. I soon began to make so many cases that I wanted some better
way to get my veneers than to saw them by hand. I found a small building
on a stream some distance from my shop which I secured, with the
privilege of putting a circular saw in the upper part, but which I could
not use till night--the power being wanted for the other machinery
during the day. I have worked there a great many nights till twelve
o'clock and even two in the morning, sawing veneers for my men to use
the next day. I sawed my hand nearly off one night when alone at this
old mill, and was so faint by the loss of blood that I could hardly
reach home. I always worked hard myself and managed in the most
economical manner possible. In 1825, we built a small factory on the
stream below the shop where I sawed my veneers two or three years
before, but there was no road to it or bridge across the stream. I had
crossed it for years on a pole, running the risk many times when the
water was high, of being drowned, but it seems I was not to die in that
way, but to live to help others and make a slave of myself for them. In
1826, we petitioned the town to lay out a road by our factory and build
a bridge, which was seriously objected to. We finally told them that if
they would lay out the road, we would build the bridge and pay for one
half of the land for the road, which, after a great deal of trouble, was
agreed to, and proved to be of great benefit to the town. Our business
was growing very rapidly and a number of houses were built up along the
new road and about our factory. I should here mention that Mr. Eli
Terry, Jr., when I had got the Bronze Looking-Glass Clock well a going,
moved from Plymouth Hollow two miles east of Plymouth Centre, (now the
village of Terryville,) where he built another factory and went into
business. His father retiring about this time, he took all of his old
customers. He was a good business man and made money very fast. He was
taken sick and died when about forty years old, leaving an estate of
about $75,000. His brother, Silas B. Terry, is now living, a Christian
gentleman, as well as a scientific clock-maker, but he has not succeeded
so well as his brother in making money. Henry Terry of Plymouth, who is
another son of Mr. Eli Terry, was engaged in the clock business thirty
years ago, but left it for the woolen business. I think that he is sorry
that he did not continue making clocks. He is a man of great
intelligence and understands the principles of a right tariff as well as
any man in Connecticut. His father was a great man, a natural
philosopher, and almost an Eli Whitney in mechanical ingenuity. If he
had turned his mind towards a military profession, he would have made
another General Scott, or towards politics, another Jefferson; or, if he
had not happened to have gone to the town of Plymouth, I do not believe
there would ever have been a clock made there. He was the great
originator of wood clock-making by machinery in Connecticut. I like to
see every man have his due. Thomas and many others who have made their
fortunes out of his ingenuity, were very willing to talk against him,
for they must, of course, act out human nature. Seth Thomas was in many
respects a first-rate man. He never made any improvements in
manufacturing; his great success was in money making. He always minded
his own business, was very industrious, persevering, honest, his word
was as good as his note, and he always determined to make a good article
and please his customers. He had several sons who are said to be smart
business men.

I knew Mrs. Thomas well when I was a boy, fourteen years old. She is one
of the best of women, and is now the widow of one of the richest men in
the state. The families of Terry and Thomas are extensively known,
throughout the United States. Mr. Thomas died two years ago at the age
of seventy-five. He was born in West Haven, about four miles from New
Haven, and learned the joiners' trade in Wolcott, and worked in that
region and in Plymouth five or six years, building houses and barns. I
waited on him when he built a barn in Plymouth, carrying boards and
shingles. He soon after went into the clock business in which he
remained during life. Mr. Terry died in 1853, at the advanced age of



In the fall, of the year 1840, a young man by the name of Franklin
Merrills was introduced to me as one the smartest and likeliest business
men in the whole country. It was said that he could trade in horses,
cattle, sheep, wool, flour, or any thing else, and make money. He
belonged to one of the first families in Litchfield county. I thought by
his appearance and recommendations that he would be a good customer for
me and I sold him a thousand dollars worth of clocks to begin with. He
gave me his four months' note which was promptly paid when due. He hired
three pedlars and went with them into Dutchess county New York, where
they sold the clocks very fast. The one-day O.G. brass clock was a new
thing to them, first-rate for time, and they readily went off for
fifteen and twenty dollars apiece. I sold them to him for six dollars
apiece, and it appeared, at this rate, that he could make a fortune in a
few years. His credit became established for any amount, and he soon
began to want clocks about twice as fast as at first. A man by the name
of Bates transported them for him in a large two-horse wagon from my
place to Washington Hollow, about twelve miles east of Poughkeepsie. Mr.
Bates lived in the same neighborhood where Frank was brought up in New
Hartford, Conn. Every week or two he would go out with a load. Things
moved on in this seemingly prosperous way for some time. One day I
accidentally heard that parties in New York with whom I had never dealt,
were selling my clocks at very reduced prices, and I began to mistrust
that Frank had been selling to them at less than cost. On seeing him, he
told me I was greatly mistaken and smoothed down the matter so that it
appeared satisfactory to me. He had at this time got into debt about
eighteen thousand dollars. One day he went to Hartford and bought seven
thousand dollars worth of cotton cloth from a shrewd house in that city,
telling them a very fine story that he had a vessel which would sail for
South America the next day, and that the cloth must go down immediately
on the boat. He told them who his father was, and promised to bring his
endorsement in a few days, which was satisfactory to them, and they let
him have the goods. But the paper did not come. One of the firm went to
New York and there found some of the goods in an Auction store, and a
part of them sold. He got out a writ and arrested Frank. His father was
sent for, and settled this matter satisfactorily. I thought I would go
up to New Hartford and see Capt. Merrills about Frank's affairs--he told
me all about them, and said he had been looking over Frank's business
very thoroughly, and found that a large amount was owing him and that
Frank had shown him on his book invoices of a large amount of goods that
he had shipped to South America, besides several large accounts and
notes--one of eight thousand dollars. He told me that he thought after
paying me and others whom he owed, there would be as much as twenty
thousand dollars left. This was very satisfactory to me, though I knew
nothing about the cotton cloth speculation at that time. If I had, it
would have saved me a great deal of trouble. This was in February, 1844.
There was a note of his lying over, unpaid, in the Exchange Bank in
Hartford, of two thousand dollars. I had moved a few weeks before this
to New Haven. In the latter part of February, I went down to New York to
see if he could let me have the two thousand to take up the note; he
said he could in a day or two. I told him I would stay till Saturday. On
that day he was not able to pay me, but would certainly get it Monday,
and urged me to stay over, which I did. He took me into a large
establishment with him, and, as I have since had reason to believe,
talked with parties who were interested with him, about consigning to
them a large quantity of tallow, beeswax and wool which he owned in the
West. He told me that he had some trouble with his business, and that
all he wanted was a little help; he said he had a great deal of property
in New York State, and that if he could raise some money, he could make
a very profitable speculation on a lot of wool which he knew about. He
told me that if I would give him my notes and acceptances to a certain
amount, he would secure me with the obligations of Henry Martin, one of
the best farmers there was in Dutchess county. He also gave the names of
several merchants in New York who were acquainted with the rich farmers.
I called on them and all spoke very highly of him. I thought, there
could be no great risk in doing it, for my confidence in Frank was very
great. I thought, of course, this would insure my claim of eighteen
thousand dollars, but it eventually proved to be a deep-laid plot to
swindle me. Frank had no notes or accounts that were of any value; they
were all bogus and got up to deceive his poor old father and others. He
had no property shipped to South America. It was all found out, when too
late, that he had ruined himself by gambling and bad company, often
losing a thousand dollars in one night. He was arrested, taken before
the Grand Jury of New York, committed to jail for swindling, and died in
a few months after. He ruined his father, who was a very cautious man,
ruined three rich farmers of Dutchess county, and came very near ruining
me. It was a sad history and mortifying to a great many. I was advised
by my counsel, Seth P. Staples of New York, to contest the whole thing
in law. I had five or six suits on my hands at one time, and it was nine
years before I was clear from them. What he owed me for clocks, and what
I had to pay on notes and acceptances and the expenses of law, amounted
to more than _Forty Thousand Dollars_. Nine years of wakeful nights
of trouble, grief and mortification, for this profligate young man!
There never was a man more honest than I was in my intentions to help
him in his troubles, and I am quite sure no man got so badly swindled.
Every clock maker in the state would have been glad to have sold to him
as I did. This young man was well brought up, but bad company ruined him
and others with him. This life seems to be full of trials. In latter
years I have remembered what an old man often told me when a boy.
"Chauncey," he says, "don't you know there are a thousand troubles and
difficulties?" I told him I did not know there were; "well," he says,
"you will find out if you live long enough." I have lived long enough to
see ten thousand troubles, and have found out that the saying of the old
man is true. I have narrated but a small part of my business troubless
[sic] in this brief history. One of the most trying things to me now, is
to see how I am looked upon by the community since I lost my property. I
never was any better when I owned it than I am now, and never behaved
any better. But how different is the feeling towards you, when your
neighbors can make nothing more out of you, politically or pecuniarily.
It makes no difference what, or how much you have done for them
heretofore, you are passed by without notice now. It is all money and
business, business and money which make the man now-a-days; success is
every thing, and it makes very little difference how, or what means he
uses to obtain it. How many we see every day that have ten times as much
property as they will ever want, who will do any thing but steal to add
to their estate, for somebody to fight about when they are dead. I see
men every day sixty and seventy years old, building up and pulling down,
and preparing, as one might reasonably suppose, to live here forever.
Where will they be in a few years? I often think of this. My experience
has been great,--I have seen many a man go up and then go down, and many
persons who, but a few years ago, were surrounded with honors and
wealth, have passed away. The saying of the wise man is true--all is
"vanity of vanities" here below. It is now a time of great action in the
world but not much reflection.

