Joseph Henry Eastman
Any discussion of the Chelsea Clock Company begins with Joseph H. Eastman. The historical record of Eastman and his clocks is a constantly evolving story. Many students, over the years, have added to the current bank of knowledge. There are still many unanswered questions concerning Eastman's horological endeavors. Born in 1843, Eastman's early years are essentially undocumented. Between the years 1867 and 1880 Eastman is listed in Boston City Directories as a watchmaker. The 1880 Boston City Directory is quite detailed in listing the skills and services provided by Eastman . He is presented as a manufacturer of clocks, watches, watchmaker's tools, and automatic machinery, as well as a retailer of various clock and watch material. His skill in the repair of fine watches is noted as a specialty.
Harvard Clock Company
Eastman's first known venture in the organized manufacture of clocks was with the Harvard Clock Company which was granted a Massachusetts' Certificate of Organization on November 20, 1880. This certificate of organization shows the company officers were Samuel S. Campbell, President, Charles M. Campbell, Treasurer, James H. Gerry and Joseph H. Eastman, co-directors. Interestingly, however, an 1881 Boston City Directory lists Edwin Chaffin, President, Edwin O. Chiles, Treasurer, Joseph H. Eastman, General Manager, and James Bridgeman, Superintendent.
Known Harvard clock serial numbers range from 13 to 1186, indicating initially approximately 1200 clocks were manufactured. Extensive study of known serial numbers shows sampling in all 100 number ranges with the exception of no data points in the range 600-999. With the significant number of presently known clocks, it is fair to say with certainty, that 800 clocks is the most likely number produced. Figures #1031 and #1062 show examples of Harvard clocks. Note the distinctive opening in the dial, with a shape resembling an eclipsed sun. This opening serves to show off the escapement and to provide access to the fast-slow regulating adjustment. Most Harvard clock movements are signed, "HARVARD CLOCK CO. BOSTON PAT'D. DEC. 28, 1880". This patent, #236,016, was for an escapement plate subframe design by James H. Gerry and assigned to the Harvard Clock Company. It is not known what, if any, input Joseph Eastman had in the development of this patent, but his affiliation with Gerry and his life long support for the design would indicate it was more than chance. Figures #361 and #393 show a variation of this feature in that the shafts for the hands extend from the opposite side of the movement, thus not allowing for access to the regulator through the open dial, but via a linkage with adjustment on the dial surface. The open dial escapement, although quite attractive, was perhaps not the most durable way to regulate a marine type clock. It is interesting to note that Gerry mentions the option of these two means of design in his patent, "Should it be so desired, I can reverse, to a certain extent, the order of the parts by placing the front plate in the position of the back plate and vice versa, and relatively reversing the supplemental plate so that the action of the escapement may appear from the back." The two different types of regulation displayed on Harvard clocks gave way to the more durable type of figure #361 in later Boston Clock Company and Chelsea Clock Company products. Although the rear set escapement was the one to endure, Gerry, in his patent application, makes it clear that the original intent was for the patent to cover a forward set and exposed escapement. The escapement, like that of an enlarged watch, shows the possible influence of Eastman, who was a watchmaker by training. Joseph Eastman's support of this outstanding design is perhaps his most lasting legacy.
The few Harvard clocks that are known are all single train or time only clocks. In 1884, the Harvard Clock Company changed its' name to the Boston Clock Company. Since the Boston Clock Company did not begin producing striking clocks until 1886, it is almost without doubt that Harvard did not make any striking clocks. There is however, mention of repeating clocks being offered in the only known advertisement of the Harvard Clock Company. A corporate name change in Massachusetts required an act of the legislature; such an act was passed on May 29, 1884. Why did Harvard change its' name after being in business for only 3 1/2 years? Two explanations have come to light. According to the first story, Joseph Eastman was having his hair cut in a Boston barber shop one day when who should be sitting in the next chair but Edward Howard, reportedly Eastman's former employer. Howard complained that "Harvard" sounded too much like "Howard", which could lead to confusion on the part of retailers and consumers. Eastman was general manager of Harvard at this time and presumably convinced his company to change its' name. The second explanation is that Howard was a bit more upset about the similarity of names, and threatened legal action if the name of Harvard was not changed. There is no known documentation to support either theory.
