These little gems are called carriage clocks.
They were portable time keepers, portable time pieces again when most clocks were pendulum
clocks this allowed you to take your clock with you and as you are traveling . Often
originally they came with leather boxes, leather cases with a little front that you could even
open it up and you could still see what time it was while the cock was ticking away inside
its leather case. These mostly were French although I am going to show you a few that
were American made later on but in mostly French, mostly considerably more expensive
than those alarm clocks we looked at and they were sold in high end jewelry stores and often
you will find in the name of the clock even the name of the jeweler. In this case this
is Shreve Crump and Lowe which is still a major carriage trade jewelry store in Boston.
These came in various levels of simplicity or complication. The simplest would have been
the rectangular case, just a time keeper. You could go up from there with one that could
do striking, they’ll tell you the hours and half hours as well as having an alarm feature.
You see the little dial down in the bottom indicates that this is an alarm clock as well.
They even got fancier if you see ones with the little button up top. That was called
the repeater so that you could reach over from your bed in the inn long before there
was electric lighting and plug in or wind up alarm clocks that were accurate enough,
you would push the little button and the clock would repeat the previous hour so as you were
lying there you would know if it was sometime between 12 and 1 or 1 and 2 in the morning.
There were even more complicated ones called Grand Sonary, or Petite Sonary that would
tell you even basically what minute you were in during that hour. Mostly they came in these
rectangular cases but sometimes the case shapes were different. This is a drum case which
is rare and a little more interesting but not as classic. The other issue with carriage
clocks is whether the balance platform is original. That is actually the thing up top
ticking. We saw some ticking going on in another clock and some of those parts are so fragile
they get worn or broken and they are very difficult to repair so that you can actually
buy replacement platforms that have the escape wheel and the balance wheel in there and you
can put them in your old carriage clock to make it a better time keeper, a better runner,
but you make a sacrifice in value for having a replacement major part inside your carriage