An incident of my boy-hood has just come into my mind. When an
apprentice boy, I was at work with my "boss" on a house in Torringford,
very near the residence of Rev. Mr. Mills, the father of Samuel J. Mills
the missionary. This was in 1809, fifty-one years ago. This young man
was preparing to go out on his missionary voyage. How wickedly we are
taught when we are young! I thought he was a mean, lazy fellow. He was
riding out every day, as I now suppose, to add to his strength. An old
maid lived in the house where I did who perfectly hated him, calling him
a good-for-nothing fellow. I, of course, supposed that she knew all
about him and that it was so. I am a friend to the missionary cause and
have been so a great many years. How many times that wrong impression
which I got from that old maid has passed through my mind, and how sorry
I have always been for that prejudice. The father of Samuel J. Mills was
a very eccentric man and anecdotes of him have been repeatedly told. I
attended his church the summer I was in Torringford. He was the
strangest man I ever saw, and would say so many laughable things in his
sermon that it was next to impossible for me to keep from laughing out
loud. His congregation was composed mostly of farmers, and in hot
weather they appeared to be very sleepy. The boys would sometimes play
and make a good deal of noise, and one Sunday he stopped in the middle
of his sermon and looking around in the gallery, said in a loud voice,
"boys, if you don't stop your noise and play, you will certainly wake
your parents that are asleep below!" I think by this time the good
people were all awake; it amused me very much and I have often seen the
story printed. Many a time when I think of Mr. Mills, an anecdote of him
comes into my mind, and I presume that a great many have heard of the
same. He was once traveling through the town of Litchfield where there
was at that time a famous law school. Two or three of the students were
walking a little way out of town, when who should they see coming along
the road but old Mr. Mills. They supposing him to be some old "codger,"
thought they would have a little fun with him. When they met him one of
them asked him "if he had heard the news?" "No," he says, "what is it?"
"The devil is dead." "Is he?" says Mr. Mills, "I am sorry for you--poor
fatherless children, what will become of you?" I understand that they
let him pass without further conversation. He was a good man and looked
very old to me, as he always wore a large white wig.



In the winter of 1844, I moved to the city of New Haven with the
expectation of making my cases there. I had fitted up two large
factories in Bristol for making brass movements only the year before,
and had spared no pains to have them just right. My factory in New Haven
was fitted up expressly for making the cases and boxing the finished
clocks; the movements were packed, one hundred in a box, and sent to New
Haven where they were cased and shipped. Business moved on very
prosperously for about one year. On the 23d of April 1845, about the
middle of the afternoon one of my factories in Bristol took fire, as it
was supposed by some boys playing with matches at the back side of the
building, which set fire to some shavings under the floor. It seemed
impossible to put it out and it proved to be the most disastrous fire
that ever occurred in a country town. There were seven or eight
buildings destroyed, together with all the machinery for making clocks,
which was very costly and extensive. There were somewhere between fifty
and seventy-five thousand brass movements in the works, a large number
of them finished, and worth one dollar apiece. The loss was about fifty
thousand dollars and the insurance only ten thousand. This was another
dark day for me. I had been very sick all winter with the Typhus fever,
and from Christmas to April had not been able to go to Bristol. On the
same night of the fire, a man came to tell me of the great loss. I was
in another part of the house when he arrived with the message, but my
wife did not think it prudent to inform me then, but in the latter part
of the night she introduced a conversation that was calculated to
prepare my mind for the sad news, and in a cautious manner informed me.
I was at that time in the midst of my troubles with Frank Merrills, had
been sick for a long time, and at one time was not expected to recover.
I was not then able to attend to business and felt much depressed on
that account. It was hard indeed to grapple with so much in one year,
but I tried to make the best of it and to feel that these trials,
troubles and disappointments sent upon us in this world, are blessings
in disguise. Oh! if we could really feel this to be so in all of our
troubles, it would be well for us in this world and better in the next.
I never have seen the real total depravity of the human heart show
itself more plainly or clearly than it did when my factories were
destroyed by fire. An envious feeling had always been exhibited by
others in the same business towards me, and those who had made the most
out of my improvements and had injured my reputation by making an
inferior article, were the very ones who rejoiced the most then. Not a
single man of them ever did or could look me in the face and say that I
had ever injured him. This feeling towards me was all because I was in
their way and my clocks at that time were preferred before any others.
They really thought I never could start again, and many said that Jerome
would never make any more clocks. I learned this maxim long ago, that
when a man injures another unreasonably, to act out human nature he has
got to keep on misrepresenting and abusing him to make himself appear
right in the sight of the world. Soon after the fire in Bristol I had
gained my strength sufficiently to go ahead again, and commenced to make
additions to my case factory in New Haven (to make the movements,) and
by the last of June was ready to commence operations on the brass
movements. I then brought my men from Bristol--the movement makers--and
a noble set of men as ever came into New Haven at one time. Look at John
Woodruff; he was a young man then of nineteen. When he first came to
work for me at the age of fifteen, I believed that he was destined to be
a leading man. He is now in Congress (elected for the second time,)
honest, kind, gentlemanly, and respected in Congress and out of
Congress. Look at him, young men, and pattern after him, you can see in
his case what honesty, industry and perseverance will accomplish.

There was great competition in the business for several years after I
moved to New Haven, and a great many poor clocks made. The business of
selling greatly increased in New York, and within three or four years
after I introduced the one day brass clock, several companies in Bristol
and Plymouth commenced making them. Most of them manufactured an
inferior article of movement, but found sale for great numbers of them
to parties that were casing clocks in New York. This way of managing
proved to be a great damage to the Connecticut clock makers. The New
York men would buy the very poorest movements and put them into cheap
O.G. cases and undersell us. Merchants from the country, about this
time, began to buy clocks with their other goods. They had heard about
Jerome's clocks which had been retailed about the country, and that they
were good time-keepers, and would enquire for my clocks. These New York
men would say that they were agents for Jerome and that they would have
a plenty in a few days, and make a sale to these merchants of Jerome
clocks. They would then go to the Printers and have a lot of labels
struck off and put into their cheap clocks, and palm them off as mine.
This fraud was carried on for several years. I finally sued some of
these blackleg parties, Samuels & Dunn, and Sperry & Shaw, and found out
to my satisfaction that they had used more than two hundred thousand of
my labels. They had probably sent about one hundred thousand to Europe.
I sued Samuels & Dunn for twenty thousand dollars and when it came to
trial I proved it on them clearly. I should have got for damages fifteen
thousand dollars, had it not been for one of the jury. One was for
giving me twenty thousand, another Eighteen, and the others down to
seven thousand five hundred. This one man whom I speak of, was opposed
to giving me anything, but to settle it, went as high as two thousand
three hundred. The jury thought that I had a great deal of trouble with
this case and rather than have it go to another court, had to come to
this man's terms. The foreman told me afterwards that he had no doubt
but this man was bought. New York is a hard place to have a law suit in.
This cheat had been carried on for years, both in this country and in
Europe,--using my labels and selling poor articles, and in this way
robbing me of my reputation by the basest means. After this Sperry, who
was in company with Shaw, had been dead a short time, a statement was
published in the New York papers that this Henry Sperry was a wonderful
man, and that he was the first man who went to England with Yankee
clocks. After I had sent over my two men and had got my clocks well
introduced, and had them there more than a year, Sperry & Shaw, hearing
that we were doing well and selling a good many, thought they would take
a trip to Europe, and took along perhaps fifty boxes of clocks. I have
since heard that their conduct was very bad while there, and this is all
they did towards introducing clocks. There is no one who can claim any
credit of introducing American clocks into that country excepting
myself. After I had opened a store in New York, we did, in a measure,
stop these men from using my labels.

I have said that when I got up this one day brass clock in 1838, that
the fourth chapter in the Yankee clock business had commenced. Perhaps
Seth Thomas hated as bad as any one did to change his whole business of
clock making for the second time, and adopt the same thing that I had
introduced. He never invented any thing new, and would now probably have
been making the same old hang-up wood clocks of fifty years ago, had it
not been for others and their improvements. He was highly incensed at me
because I was the means of his having to change. He hired a man to go
around to my customers and offer his clocks at fifty and seventy-five
cents less than I was selling. A man by the name of J.C. Brown carried
on the business in Bristol a long time, and made a good many fine
clocks, but finally gave up the business. Elisha Monross, Smith &
Goodrich, Brewster & Ingraham were all in the same business, but have
given it up, and the clock making of Connecticut is now mostly done in
five large factories in different parts of the State, about which I
shall speak hereafter.