These two 12" dial clocks are significant in that they clearly show the transition of Joseph Henry Eastman from the E. Howard Clock Company to his own company, Harvard Clock Company, 1880-1884. The Harvard signature is more detailed and believed to be earlier. The bezels and case backs are identical, except that the Howard has a deep case and the Harvard has a shallow one; both cases use the same hinge and button.
Boston Clock Company
Boston Clock Company, 1884-1894, continued the traditions of the Harvard Clock Company after the name change in 1884. Boston Clock Company began producing striking clocks in 1886 after the invention and patent of the famous Boston tandem wind striking movement.
This type was produced in house strike and in limited numbers, ship's bell. The ship's bell clocks appear to be prototypes, as all known examples vary significantly in movement design. Circumstantial evidence exists that these ship's bell clocks marked "Boston Clock Co.", were assembled at the Vermont Clock Company circa 1900. From 1884-1894 Boston Clock Company produced approximately 15000 clocks. While it seems expected that these fine Harvard and Boston clock movements would be similar, as they were produced by the same company, the newly named company expanded their offerings considerably. In the annals of Boston folk lore is another story about Joseph Eastman and his attempt to market his clocks thought the famous jewelry company "Tiffany & Co." of New York. When Eastman called on the buyers of Tiffany, he was rejected, as although his clocks were of excellent quality, his time only clocks were not the striking clocks customers wanted. This was a tremendous set back to Eastman as his company had purchased a very large supply of dials with only one winding hole for use with the time only movements.
In 1886, the Boston Clock Company, patented the famous tandem wind striking movement. This patent dated June 15, 1886, states, "this invention has for its object to enable the striking-movement of a clock to be readily separated from the time-movement without affecting or making either movement inoperative; and to this end it consists in a clock having a frame composed of two separable sections, the one holding the time-movement and the other the striking-movement". It is said that Eastman designed this movement with one winding arbor to satisfy the demand for striking clocks and to use his large supply of single winding hole dials. The Boston Clock Company experienced at least a moderate level of success as the Boston Clock Company's 1890 catalog boasted a fairly wide line of clocks. One of the most notable, although rather rare, of the Boston clocks, the "Locomotive", seems to have been the the inspiration for the Chelsea Clock Company when they began offering their "Marine" line of clocks in 1897. These marine clocks, followed by their patented Ship's Bell clock in 1900, eventually became Chelsea's largest product line and established their reputation as "Timekeepers of the Sea." Chelsea also adopted the "watch type" escapement which was similar in both design and appearance. The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review of Jan 31, 1894 on page 25 reports that "The Ansonia Clock Co. has bought out the Boston Clock Co." The Circular of September 4, 1895 additionally notes "The Boston Clock Co. have just transferred their property to Charles O. Warner on private terms. The estate comprises a large brick building and a lot of land, containing about 50,362 square feet, appraised for $5,000. The whole is assessed for $35,000." These two entries mark the end of the Boston Clock Company . Although the Ansonia catalogs, till as late as1907, offered Boston Clock Co. clocks, this appears just to be a reduction of acquired inventory, as no effort was made to continue production of Boston clocks. Models offering Ansonia movements in what appear to be Boston style cases are the extent of Boston/Ansonia collaboration.