It would be no doubt interesting to a great many to know what
improvements have been made in manufacturing clocks during the past
twenty years. I recollect I paid for work on the O.G. case one dollar
and seventy-five cents; for the same work in 1855, I paid twenty cents,
and many other things in the same proportion. The last thing that I
invented, which has proved to be of great usefulness, was the one day
timepiece that can be sold for seventy-five cents, and a fair profit at
that. I remember well when I was about to give up the job, of asking the
man who made the cases for the factory what he would make this case for.
He said he could not do it for less than eight cents, I told him I knew
he could make them for five cents, and do well, but he honestly thought
he could not. He was to make two thousand per month--twenty-four
thousand a year. After getting the work well systematized, I told him if
he could not make them at that price, I would make it up to him at the
end of the year. When the time was up, he told me that it was the best
part of his job, and that he would make them the next year for four
cents; it will be well understood that this was for the work alone, the
stock being furnished.

When I got up this new time-keeper, as usual all the clock-makers were
down on me again; Jerome was going to ruin the business, and this cheap
thing would take the place of larger ones. I told them there were ten
thousand places where this cheap time-piece would be useful, and where a
costly striking one would never be used. There is a variety of places
where they are as useful as if they struck the hour, and there are now
more of the striking clocks wanted than there were when I got up this
one day time-piece. When I first began to make clocks, thousands would
say that they could not afford to have a clock in their house and they
must get along without, or with a watch. This cheap timepiece is worth
as much as a watch that would cost a hundred dollars, for all practical
purposes, as far as the time of day or night is concerned. Since I began
to make clocks, the price has gradually been going down. Suppose the
cheap time-keeper had been invented thirty years ago, when folks felt as
though they could not have a clock because it cost so much, but must get
along with a watch which cost ten or fifteen dollars, what would the
good people have thought if they could have had a clock for one dollar,
or even less? This cheap clock is much better adapted to the many log
cabins and cheap dwellings in our country than a watch of any kind, and
it is not half so costly or difficult to keep in order. I can think of
nothing ever invented that has been so useful to so many. We do not
fully appreciate the value of such things. I have often thought, that if
all the time-pieces were taken out of the country at once, and every
factory stopped making them, the whole community would be brought to see
the incalculable value that this Yankee clock making is to them.

The little octagon marine case which is seen almost every where, was
originated and first made by me. I think it is the cheapest and best
looking thing of the kind in the market, and all the work on the case of
that clock costs but eight cents. All of the large hang-up octagons and
time-pieces were made at our factory two or three years before any other
parties made them at all. As usual, after finding that it was a good
thing and took well, many others began to make them. I will say here a
little more about human nature and what I have seen and experienced.
during the last forty-five years. Let an ingenious, thinking man invent
something that looks favorable for making money, and one after another
will be stealing into the same business, when they know their conduct is
very mean towards the originator who may be one of the best men in the
community; still, nine out of ten of those who are infringing on his
improvement will begin to hate and abuse him. I have seen this
disposition carried out all my life-time. Forty-five years ago, Mr. Eli
Terry was the great man in the wood clock business. As I have said
before, he got up the Patent Wood Shelf Clock and sold a right to make
it to Seth Thomas for one thousand dollars. After two or three years,
Mr. Terry made further improvements and got them patented. Mr. Thomas
then thought as he had paid a thousand dollars, he would use these
improvements; so he went on making the new patent. Mr. Terry sued him
and the case was in litigation for several years. The whole Thomas
family, the workmen and neighbors, felt envious towards Mr. Terry, and I
think they have never got entirely over it. There was a general
prejudice and hatred towards Mr. Terry amongst all the clock-makers at
that time, and for nothing only because they knew they were infringing
on his rights; and to act out human nature, they must slander and try to
put him down. This principle is carried out very extensively in this
world, so that if a man wants to live and have nothing said against him,
he must look out for, and help no one but himself. If he succeeds in
making money, it matters but little in what way he obtains it, whether
by gambling or any other unlawful means; while on the other hand, if he
has been doing good all his life, and by some mishap is reduced to
poverty in his old age, he is despised and treated with contempt by a
majority of the community.

It may not be uninteresting to a great many to know how the brass clocks
at the present day are made. It has been a wonder to the world for a
long time, how they could possibly be sold so cheap and yet answer so
good a purpose. And, indeed, they could not, if every part of their
manufacture was not systematized in the most perfect manner and
conducted on a large scale. I will describe the manner in which the O-G.
case is made, (the style has been made a long time, and in larger
numbers than any other,) which will give some idea with what facility
the whole thing is put through. Common merchantable pine lumber is used
for the body of the case. The first workman draws a board of the stuff
on a frame and by a movable circular saw cuts it in proper lengths for
the sides and top. The knotty portions of it are sawed in lengths
suitable for boxing the clocks when finished, and but little need be
wasted. The good pieces are then taken to another saw and split up in
proper widths, which are then passed through the planeing machine. Then
another workman puts them through the O-G. cutter which forms the shape
of the front of the case. The next process is the glueing on of the
veneers--the workman spreads the glue on one piece at a time and then
puts on the veneer of rosewood or mahogany. A dozen of these pieces are
placed together in hand-screws till the glue is properly hardened. The
O-G. shapes of these pieces fit into each other when they are screwed
together. When the glue is sufficiently dry, the next thing is to make
the veneer smooth and fit for varnishing. We have what is called a sand
paper wheel, made of pine plank, its edge formed in an O-G. shape, and
sand-paper glued to it. When this wheel is revolving rapidly, the pieces
are passed over it and in this way smoothed very fast. They are then
ready to varnish, and it usually takes about ten days to put on the
several coats of varnish, and polish them ready for mitering, which
completes the pieces ready for glueing in shape of the case. The sides
of the case are made much cheaper. I used to have the stuff for ten
thousand of these cases in the works at one time. With these great
facilities, the labor costs less than twenty cents apiece for this kind
of case, and with the stock, they cost less than fifty cents. A cabinet
maker could not make one for less than five dollars. This proves and
shows what can be done by system. The dials are cut out of large sheets
of zinc, the holes punched by machinery, and then put into the paint
room, where they are painted by a short and easy process. The letters
and figures are then printed on. I had a private room for this purpose,
and a man who could print twelve or fifteen hundred in a day. The whole
dial cost me less than five cents. The tablets were printed in the same
manner, the colors put on afterwards by girls, and the whole work on
these beautiful tablets cost less than one and a half cents: the cost of
glass and work was about four cents. Every body knows that all of these
parts must be made very cheap or an O-G. clock could not be sold for one
dollar and a half, or two dollars. The weights cost about thirteen cents
per clock, the cost of boxing them about ten cents, and the first cost
of the movements of a one-day brass clock is less than fifty cents. I
will here say a little about the process of making the wheels. It will
no doubt, astonish a great many to know how rapidly they can be made. I
will venture to say, that I can pick out three men who will take the
brass in the sheet, press out and level under the drop, there cut the
teeth, and make all of the wheels to five hundred clocks in one day;
there are from eight to ten of these wheels in every clock, and in an
eight-day clock more. This will look to some like a great story, but is
one of the wonders of the clock business. If some of the parts of a
clock were not made for almost nothing, they could not be sold so cheap
when finished.

The facilities which the Jerome Manufacturing Company had over every
other concern of the kind in the country, and their customers in this
and foreign countries, are worth to the present company more than one
hundred thousand dollars. Their method of making dials, tablets and
brass doors was a saving of more than ten thousand dollars per year over
any other company doing the same amount of business; and I know that the
present company would not give up the customers of the Jerome
Manufacturing Company for ten thousand dollars per year: they could not
afford to do it. The workmen who came with me from Bristol, were an
uncommonly energetic and ingenious set of men. Many years they had large
and profitable jobs in the different branches, which encouraged them to
invent and get up improvements for doing the work fast, and in a great
many things they far surpass the workmen in similar establishments--all
of which have resulted to the benefit of the present manufacturing
company of New Haven.

In the year 1850, I was induced by a proposition from the Benedict &
Burnham Co., of Waterbury, to enter into a joint-stock company at my
place in New Haven, under the name of the Jerome Manufacturing Co. They
were to put in thirty-five thousand dollars, and I was to furnish the
same amount of capital. We did so, and went on very prosperously for a
year or two, making a great many clocks, and selling about one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars worth per year in England, at a profit of
twenty thousand dollars. They were very thorough in looking into the
affairs of the company, which was all right of course, but did not suit
all of the interested parties. My son was Secretary and financial
manager of the company. He seemed to have a desire to keep things to
himself a little too much, which also did not suit many of the
interested parties. My son told me he thought we had better buy the
company out, and said that we could do so without difficulty, and he
thought it would be a great advantage to us. Some were willing to sell,
and others were not. Mr. Burnham made an offer what he would sell for,
which the secretary accepted, others of the stock-holders made similar
propositions and the bargain closed, we paying them the capital they had
advanced and twenty-one per cent. profits, and buying, in the mean time,
seventy-five thousand dollars worth of brass--the profits on which were
not less than twenty thousand dollars, which they had the cash for in
the course of the year. About this time a man by the name of Lyman
Squires bought stock in the company, and took a great interest in the
business. A wealthy brother of his bought, I think, ten thousand dollars
worth of stock. The stock was increased in this way to two hundred
thousand dollars. The financial affairs were managed by the Secretary,
Mr. Squires, and a man by the name of Bissell. They made a great many
additions to the factory which I thought quite unnecessary, enlarging
the buildings, putting in a new engine and a great deal of costly
machinery. They laughed at me because I found fault with these things
and called me an old fogy. I was not pleased with the management at all
times, and although I had retired from active busines [Transcriber's
note: sic], I felt a deep interest in the affairs of the company, and
owned a large amount of the stock. The Secretary thought I was always
looking on the dark side and prophesying evil, because I frequently
remonstrated with him on the many extravagancies which were constantly
being added to the establishment. I frequently told him that if the
company should fail, I should have to bear the whole blame, because my
name was known all over the world. He always told me in the strongest
terms that I need give myself no uneasiness about that, as the company
was worth a great deal of money. Things went on in this way till the
year 1855, and while I was absent from the State, P.T. Barnum was
admitted as a member of our company. Within six months from that time,
the Jerome Manufacturing Company failed, the causes of which, and the
results, I have clearly and truthfully narrated in another part of this
book. The causes were not fully understood by me at that time. I have
found them out since, and deem it an act of justice to myself to make
them public. I was hopelessly ruined by this failure. The company had
used my name as endorser to a large amount, many times larger than I had
any idea of.



I will here give a brief account of the firms carrying on this
important business in Connecticut. The New Haven Clock Company, which
succeeded the Jerome Manufacturing Company, are now making more clocks
than any three other makers in the state. As I speak of the different
manufactories, I will give the outlines and standing of the men
connected with them. As their goods go all over the world, it is natural
and pleasant for men who are dealing in their goods to know what kind of
men they are at home, and what the community think of them. The New
Haven company is a joint-stock company. The head man in this concern, is
the Hon. James English, who is second to no business man in the State--
high minded, clear sighted, and very popular with all who deal with him.
He was, when a boy, remarkable for industry, prudence and good behavior.
He was an apprentice at the house-joiner trade, but soon got into other
business which gave him a greater chance to develope and become more
useful to himself and the community. He began in life without a dollar,
but is now said to be worth three hundred thousand dollars. His age at
this time is about forty-eight. He is a Democrat in politics; has been
elected to many important offices, and has been the first select man of
New Haven for many years; he has been elected State Senator for three
years in succession, and all of these offices he has filled with
ability. In the spring of 1860, he was nominated as candidate for
Lieutenant Governor on a ticket with Col. Thomas H. Seymour of Hartford,
for Governor, which made the most popular Democratic ticket that has
ever been run in the State. Had it not been for the great anti-slavery
feeling there was at this canvass, Mr. English would have been
triumphantly elected. Many of the opposing party would been glad to have
seen him elected, and would have voted for him, had it not been for the
influence they thought it would have on the Presidential election. We
heard many Republicans say this in New Haven, and many did vote that

H.M. Welch, who has for a long time been connected with Mr. English in
business, is largely interested in this clock company. He gives most of
his attention to other kinds of manufacturing, in which Messrs. English
and Welch, are very extensively engaged. Mr. Welch is one of the most
intelligent, upright, and kind hearted business men in the whole State,
and is admired as such by all who know him. He is also a Democrat in
politics, very popular in his party, and is well qualified for any
offices. He would make a good candidate for Governor or member of
Congress. He is about forty-six years old, worth perhaps, two hundred
thousand dollars; he has held many important offices, has been a
Representative to the State Legislature for many years, and State
Senator a number of times. He has recently been elected Mayor of the
city, and has filled all of these offices with much talent.

John Woodruff, a member of Congress, elected for the second time from
this district, is the next largest owner in this great brass clock
business. He commenced to work at clocks with me when a boy only fifteen
years old. He was a very uncommon boy, and is now an uncommon man, very
popular among his fellow workmen, popular with Democrats, popular with
Republicans, popular every where, and can be elected to Congress when
there is five hundred majority against his party in his district.

Hiram Camp who is the next largest stock-holder in this clock company,
is forty-nine years old. He commenced making clocks with me at the age
of seventeen, and is now President of the company. He is a Republican in
politics, and has been chosen Representative from New Haven to the
Legislature of the State. At this time he is Chief Engineer of the Fire
Department, is very popular with his workmen, and highly respected by
the whole community in which he lives. Many others who hold prominent
positions in this great business in New Haven, first came here with me
when I moved from Bristol. I should mention Philip Pond, an excellent
man who left the business two or three years since, on account of his
health, but who is now connected in the wholesale grocery business of
the firm of Pond, Greenwood & Lester, in this city. Also Charles L.
Griswold, now a bit and augur maker in the town of Chester, who began to
work for me twenty years ago, when a boy. He was once a poor boy, but
now is a talented and superior man. He has been a member of the
Legislature, and has held many offices of trust.

L.F. Root, now a leading man in New Haven, came to work with me when
quite young, nearly twenty years ago. He also has held many offices of
trust, and filled them with great ability. I could mention many others,
but cannot in this brief work speak of them as their merits deserve. It
gives me pleasure to know that the business of the Jerome Manufacturing
Company has fallen into such good hands.

The Benedict and Burnham Company, now making clocks in the city of
Waterbury, under the name of the Waterbury Clock Company, is composed of
a large number of the first citizens of that place. In politics nearly
all of them are Republicans. The oldest man of the company is Deacon
Aaron Benedict, now about seventy-five years old--a real "old Puritan,
Christian gentleman." He has been Representative and State Senator many
times--Mr. Burnham of New York, another member of this company, is well
known to almost every body as one of the richest men in [Transcriber's
note: probable missing word 'the' here] whole country. My brother, Noble
Jerome, who is an excellent mechanic and as good a brass clock maker as
can be found, is now making the movements for this company, and Edward
Church, a first rate man and an excellent workman, is making their
cases. He worked with me seventeen years at case making, and can do a
good job. I cannot pass without speaking about another man of this
company, Arad W. Welton Esq. He was one of my soldier companions in
Capt. John Buckingham's company, which went to fight the British in
1813, at New London, and in 1814 at New Haven. He stood very near me in
the ranks. I shall never forget what pluck and courage he showed one
night when the news was brought into camp that the enemy were landing
from their ships. Our whole regiment was mustered in fifteen minutes,
and on the way to pitch battle with the British and defend our shores.
This Mr. Welton, who is now an old man, as stout and large as Gen. Cass,
and looking something like him, was then a young man nineteen years old,
and without exception the funniest and drollest fellow that I ever saw.
He kept us all laughing while we were going down to fight that awful
battle, which, however, proved to be bloodless. This incident occurred
at New London, and I have often thought of it in latter days. Mr. Welton
Is said to be a great business man, and the company with which he is
connected is doing a good business.

The next clock company which I shall speak of, is that of Seth Thomas &
Co., of Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut. As I have mentioned before, the
senior Thomas is not living. The business is carried on by a company,
the members of which are all Republicans in politics and respectable
men. Fifty years ago this spring, Heman Clark built the factory which
Seth Thomas, two or three years afterwards, bought, and in which he
carried on business until his death, about two years since. It was never
Mr. Thomas' practice to get up any thing new. He never would change his
patterns or mode of manufacturing, until he was driven to it to keep his
customers. At the time when I invented the one-day brass clock in 1838,
he said much against it, that it was not half so good as a wood clock,
and that he never would take up any thing again that Jerome had adopted;
but he was compelled to, in a year or two, to keep his customers. He
sent his foreman over to Bristol, where I was then carrying on business,
to get patterns of movements and cases and take all the advantage he
could of my experience, labors, and improvements which I had been
studying upon so long. I allowed my foreman to spend more than two days
with his, giving him all the knowledge and insight he could of the
business, knowing what his object was. A friend asked me why I was doing
this, and said that if I should send my man to Thomas' factory he would
be kicked out immediately. I told him I knew that perfectly well, but
that if Mr. Thomas set out to get into the business, he certainly would
find out, and that the course I was taking was wisest and more friendly.
I have thought since how quickly such kind treatment as I showed towards
his man can be forgotten; yes; this company have all forgotten the
service that I rendered them twenty years ago, and as I have said
before, would probably have been making the old wood clock to this day,
had it not been for other parties. There always has been a great deal of
jealousy among the Yankee clock-makers, and they all seemed to hate the
one who took the lead. The next establishment of which I shall speak, is
that of William L. Gilbert, of Winsted, Connecticut. He is said to be
miserly in feeling, and is quite rich; not very enterprising, but has
made a great deal of money by availing himself of the improvements of

The next one in the business to whom I shall allude is E.N. Welch, of
Bristol, Connecticut. He is about fifty years of age, and has been in
many kinds of business. He was deeply interested in the failure of J.C.
Brown a few years ago, and succeeded him in the clock business. He is a
leading man in the Baptist church, and has a great tact for making
money; but he says that all he wants of money is to do good with it. He
is a Democrat in politics, and never wants an office from his party.