Eastman Clock Company
In the August 21, 1895 issue of the Jeweler's Circular and Horological Review the following announcement appeared: "The clock manufacturing concern in Roxbury, Mass., has been made an offer by the citizens of Chelsea, Mass. to locate the factory there, and plans for a new set of buildings are being drafted. The concern gives employment to fifty workmen." In the 1895 City of Chelsea's Annual Report, published on January 20, 1896, the Mayors' Address to the Board of Trade includes these comments: "An essential auxiliary to the growth and development of a progressive municipality is a Trade Association, and I congratulate the Chelsea Board of Trade upon its effective work, and the good results accomplished in the brief time of its' organization." "Through the efforts of this association several new factories have been erected within the city limits during the past year, among which may be noted, a shoe factory employing seventy-five skilled workmen, ....a cork bicycle handle factory....furnishing employment to thirty hands, mostly young women,....the
Eastman Clock Company, now erecting a fine brick factory building, nearly completed on Everett Avenue where will be employed thirty to forty hands in turning out high grade clocks." On May 1, 1896, with "all just credits given of the amount due," a mechanic's lien was recorded in Land Court against Eastman's interest in the land and newly erected building by J. E. Giddings in the amount of $3,559.72. Giddings further certified that his company "ceased to perform labor on or furnish materials for the building on April 1, 1896." Similarly, Joseph A. Ingalls appeared for his firm in Land Court and on July 25, succeeded in securing a lien of $700 against the Eastman Clock Company for moneys past due, certifying that his firm had "ceased to furnish materials and labor on June 26, 1896."
Despite this rocky start, the Eastman Clock Company was the beginning of clock manufacture in the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts. Joseph H. Eastman constructed the Eastman Clock Company factory building in 1894-1896. It was this beginning that was to become the "Chelsea" Clock Company in 1897. Eastman Clock Company is known to have produced limited numbers of marine, regulator, and banjo clocks in a brief period before it was sold at foreclosure in mid 1896. There is documentation that Eastman retained movements marked Eastman Clock Co. after the foreclosure, which he later sold at the Fairhaven Manufacturing /Vermont Clock Company in Fairhaven, Vermont. Production records of the Eastman Clock Company have been lost and in an effort to reconstruct this lost history, the “Chelsea” Clock Museum has been recording known Eastman clock serial numbers. Known marine clock serial numbers range from 8 to 388. Known serial numbers higher than 400 are all of the weight regulator/banjo type. Clockmaker John C. Losch has reported seeing a group of at least 10 regulator movements, when he was a younger man, that were new and never installed in a case. Known movement number 684 is new and appears unused and may be one of this group. All serial number series from 1-999 have known data points with the exception of 100-199 and 700-899. The relatively large number of data points in the 1-99 and 200-299 series makes the absence of clocks in the 100-199 series all the more glaring. Presently known data points indicate 300 marine clocks and possibly as many as 700 weight regulators/banjos were produced.
As more clocks surface this picture will be refined. It is interesting to note than two known marine clocks are dated on the dial, 1896. These two clocks have serial numbers 54 and 274. The highest known serial number on an Eastman marine clock is 388. This clock is a 10" nickel plated key lock case, signed on the dial, "Liondale Bleach, Dye & Print Works, Rockaway, New Jersey." The following entry in the History of Morris County New Jersey, Volume II, Lewis Publishing Co., dated 1914 is further evidence that most, if not all, Eastman production was during 1896. "The Liondale Bleach, Dye & Print Works, which was established at Rockaway, New Jersey, in the year 1896, and which with the passage of years, has increased the scope of its operations until it is now recognized as one of the most thriving industries of its kind in the entire state." During the seven or so months that Eastman may have been able to occupy his new factory, it isn't known if he continued to produce clocks at his location in Roxbury or had transferred this operation to his new factory. Clocks marked "Eastman Clock Company", given the company's brief and uncertain manufacturing operation, are not surprisingly, rarely encountered. The historically significant clock, #266, demonstrates the U. S. Navy's high regard for Eastman's clocks. The case of this clock is stamped "IOWA" in several places referring to the battleship U.S.S. Iowa, BB4, which fired the first shot of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba in the Spanish-American War. According to "All the World's Fighting Ships" by Fred T. Jane, the keel for the Iowa was laid down by William Cramp and Sons of Philadelphia on Aug. 5, 1893. The battleship was launched March 28, 1896 and commissioned June 16, 1897. After various assignments including Spanish-American War duty and service as the flagship of the South Atlantic Squadron, Iowa was decommissioned on March 31, 1919. The movement of this clock is remarkable in its' similarity in design to the later products of the Chelsea Clock Company. The nickel plating and damascene finish of this Eastman movement is excellent and gave way to the gold plating of the Chelsea movement.