These five companies which I have named, make nearly all of the clocks
manufactured in Connecticut; though movements are made by three other
companies. Beach and Hubbell of Bristol, are largely engaged in
manufacturing the movements of brass marine clocks. Also two brothers by
the name of Manross, in Bristol, are engaged in the same business. Noah
Pomeroy of Bristol, is also engaged in making pendulum movements for
other parties. I should, however, mention Ireneus Atkins, of Bristol,
who is making a first-rate thirty-day brass clock, and I am told there
is no better one for time in the country. The movement for this kind of
clock was invented by Joseph Ives, who has spent most of his time for
the last twenty-five years in improving on springs and escapements for
clocks, and who has done a great deal for the advancement of this
business. Mr. Atkins, who is making this thirty-day time-piece, is an
excellent man to deal with. The five large companies which I have named,
manufacture about a half a million clocks per annum; the New Haven
company about two hundred thousand; and the others about three hundred
thousand between them.



The connection of Barnum with the Jerome Manufacturing Company of New
Haven, and the failure of the Company have been the subject of much
speculation to the whole world, and has never been clearly understood.
Barnum claimed that he was cheated and swindled by this company, robbed
of his property and name, and reduced to poverty. But before giving any
statements, I call attention to the following article taken from the New
York Daily _Tribune_, of March 24th, 1860:

THE GREAT SHOWMAN.--P.T. Barnum, "the great American showman," as he
loves to hear himself called, who furnishes more amusement for a
quarter of a dollar than any other man in America, is, we are happy to
announce, himself again. He has disposed of the last of those
villainous clock notes, re-established his credit up on a cash basis,
and once more comes forward to cater for the public amusement at the
American museum. To day, between the acts of the play, Mr. Barnum will
appear upon his own stage, in his own costly character of the Yankee
Clockmaker, for which he qualified himself, with the most reckless
disregard of expense, and will "give a brief history of his adventures
as a clockmaker, showing how the clock ran down, and how it was wound
up; shadowing forth in the same the future of the museum." Of course,
Barnum's benefit will be a bumper. Next week the Museum will be closed
for renovation and repairs, and the week after it will reopen under
the popular P.T.B., once more.

I will now give the true statement of facts and particulars of his
connection with the Jerome Manufacturing Company--which, however, was
not his first experience in clock-making. Some time before this, he was
interested in a Company located in the town of Litchfield, Connecticut,
and, I believe, owned about ten thousand dollars worth of stock. They
made a very poor article which was called a marine clock, if I am
rightly informed. That Company failed, and Barnum took the stock as
security for endorsing and furnishing them with cash. I do not suppose
the whole of the effects were worth transporting to Bridgeport, although
estimated by him at a large amount. About this time Theodore Terry's
clock factory, at Ansonia, was destroyed by fire. A large portion of the
stock was saved, though in a damaged condition, much of which was worth
nothing--the tools and machinery being but little better than so much
old iron. Terry knowing that Barnum was largely interested in real
estate in East Bridgeport, and anxious to have it improved, thought he
could make a good arrangement with him for building a factory there for
the manufacture of clocks, and did so. Terry had a large quantity of old
clocks in a store in New York--many of them old-fashioned and
unsaleable, and thousands of these were not worth fifty cents apiece.
Terry and Barnum now proposed forming a joint-stock company, putting in
their old rubbish as stock, and estimating it, most likely, at four
times its value in cash. They built a factory in East Bridgeport, and
made preparations for manufacturing. Terry knew ten times as much about
the business as Barnum did, and knowing, also, that the old stock was
comparatively worthless, held back while Barnum was urging him to push
ahead with the manufacturing. Terry made a great bluster, saying that he
was going to hire men and do a great business, while, unknown to Barnum,
he was trying to sell the stock he held in the company. They finally
cooked up a plan to sell their New York store and the Bridgeport factory
and machinery, if they could, to the Jerome Manufacturing Company,
taking stock in that company for pay, and--the Jerome Company stock
being issued to the owners of the Terry & Barnum stock--thus merge the
two companies into one. This transaction was made and closed without my
knowledge, (I being at the time from the State,) though the "old man"
has had to bear all the blame. As I afterwards found out, Barnum told my
son, the Secretary of the Company, that Terry & Barnum owed about twenty
thousand dollars: this was the amount Terry had drawn for on the New
York store. They made a written agreement with the Jerome Manufacturing
Company, to this effect;--that our Company should assume the liabilities
of their old Company, which were stated at twenty thousand dollars, and
Barnum was to endorse to any extent for the Jerome Company. It
afterwards proved that the entire debts of Terry & Barnum amounted to
about seventy-two thousand dollars, which the Jerome Company were
obliged to assume. The great difference in the real and supposed amount
of their indebtedness and the unsaleable property turned in as stock
were enough to ruin any company. It is a positive fact that the stock of
the Jerome Company was not worth half as much, three months after Barnum
came into the concern as it was before that time. Some of the
stock-holders did not like to have Terry own stock, and Barnum to
satisfy them, bought him out, paying him twelve thousand dollars in
cash--he in the end, making a grand thing out his Ansonia remains. It is
well known that the Jerome Manufacturing Company failed in the fall of
1855, to the wonder and astonishment of myself and of every body else.
The true causes of this great failure never have been made public. I
myself did not know them at that time, but have found them out from time
to time since, and I now propose to make them public, as it has been the
general impression almost every where that Barnum and myself were
associated in defrauding the community. _I wish to have it understood
that I never saw P.T. Barnum_, while he was connected with the
Company of which I was a member, have never seen him but once since, and
that was in February after the failure. About this time law suits were
being brought against him, and as some supposed, by his friends. He was
called upon, or offered himself as a witness, and I believe testified
that he was worth nothing. The natural effect of this testimony was to
depreciate the paper which his name was on. At the time when I saw him,
he told me that the Museum was his just as much as it ever was, and that
he received the profits, which had never been less than twenty-five
thousand and were sometimes thirty thousand dollars per annum; and yet,
he was publicly stating that he was worth nothing! He also, as I
supposed, held securities of the Jerome Manufacturing Company, to a
large amount, (as I suppose about one hundred thousand dollars,) for I
know that such papers had been in his hands. There were many persons who
were interested in the revival of the business, who were in some way
flattered into the belief that Barnum would re-purchase the whole clock
establishment and put them back into the business again. Several men
were sent by some one to examine the property and estimate its value,
and those persons who were anxious for a restoration of the business
were in some way led to believe that Barnum intended to re-commence the
business of clock-making. For myself, I do not suppose that Barnum ever
seriously contemplated any such thing; but the belief that he did, made
some men quiet who might otherwise have been active and troublesome.

The manner in which this matter has been represented would reflect
dishonesty upon the Secretary, which would be untrue. No one who knows
him will, or can accuse him of dishonesty. I love truth, honesty and
religion; I do not mean, however, the religion that Barnum believes in:
(I believe that the wicked are punished in another world.) I ask the
reader to look at my situation in my old age. I think as much of a good
name, as to purity of character and honesty at heart, as any man living;
and very often reading in the New York papers of speeches that Barnum
has made, alluding to his being defrauded by the Jerome Manufacturing
Company, I wish the world to know the whole facts in the case, and what
my position was in the Company which bore my name. After many years--
years of very active business life--I had retired from active duty in
the Company, although I took a deep interest in every thing connected
with it, and also a great pride, as it was a business that I had built
up and had been many years in perfecting. The manufacturing had been
systematized in the most perfect manner and every thing looked
prosperous to me. I owned stock as others did, but did not know of its
financial standing, and was always informed that it was all right, and
that I should be perfectly safe in endorsing. I wish to have it
understood that I did not sign my name to any of this paper, it being
done by the Secretary himself, that therefore I could not know of the
amounts that were raised in that way, that I did not find out till after
the failure, and then the large amounts overwhelmed me with surprise.

It will be remembered that Barnum made two or three trips to Europe to
provide in some way for the support of his "poor and destitute" family,
which as he claimed, had been robbed and ruined by the Connecticut
clock-makers. At one time he was stopped on a pier in New York, just as
he was starting for Europe, by a suit brought against him. Thus the news
went abroad that poor Barnum was hunted and troubled on every side with
these clock notes. It was reported that he was quite sick in England and
could not live, and, at another time, that being much depressed and
discouraged on account of his many troubles, he had taken to drinking
very hard, and in all probability would live but a short time; while at
the same time, he was lecturing on temperance to the English people, and
was in fact a total-abstinence man. These stories were extensively
circulated; the value of his paper was depreciated in the market, and
was, in several instances bought for a small sum.

Since writing the foregoing with regard to his coming into the Company,
and, as he states, being ruined by it, I have ascertained to my own
satisfaction, that our connection with him was the means of ruining the
Company. A few days since I was talking with a man who has been more
familiar than myself with the whole transaction, and he told me it was
his opinion that if we had never seen Barnum we should still have been
making clocks in that factory. It was a great mystery to me, and to
every body else, how the Company could run down so rapidly during the
last year. I think I have found out, and these are my reasons. Instead
of having an amount of twenty thousand dollars to cancel of the Terry &
Barnum debts and accounts (which the Secretary foolishly agreed to do.)
it eventually proved to be about seventy thousand; (this I have found
out since the failure.) This great loss the Secretary kept to himself,
and it involved the Company so deeply that he became almost desperate;
for knowing by this time that he had been greatly embarrassed, he was
determined to raise money in any way that he could, honestly, and get
out of the difficulty if possible. He had, as he thought, got to keep
this an entire secret, because if known it would ruin the credit of the
Company. When these extra drafts and notes of Terry & Barnum were added
to the debts of the Company, he was obliged to resort to various
expedients to raise money to pay them. This led him to the exchange of
notes on a large scale, which proved to be a great loss, as many of the
parties were irresponsible. There was a loss of thirty thousand dollars
by one man, and I am sure that there must have been more than fifty
thousand dollars lost in this way. He was also obliged to issue short
drafts and notes and raise money on them at fearful rates. The Terry &
Barnum stock which was taken in at par, was not worth twenty-five per
cent, which had a tendency to reduce the value of the stock of our
Company, though I have recently heard that the Secretary bought stock at
par for the Jerome Company of some former owners in the Terry & Barnum
Company, in Bridgeport, only a short time before the failure. To show
the confidence the Secretary had in the standing of the Company, he
recommended one of his own brothers, not more than one month before the
Company failed, to buy five thousand dollars worth of the stock, which
he did. It was owned by a Bridgeport man and he paid par value for it in
good gold and silver watches at cash prices. All of these transactions
were made without my knowledge, and I have found them out by piece-meal
ever since. I do fully believe that if the Secretary had been worth half
a million of dollars, he would have sacrificed every dollar, rather than
have had the Company failed under his management as it did.

It has been publicly stated that Mr. Barnum endorsed largely on blank
notes and drafts and that he was thus rendered responsible to a far
greater extent than he was aware of; such, however, was not the case.

The troubles that have grown out of the failure of this great business,
have left me poor and broken down in spirit, constitution and health. I
was never designed by Providence to eat the bread of dependence, for it
is like poison to me, and will surely kill me in a short time. I have
now lost more than forty pounds of flesh, though my ambition has not yet
died within me.



After saying so much as I have about my misfortunes in life, I must say
a few words about what has happened and what I have been through with
during the last four years.

When the Jerome Manufacturing Company failed, every dollar that I had
saved out of a long life of toil and labor was not enough to support my
family for one year. It was hard indeed for a man sixty-three years old,
and my heart sickened at the prospect ahead. Perhaps there never was a
man that wanted more than I did to be in business and be somebody by the
side of my neighbors. There never was a man more grieved than I was when
I had to give up those splendid factories with the great facilities they
had over all others in the world for the manufacture of clocks both good
and cheap, all of which had been effected through my untiring efforts.
No one but myself can know what my feelings were when I was compelled,
through no fault of my own, to leave that splendid clustre [sic] of
buildings with all its machinery, and its thousands of good customers
all over this country and Europe, and in fact the whole world, which in
itself was a fortune. And then to leave that beautiful mansion at the
head of the New Haven bay, which I had almost worshipped. I say to leave
all these things for others, with that spirit and pride that still
remained within me, and at my time of life, was almost too much for
flesh and blood to bear. What could have been the feelings of my family,
and my large circle of friends and acquaintances, to see creditors and
officers coming to our house every day with their pockets full of
attachments and piles of them on the table every night. If any one can
ever begin to know my feelings at this time, they must have passed
through the same experience. Yet mortified and abused as I was, I had to
put up with it. Thank God, I have never been the means of such trouble
for others. I had to move to Waterbury in my old age, and there commence
again to try to get a living. I moved in the fall of 1856, and as bad
luck would have it, rented a house not two rods from a large church with
a very large steeple attached to it, which had been built but a short
time before. In one of the most terrific hurricanes and snow storms that
I ever knew in my life, at four o'clock in the morning of January 19th,
1857, this large steeple fell on the top of our house which was a three
story brick building. It broke through the roof and smashed in all the
upper tier of rooms, the bricks and mortar falling to the lower floor.
We were in the second story, and some of the bricks came into our room,
breaking the glass and furniture, and the heaviest part of the whole lay
directly on our house. It was the opinion of all who saw the ruins that
we did not stand one chance in ten thousand of not being killed in a
moment. I heard many a man say he would not take the chances that we had
for all the money in the State. One man in the other part of the house
was so frightened that he was crazy for a long time. Timbers in this
steeple, ten inches square, broke in two directly over my bed and their
weight was tremendous. I now began to think that my troubles were coming
in a different form; but it seems I was not to die in that way. The
business took a different shape in the spring, and I moved (another task
of moving!) to Ansonia. Here I lived two years, but very unfortunately
happened to get in with the worst men that could be found on the line of
Rail-road between Winsted and Bridgeport. In another part of this book I
have spoken of them; I do not now wish to think of them, for it makes me
sick to see their names on paper. I had worked hard ever since I left
New Haven--one year at Waterbury, and two at this place (Ansonia,)--but
got not one dollar for the whole time. I was robbed of all the money
which Mr. Stevens, (my son-in-law,) had paid me for the use of my trade-
mark in England, for the years 1857-'58. This advantage was taken of me,
because I could collect nothing in my own name.

I should consider my history incomplete, unless I went back for many
years to speak of the treatment which I received from a certain man. I
shall not mention his name, and my object in relating these
circumstances, is to illustrate a principle there is in man, and to
caution the young men to be careful when they get to be older and are
carrying on business, not to do too much for one individual. If you do,
in nine cases out of ten, he will hate and injure you in the end. This
has been my experience. Many years ago, I hired two men from a
neighboring town to work for me. It was about the time that I invented
the Bronze Looking-Glass Clock, which was, at that time, decidedly the
best kind made. After a while these two men contrived a plan to get up a
company, go into another town, and manufacture the same kind of clock.
This company was formed about six months before I found it out, and much
of their time was spent in making small tools and clock-parts to take
with them. This was done when they were at work for me on wages. They
induced as many of my men as they could to go with them, and took some
of them into company. When they had finished some clocks, they went
round to my customers and under-sold me to get the trade. This is the
first chapter. When I invented the thirty-hour brass clock in 1838, one
of these men had returned to Bristol again, and was out of business; but
he had some money which he had made out of my former improvements. I had
lost a great deal of money in the great panic of 1837. After I had
started a little in making this new clock, he proposed to put in some
money and become interested with me, and as I was in want of funds to
carry on the business, I told him that if he would put in three thousand
dollars, he should have a share of the profits. I went on with him one
year, but got sick of it and bought him out. I had to pay six thousand
dollars to get rid of him. He took this money, went to a neighboring
town, bought an old wood clock factory, fitted it up for making the same
clock that I had just got well introduced, and induced several of my
workmen to go with him, some of whom he took in company with him. As
soon as I had the clock business well a going in England, he sent over
two men to sell the same patterns. He has kept this up ever since, and
has made a great deal of money.

After the failure of the Jerome Manufacturing Company, as I have already
stated, I went to Waterbury to assist the Benedict & Burnham Company.
After I had been there six or eight months, and had got the case-making
well started, (my brother, Noble Jerome, had got the movements in the
works the year before.) this same man I have been speaking about, came
to me and made me a first-rate offer to go with him into a town a short
distance from Waterbury, and make clocks there. I accepted his offer,
but should not have done so, had it not been for the depressed condition
to which I had been brought by previous events. I accordingly moved to
the town where he had hired a factory. He was carrying on the business
at the same time in his old factory, and came to this new place about
twice a week. My work was in the third story, and it was very hard for
an old man to go up and down a dozen times a day. About this time I
obtained a patent on a new clock case, and as I was to be interested in
the business, I let the Company make several thousand of them. We could
make forty cents more on each clock than we could on an O-G. clock. As I
was favorably known throughout the world as a clockmaker, this Company
wanted to use my label as the clocks would sell better in some parts of
the country than with his label. They were put upon many thousands. Soon
after we commenced, I told him I would make out a writing of our bargain
because life was uncertain. He said that was all right, and that he
would attend to it soon. As he always seemed to be in a hurry when he
came, I wrote one and sent it to him, so that he might look it over at
his leisure and be ready to sign it when he came down again. The next
time I saw him, I asked him if the writing was not as we agreed; he said
he supposed it was, but that he had no time to look it over and sign it
then, but would do so when he had time. I paid into the business about
one thousand nine hundred dollars in small sums, as it was wanted from
time to time, and worked at this man for eight months to get a writing
from him, but he always had an excuse. He had agreed to give the
case-maker a share of the profits if he would make the cases at a
certain price, but put him off in the same way. We both became satisfied
that he did not mean to do as he had agreed, and I therefore left him.
The money which I had paid in was what I had received for the use of my
name in England. I had the privilege of paying it in as it was wanted,
working eight months, keeping the accounts which I did evenings, and
giving this man a home at my house whenever he was in town. All of this
which I had done, he refused to give me one dollar for, and it was with
great difficulty that I got my money back. I had to put it into another
man's hands, as his property, to recover it. This man, probably, had two
objects in view when he went to Waterbury to flatter me away. He did not
want me to be there with my name on the movements and cases, and
therefore he made me a first-rate offer. I had been broken up in all my
business, and felt very anxious to be doing something again. I was a
little afraid when he made the offer, but knew that he had made a great
deal of money out of my improvements and was very wealthy, and I did
think he would be true to me, knowing as he did my circumstances. Look
at this miser, with not a child in the world, and no one on earth that
he cares one straw about, and yet so grasping! Oh! what will the poor
creature do in eternity!