Boston Clock Company of Maine
After the failure of the Eastman Clock Company in 1896, Harry W. Bates, formed the Boston Clock Company of Maine using Eastman's factory and clock designs. His use of this famous name has led to much confusion as to the origin of the Chelsea Clock Company. The Boston Clock Company of Maine, 1896-1897, was a completely different company from the original Boston Clock Company, 1884-1894. The Boston Clock Company of Maine produced a limited number of marine and regulator clocks in 1897 that were ultimately sold as products of the infant Chelsea Clock Company. The rediscovery in 1997, of clock #204, has shed new light on the transition period between the Boston Clock Company of Maine and the beginning of the Chelsea Clock Company. In the November 11, 1896 issue of the Jeweler's Circular and Horological Review (JC&HR), the following was recorded. "H. W. Bates, president of the newly organized Boston Clock Co., is pleased with the changed outlook, and considers conditions favorable for the start they are to make next week at the plant formerly occupied by the Eastman Clock Co., in Chelsea. Mr. Bates says that they will have a New York office and probably a Chicago office also. The Boston business will be handled from the factory, on account of its nearness to the city."
Signatures on Early Chelsea Clocks
Until clock #204 surfaced, it has been the accepted wisdom that the Boston Clock Company of Maine probably never produced anything in the way of a clock. The 4.5" marine clock, #204, is the missing link between the Boston Clock Co. of Maine and the Chelsea Clock Co. and shows that the Boston Clock Co. of Maine did indeed produce a small number of clocks, in the seven short months that the company existed. The Clock #204 movement is identical in design to similar products of the Chelsea Clock Co. in all respects, except the finish of the plates. The plates of this clock are marked "Boston Clock Co." and "204". Review of the first Movement Record Book of the Chelsea Clock Co. shows that the first marine clock production was started with clock #200. Further examination shows that in the beginning, Chelsea Clock Co. was toying with the idea of numbering each type of clock with its' own serial number series. The record shows that a series of clocks numbered 1-660 were also produced that were of the Number One pendulum type. This numbering method was quickly discarded and hereafter clocks were numbered in numerical order regardless of the movement type. The entry for clock #204 shows that the clock was sold to "Chas. C. Hutchinson", "Boston" on September 13, 1897. No mention of the movement being marked "Boston Clock Co." is made for entry #204, however, the entry for clock #209 is recorded as being sold to "Chas. C. Hutchinson" and is recorded as "Boston Clock Co. Mvt" sold, also on September 13, 1897. Careful review of the entire Movement Record Book One does not show any other reference to the Boston Clock Co., except this one brief entry. The near pristine original condition of clock #204 marked "Chas. C. Hutchinson" and the record book evidence, clearly show that this clock is indeed the clock referred to as entry number 204. This evidence shows that the Boston Clock Co. of Maine, at least, started manufacture of a limited number of clocks. Whether the Boston Clock Co. of Maine or the Chelsea Clock Co. actually finished these clocks is debatable, but there is no question that some early clocks sold as the products of the infant Chelsea Clock Co. were marked Boston Clock Co. To date, only clock #204 and two other clocks have been found to be so marked. Several early marine, carriage, and pendulum regulator clocks marked "Chelsea Clock Co." that have been signed over a milled circular area are known to exist. These clocks are material that was produced by the Boston Clock Company of Maine, but unlike clock #204 and the two clocks mentioned, were remarked before they were sold by the Chelsea Clock Company. Other serial numbers known to be marked in this manner are marine types #208, #218, #263 and #310. The earliest known marine type signed "Chelsea Clock Co.", that is not milled, is #341. All known pendulum regulators in the series 1-660 are marked "Chelsea Clock Co". Serial numbers 5, 95, 158, and 267 in this series are known to be milled and remarked Chelsea Clock Co. In addition to Harry Bates' interest in the Boston Clock Co. of Maine, he contracted to purchase stock in the Standard Cordage Company of Boston, manufacturer of rope and twine, from Charles H. Pearson. The relationship between Bates and Pearson was to form the basis for the beginning of the Chelsea Clock Co. This is the point that Joseph Eastman and the company that was to become the Chelsea Clock Company diverge. At the time Harry Bates was due to pay for the stock he had purchased from Charles Pearson, he found himself short of cash. Charles H. Pearson took control of the Boston Clock Company of Maine as payment for the stock Bates had purchased from him. The horological trail of Joseph Eastman was to forever leave Chelsea, Mass., in the year 1896. Although, Eastman's clock designs and factory marked the physical and technical beginnings of the Chelsea Clock Company, it was the business talent of Charles H. Pearson that was the sustaining energy of the company.
Fairhaven Manufacturing and Vermont Clock Companies
After the failure of the Eastman Clock Company, Joseph Eastman, joined with Busby Bell and Tool Company of Fairhaven, Vermont in 1896 to form the Fairhaven Manufacturing Company. Fairhaven Manufacturing Company became the Vermont Clock Company in 1898, also in Fairhaven. Clocks were produced in Fairhaven with movements from the original Boston Clock Company and the Eastman Clock Company in addition to Fairhaven MFG Co. and Vermont Clock Company movements. Although the Vermont Clock Company catalog of 1900 offered a wide variety of clocks, only about 3000 total items were produced during the period 1896 until production ceased about 1902. The current rarity of these high quality clocks suggests that production was low, in spite of the variety of clocks illustrated in their catalog of 1900. Fairhaven and Vermont companies produced marine, carriage, pendulum regulators, decorative wall clocks, and even massive street clocks. The Vermont Clock Company was Joseph H. Eastman's last effort in the production of his famous marine clock with a balance wheel escapement.
Vermont Clock Company, Chelsea Clock Company and the Ship's Bell Clock
Prior to 1900, if one wanted a ship's bell striking clock, the choices were few. Seth Thomas Clock Company made a reliable ship's bell clock, but it was basically a kitchen clock in a tin can or wooden case. Tiffany Makers of New York made, in limited numbers, an outstanding and high grade ships' bell clock, but its' use was limited to a few rich men of the New York Yacht Club. The U. S. Navy, although quite a fan of the ship's bell code got by on the cheap; they used a time only clock and had the quartermaster of the watch ring the bells manually each half hour.
Recent discovery of a ship bell patent assigned to John S. Negus in July of 1893 has pushed back the beginning of Joseph Eastman's involvement in making a ship's bell clock. Until this discovery it was the belief that Eastman did not become involved with ship's bell design until 1897 at the earliest. The Negus patent based on the Boston Clock Company tandem wind movement dated July 1893 clearly shows that Eastman and Negus worked on this project before the Boston Clock Company ceased operations in 1894. Negus patented ship's bell clocks are few and use a unique case design. Negus clocks seemed to have died with the demise of the Boston Clock Company in January of 1894. During the period 1898 to 1900, Joseph H. Eastman of Vermont Clock Company and Walter K. Menns of Chelsea Clock Company were in a race to produce the first mass produced, high quality quality ship's bell striking clock. Eastman's experience with the Negus project in 1893 gave him a headstart on Menns, but was a double edge sword. Not starting with a clean sheet of paper was perhaps his biggest problem. From the number of different designs known of Eastman's ship's bell clock produced at Vermont Clock Company, it is clear that Eastman was having trouble designing a reliable movement. There is no known documentation that Eastman or Menns knew of each other's efforts, but it would be remarkable if they didn't.