Before closing the history of the many trials and troubles which I have
experienced during my life, I will here say that I have never found, in
all my dealings with men for more than forty years, such an untruthful
and dishonest a man as ---- of a certain town in Connecticut. In 1858,
he induced me to come into his factory to carry on a little business. My
situation was such, in consequence of the failure of the Jerome
Manufacturing Company, that I could do nothing in my own name, as he
knew. I had a little money that had been paid me for the use of my
trademark in England, and I felt very anxious, as old as I was, to make
a little money so that I could pay some small debts which my family had
made a short time before the company failed. I had also two children who
looked to me for some help. This man said to me, "you may have the use
of my factory for 'so much,' and you may carry on the business for one
year in my name for so 'much.'" This was agreed to by both parties. In
a few days he came to me and said that he had been talking with his
nephew about having the business carried on in his name "& Co.;" ----
being the "Company" and he was to keep his nephew harmless, as he had
nothing for the use of his name. The nephew came into the factory a
short time after, and I asked him if he had agreed to what ---- had
stated to me; he said that he had, and that I could go on with the
business in the name of himself & Co.; he was quite sure that his uncle
would keep him harmless. I went on with the business in this name from
May to December, both of those men knowing all the while just as much
about the business as I did, and they never said but that it was all
right as we had agreed. I paid in my money from time to time as it was
wanted. Late in the fall, I paid in at one time, one thousand nine
hundred dollars, through a firm who owed me that amount, and who gave
their notes to ---- on short time, which notes were paid. A short time
after this, knowing that I had no more money to put into the business,
he undoubtedly thought it time to do what he had intended to do at a
suitable time from the beginning. One day when I was unwell and
confined to the house, a man who had a claim against the company,
called on ---- to make a settlement. Before this time he had made
two payments on this same account, but he now told this man that there
never had been such a company, and that he would never pay it--while
at the same time, he had the same property which the man offered to
take back but which he had refused to give up, and said that I had no
right to use the name of ---- & Co. This was after he had been using the
name for me in drafts and notes, and all other business transactions,
for more than eight months. He said that he would have me arrested for
fraud and put in the State Prison. This treatment was rather hard
towards a man who had never before been accused of dishonesty, and who
had done business on a large scale with thousands of men for more than
forty years. He at one time requested me to borrow a note for him from
one of my friends, which I did, and which he paid promptly when due. He
did this, as I now suppose, because the business was not in as good
shape for him as it might be in another three months; so he wished me to
get the favor renewed, which I did. When it became due, he denied that
it was a borrowed note, declared that I was owing him, and had handed
this note to him as one that was good and would be paid. One of his best
friends has since told me that there was more honor among horse-thieves
than this man had shown towards me. I put into the business between four
and five thousand dollars, worked hard almost a year, and have received
about five hundred dollars. ---- is trying to scare me by threatening to
sue me for perjury; so that if he could make me fool enough to pay the
debts of ---- & Co., he would have just so much more to put into his own
pocket. When he can get a grand jury to find a true bill against me for
fraud or perjury, I will promise to go to Wethersfield and stay there
the remainder of my life, without any further trial. After all that I
have said, I think of him just as all his neighbors do; for they have
told me that it was the common talk among them, when I first went into
his factory, that he would in some way cheat me out of every dollar that
I put into his hands. It would take just about as much evidence to prove
that young crows would be black when their feathers are grown, as it
would to satisfy the community that these statements are true,
especially where he is known. For knavery, untruthfulness, and
wickedness, I have never seen anything, in all my business experience of
forty years, that will compare with this. He would not have taken such a
course with me once, but he took advantage of my age and misfortunes to
commit these frauds, thinking that I could not defend myself, and that
he could defraud and crush me.

I had paid every dollar of my money into this business which I had at
that time, and had nothing to live on through the winter. But John
Woodruff in his kindness, raised money enough for me to live on through
the winter, and the following spring I moved to New Haven.



In order to have my history complete I must give my reason for building
the Wooster Place Church, as my motives have been misconstrued by many
persons, I will make a short statement of what I know to be true. It is
well known that with the exception of one, all the Congregational
churches in New Haven, were located west of the centre of the city. The
majority of the inhabitants lived in the eastern section. Meeting after
meeting was called by the different churches to consider the importance
of building a church in the eastern part. It was strongly advocated by
the ministers and many others, that this part of the city was rapidly
filling up, a great deal of manufacturing was carried on there, and the
strangers who were constantly coming in would fall into other
denominations. I heard their speeches advocating this course with great
pleasure, as I lived in the eastern part of the city, had a long
distance to go to attend church, and nearly all the workmen in my employ
lived in the same section. The church which I have mentioned as the only
one located east of the centre, was in a very prosperous condition. By
the talent, popularity and piety of its minister, as his church and
congregation believed, he had filled the church to overflowing. There
were no slips to be bought in that church. We heard this minister say
that he could spare thirty families from his congregation to build up a
new church. In view of all the facts, I started a subscription paper, in
as good faith as I ever did anything in my life, for the raising of
funds to build an edifice. The subscription was headed by myself with
five thousand dollars and many large sums were added to it. A number of
wealthy men lived near the contemplated place of building the new
church, who belonged to other churches. It was supposed, by what their
ministers had said in public and in private, that they would use their
influence in advancing this good work, and to have some of their members
join in it; but for some reason they changed their minds. I heard that
the minister of the church located in the eastern section (which I
mentioned before,) had got up a subscription paper to raise ten or
twelve thousand dollars to beautify the front of his church, raise a
higher steeple, and make some other alterations that he thought
important. I was told that he called on the men who lived in the
locality where we proposed erecting the new church, with his
subscription, and that they subscribed to carry out his plans. Some of
those who had subscribed to build the new church, after he had made
these calls, wrote me that they wished their names crossed off from my
paper--Others came and told me the same thing, and wished their names
erased. I began at this time to understand that there were influences
working against our enterprise and that this way of building a church
must be given up. I however, went forward myself, as is very well known,
and built a church second to none in New England. I should have built
one that would not have cost one half of the money, had I acted on my
own judgement, but I was influenced by a few others differently. I paid
more than twenty thousand dollars out of my own pocket into this church.

Public opinion in the community was, that if the several ministers had
given their influence in favor of this matter, a church would have been
built by subscription. They could very easily have influenced their
friends in that part of the city to unite in this enterprise without
detriment to their own congregation. Had this course been taken, it is
evident that by this time it would have been a large and prosperous

A correspondent of the Independent in writing upon the growth of
Congregationalism, in New Haven, had a great deal to say about the
Wooster Place church--calling the man that built it, "a sagacious
mechanic, who built it on speculation etc." Yet; added "if they had
called a young man for its Pastor from New England, it might have
succeeded after all."

It is well known that the Congregational denomination has made but very
small advancement compared with others for the last twenty years. It is
supposed that the inhabitants of New Haven have doubled in number during
that time; but only one small Mission church has been added to the
Congregational churches. Four Episcopal churches have been built, and
filled with worshipers, many of whom formerly belonged to Congregational
families. The Methodists have built two large churches, and more than
trebled in number. The Baptists have more than doubled, and now own and
occupy the Wooster Place church. And to have kept pace with the others,
the Congregational denomination should now have as many as three more
large churches.



For many years I have extensively advertised throughout every part of
the civilized world, and in the most conspicuous places, such a city as
New Haven Connecticut, U.S.A., and its name is hourly brought to notice
wherever American clocks are used, and I know of no more conspicuous or
prominent place than the dial of a clock for this purpose. More of these
clocks have been manufactured in this city for the past sixteen years
than any other one place in this country, and the company now
manufacturing, turn out seven hundred daily.