In 1898, George W. Adams designed a clock with a house strike movement which was produced by Chelsea Clock Company, patent number 613,183, dated October 25, 1898. This patent was the beginning and basic design of the world famous Chelsea ship's bell movement. Adams patent #613,183 was modified by Walter Menus to strike ships' bell code under patent number 650,979, dated June 5, 1900. This patent was assigned to Charles H. Pearson, owner of the Chelsea Clock Company. Although Menns ship's bell patent also covered a clock case for the ship's bell movement , in 1901, under patent number 689,899. Menns was granted a another patent specifically for the ship's bell clock case. This patent was also assigned to Pearson and the Chelsea Clock Company. The two patents give detailed information on Chelsea's efforts to produced their ship's bell clock. We shall return to discuss these patents shortly.
Patent documentation for Eastman's efforts to produce a ship's bell clock while at Vermont Clock Company remained undiscovered until 2003. Research in 2003 at the United States Patent Office has discovered patent number 664,886, applied for on Feb. 8, 1900 and issued to George D. McMillan of New York, N.Y. on Jan. 1, 1901. This patent by McMillan, for a ship's bell clock, documents that movements of the Boston Clock Company using the tandem wind mechanism were modified to strike ship's bell code. Until recently the only known evidence of Eastman's efforts to produce such a clock, prior to this 2003 discovery, was gleaned from study of the few known clocks and the Vermont Clock Company catalog of 1900. In 2005, research on a patent assigned to John S. Negus in July of 1893 for a ship's bell clock using the tandem wind movement of the Boston Clock Company, has lead to rethinking the history of Eastman's ship bell production. Clearly the Negus patent shows that Eastman was involved with a ship's bell clock while at Boston Clock Company prior to their demise in January of 1894. Although Eastman began his own company in 1894 as the Eastman Clock Company it was not until 1897 at the Vermont Clock Company that Eastman resumed production of a ship's bell clock.. His partner at Vermont appears to have changed from John Negus to George D. Mcmillen. One known engraved dial on a Vermont marine clock makes reference to George D. McMillen, New York and McMillen's Patent. Perhaps the patent document spelling of "McMillan" and this known engraved dial showing the spelling to be "McMillen" may have contributed to confusion. The relationship between McMillan of New York and Eastman of Vermont, although somewhat cloudy, was significant in the development of the Vermont ship's bell clock.
This brings us to the actual ship's bell clock itself, produced by the Vermont Clock Company. Shown in their 1900 catalog, and described as, "Our Ship's Bell Clock, a triumph of mechanical skill and ingenuity, but also a work of art", this clock is rarely seen today. Clocks of this style pose a very intriguing question for students of Joseph Eastman. The only known catalogs prior to those of the Chelsea Clock Company are the Boston Clock Company catalog of 1890 and the Vermont Clock Company catalog of 1900. Ship's Bell clocks, signed Boston Clock Company and Vermont Clock Company, are known to exist. However, these clocks are not mentioned in the Boston Clock Co. catalog; the only mention of them is on pages 16 and 17 of the Vermont Clock Co. catalog. Careful examination of these clocks shows two basic varieties of movements, the Boston single arbor tandem wind style and the Vermont double arbor side by side style. The Vermont catalog illustrates a Ship's Bell clock with a single winding arbor. No such clock is known to exist with a movement signed Vermont Clock Company. Of the less than 10 clocks of both styles known to exist, all vary significantly in movement design and each one appears to be unique. This brings up the intriguing question; "Were these clocks made during Eastman's stay in Fairhaven, Vermont from designs he made using leftover Boston Clock Company parts and newly made Vermont Clock Company parts?" Considering the dramatic presentation of the Ship's Bell clock in the Vermont catalog, it would have been remarkable, for this clock not to have been mentioned in the Boston catalog, had the clock existed in 1890. A date of manufacture, 1898-1901, the same time that the Chelsea Clock Company was designing their famous Ship's Bell clock, is more realistic. Vermont Clock Company records document these clocks and in particular the sale of one to retailer Oliver & Davis, New York. This clock is owned by the Chelsea Clock Museum. Patent document #664,886 and the known Vermont Ship's Bell clocks are the proof positive that these clocks were a collaboration between Eastman and McMillan and designed and produced circa 1900.