I now propose to give a brief description of New Haven and its
inhabitants in the words of a business man who loves the town. New
Haven, is to-day a city of more than forty thousand inhabitants,
remarkable as the New Englanders generally are for their ingenuity,
industry, shrewd practical good sense, and their large aggregate wealth;
and with forty thousand such people it is not strange that New Haven is
now growing like a city in the west. It was settled in 1638, and
incorporated as a city in 1784. Its population in 1830, was less than
eleven thousand, and in 1840, but little more than fourteen thousand,
its increase from 1840 to 1850, was about eight thousand, and from 1850
to 1860, the population has nearly doubled. The assessed value of
property in 1830, amounted to about two and a half millions. The amount
at the present time is estimated at over twenty seven millions. New
Haven is situated at the head of a fine bay, four miles from Long Island
Sound, and seventy-six miles from New York, on the direct line of
Rail-road, and great thoroughfare between that city and Boston, and can
be reached in three hours by Rail-road and about five by water from New
York. New Haven has long been known as the city of Elms, and it far
surpasses any other city in America in the number and beauty of these
noble elm trees which shade and adorn its streets and public squares. It
is a place of large manufacturing interests, the persevering genius and
enterprise of its people having made New Haven in a variety of ways,
prominent in industrial pursuits. Mr. Whitney, the inventor of the
Cotton Gin, Mr. Goodyear of india rubber notoriety, and many other great
and good men who by their ingenuity and perseverance have added millions
to the wealth of mankind, were citizens of New Haven. Nearly every kind
of manufactured article known in the market, can here be found and
bought direct from the manufactory--such as carriages and all kind of
carriage goods, firearms, shirts, locks, furniture, clothing, shoes,
hardware, iron castings, daguerrotype-cases, machinery, plated goods,
&c., &c.

The manufacture of carriages is here carried on, on a grand scale, and
its yearly productions are probably larger than of any other city in the
Union. There are more than sixty establishments in full operation at the
present time, many of them of great extent and completeness, and turn
out work justly celebrated for its beauty and substantial value wherever
they are known. I live in the immediate vicinity of the largest carriage
manufactury in the world, which turns out a finished carriage every
hour; much of the work being done by machinery and systematized in much
the same manner as the clock-making. American carriages are fast
following American clocks to foreign countries, to the West Indies,
Australia and the Sandwich Islands, Mexico and South America, and I
believe the day is not far distant when they will be exported to Europe
in large quantities, and the present prospect seems far more favorable
for them than it did for me when I introduced my first cargo of clocks
into England.

When I first saw this city in 1812, its population was less than five
thousand, and it looked to me like a country town. I wandered about the
streets early one morning with a bundle of clothes and some bread and
cheese in my hands little dreaming that I should live to see so great a
change, or that it ever would be my home. I remember seeing the loads of
wood and chips for family use lying in front of the houses, and acres of
land then in cornfields and valued at a small sum, are now covered with
fine buildings and stores and factories in about the heart of the city.

When I moved my case making business to New Haven, the project was
ridiculed by other clock-makers, of going to a city to manufacture by
steam power, and yet it seems to have been the commencement of
manufacturers in the country, coming to New Haven to carry on their
business. Numbers came to me to get my opinion and learn the advantages
it had over manufacturing in the country, which I always informed them
in a heavy business was very great, the item of transportation alone
over-balancing the difference between water and steam power. The
facilities for procuring stock and of shipping, being also an important
item. Not one of the good citizens will deny that this great business of
clock-making which I first brought to New Haven has been of immense
advantage and of great importance to the city. Through its agency
millions of money has been brought here, adding materially to the
general prosperity and wealth, besides bringing it into notice wherever
its productions are sent. I have been told that there is nothing in the
eastern world that attracts the attention of the inhabitants like a
Yankee clock. It has this moment come into my mind of several years ago
giving a dozen brass clocks to a missionary at Jerusalem; they were
shipped from London to Alexandria in Egypt, from there to Joppa, and
thence about forty miles on the backs of Camels to Jerusalem, where they
arrived safe to the great joy of the missionary and others interested,
and attracted a great deal of attention and admiration. I also sent my
clocks to China, and two men to introduce them more than twenty years

I will here say what I truly believe as to the future of this business;
there is no place on the earth where it can be started and compete with
New Haven, there are no other factories where they can possibly be made
so cheap. I have heard men ask the question, "why can't clocks be made
in Europe on such a scale, where labor is so cheap?" If a company could
in any part of the old world get their labor ten years for nothing, I do
not believe they could compete with the Yankees in this business. They
can be made in New Haven and sent into any part of the world for more
than a hundred years to come for less than one half of what they could
be made for in any part of the old world. I was many years in
systematizing this business, and these things I know to be facts, though
it might appear as strong language. No man has ever lived that has given
so much time and attention to this subject as myself. For more than
fifty years, by day and by night, clocks have been uppermost in my mind.
The ticking of a clock is music to me, and although many of my
experiences as a business man have been trying and bitter, I have the
satisfaction of knowing that I have lived the life of an honest man, and
have been of some use to my fellow men.



Pendulum clocks are the oldest style, and are more generally introduced
than any other kind. I will give a few simple suggestions essential for
keeping this clock in good order as a time-keeper. In the first place, a
clock must be plumb (that is level;) and what I mean by plumb, is not
treing up the case to a level, but it is to put the case in a position
so that the beats or sounds of the wheel-teeth striking the verge are
equal. It is not necessary to go by the sound, if the face is taken off
so that you can see the verge. You can then notice and see whether the
verge holds on to the teeth at each end the same length of time; or (in
other words) whether the vibrations are equal as they should be. Clocks
are often condemned because they stop, or because they do not keep good
time, while these points and others are not in beat, the vibrations are
not regular; hence it will not divide the time equally, and it is called
a poor time-keeper, when the difficulty may be that it is not properly
set up. A clock which will run when it is much out of beat, is a very
good one, and it must run very easily, because it has a great
disadvantage to overcome, viz: a greater distance from a perpendicular
line one way than the other in order that the verge may escape the
teeth. A clock may be set up in perfect beat, but the shelf is liable to
settle or warp, and get out of beat so gradually, that it might not be
remarked by one not suspecting it, unless special notice was taken of
it. This matter should be looked to when the clock stops.

I have explained the mode of setting up a clock with reference to
putting it in beat, etc. Another essential point to be attended to is
that the rod should hang in the centre or very near the centre of the
loop in the crutch wire which is connected with the verge, and for this
reason, if it rubs the front or back end of the loop, the friction will
cause it to stop. To prevent this, set the clock case so that it will
lean back a little or forward, as it requires. It sometimes happens that
the dial (if it is made of zinc) gets bent in, and the loop of the
crutch wire rubs as it passes back and forth. This should be attended
to. It should be noticed also, whether the crutch wire gets misplaced so
that it rubs any kind of a dial; the least impediment here will stop a
clock. The centre of the dial should next be noticed. It sometimes
happens that the warping moves it from its place, so that the sockets of
the pointers rub, and many times it is the cause of the clock's
stopping; this can be remedied by pareing out the centre on the side

Soft verges are no uncommon cause of clocks stopping, and those who
travel to repair clocks generally overlook this trouble. A clock with a
soft verge will run but a short time, because the teeth will dent into
the face of the verge and cause a roughness that will certainly stop it.
The way to ascertain this, is to try a file on the end of the verge; if
you can file it it is soft; they are intended to be so hard that a file
will not cut them. They can be hardened without taking off the brass
ears or crutch wires, if you are careful in heating them; but the
roughness on the faces caused by the teeth must be taken out in
finishing. They must be polished nicely, and the polish lines should run
parallel with the verge: this may not seem to some necessary, but if the
polished lines run crosswise you can hear it rub distinctly and it would
cause it to stop.

It is very common to hear a clock make a creaking noise, and this leads
inexperienced persons to think it has become dry inside. This is not so,
and you will always find it to be caused by the loop of the crutch wire
where it touches the rod; apply a little oil and it will cure it.

Some think that a clock must be cleaned and oiled often, but if the
foregoing directions are carefully pursued it is not necessary. I could
show the reader several thirty-four hour brass clocks of my first and
second years' manufacture (about twenty-two years since) which have been
taken apart and cleaned but once--perhaps some of them twice. I have
been told that they run as well as they did the first year. Now these
are the directions which I should lay down for you to save your money,
and your clocks from untimely wearing out. If you see any signs of their
stopping--such as a faint beat, or if on a very cold night they stop,
take the dial off, and the verge from the pin, wipe the pin that the
verge hangs on, the hole in the ears of the verge, and the pieces that
act on the wheel; also the loop of the verge wire where it connects with
the rod, and the rod itself where the loop acts. Previous to taking off
the verge, oil all the pivots in front; let the clock be wound up about
half way, then take off the verge, and let it run down as rapidly as it
will, in order to work out the gummy oil: then wipe off the black oil
that has worked out and it is not necessary to add any more to the
pivots. Then oil the parts as above described connected with the verge
and be very sparing of the oil, for too little is better than too much.
I never use any but watch oil. You may think that the other oils are
good because you have tried them; but I venture to say that all the good
they effected was temporary and after a short time the clock was more
gummed up than it was before. Watch oil is made from the porpoise' jaw,
and I have not seen anything to equal it. You may say why not oil the
back pivots? They do not need it as often as the front ones, because
they are not so much exposed, and hence, they do not catch the dust
which passes through the sash and through the key holes that causes the
pivots to be gummy and gritty. The front pivot holes wear largest first.
A few pennys' worth of oil will last many years.

It is necessary to occasionally oil the pulleys on the top of the case
which the cord passes over. If this is not done the hole becomes
irregular, and a part of the power is lost to the clock. Common oil will
answer for them. With regard to balance-wheel clocks, it is more
difficult to explain the mode of repairing, to the inexperienced. With
reference to oiling, use none but watch oil.


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