Now is the time to return to Walter Menns and his patents. After comparing the Chelsea and Vermont ship's bell clocks it is interesting to note the indirect references to these two competing designs in Menns' patent for the ship's bell clock and case. In patent 650,979 Menns states, "The preferred construction for this purpose now in use have two hammers, which are actuated, first one and then the other, in quick succession to sound a pair of strokes on the gong. Of course this duplication of the mechanism makes a needlessly complicated and cumbersome cost of manufacture and renders the mechanism more difficult to keep in order. I have remedied these objections; and to this end my invention consists in a striking mechanism having only one hammer, arranged to be actuated in groups of double strokes to sound the bell at each full hour; but at each half hour, although the hammer is actuated in double strokes, one blow will be interrupted before it sounds the bell, a consequent decrease in number of parts enabling cheaper and more expeditious production and liability to derangement of the parts when in use." In patent 689,899 for his ship's bell case, Menns states, "The bell and hammer of striking clocks in common constructions when within the case are capable of making sounds that are audible for very limited distances unless the cases be perforated to allow the sound egress and for this reason the bell is often put outside of the case and the stem of the actuating-hammer passes from within through a slot in the case of the clock. When a bell is used within such a case, but little effect is produced by sound conduction there through, as the point of attachment of such a bell has little or no vibration, so the bell only affects the enclosed air. Closed cases of wood or other material that may be similarly joined and which are liable to be checked or warped at the joints or elsewhere by changes of temperature or humidity or perforated by insects are not dust-proof, neither will such cases exclude noxious gases, nor the the atmosphere at sea, so in any event the delicate mechanism of the timepiece may be susceptible to injury. The demands of the sea trade in particular for a closed clock-casing have been only imperfectly met, and as many parts of the world frequented by shipping teem with innumerable varieties of insect life, from the intrusions of which nothing accessible is secure, and as it is necessary to oil a clock, the additional incentive of food is offered these voracious pest, which once inside the case may become entangled in the more delicate portions of the mechanism, and thereby, in addition to the lack of oil, injuriously affect the operation of the timepiece. To meet this matter, I make my case of two separable pieces, the body of the case being a short cylinder with one integral head, all made of metal or other like substance and having no opening except for the admittance of the movement, which is closed by a tightly-fitting bezel in which is sealed a glass face, so that the enclosed space may be secure from extraneous injurious influences. The gong is made of wire, so as to take but little space, and is fastened inside to the head of the body of the case, which may be advantageously formed with a projecting flange for rigid attachment to a partition, and to interrupt the vibrations. An essential idea is to hold some sound-conduction portion of the case in which the gong is attached in close contact with a sonorous support. This might be accomplished if only a projection from the case were to be held by some means in firm contact with the support. Upon a piece of wire is positioned the metal head of the hammer, the face of which consists of a piece of leather inserted in a cavity in the head. Leather is so soft in its usual condition that but little volume of sound can be obtained from a hammer so faced, so I burn or char the exposed face, which hardens the leather, and with a hammer so faced sufficient volume of sound is obtained and the timbre is of exceptionally desirable character."
It is known from discussions with Mr. Leonard Taube, Chelsea Master Clock Maker, that this same technique is still used today. Menns almost seems to be comparing his Chelsea ship's bell clock point by point directly with that of Eastman's Vermont ship's bell in his patent specification. Menns mentions the multi-arm movement of the Vermont compared to the single arm of the Chelsea design. The external bells vs. the internal gong of the two designs and Menns also mentions the hermetically seal of his design in comparison with the the slotted or holed case design of the Vermont. Eastman speaks to these faults in design through his existing Vermont ship's bell clocks, each of which appears to be an effort to improve the design.. His Boston double swinging arm and double rotating rod types, are replaced by the Boston single swinging arm type, which in turn is replaced by the Vermont single rotating rod type. With this last variant Eastman has reduced the complexity of his ship's bell clock considerably and is nearly on an equal footing with the Chelsea. The remaining flaw in the design is the unsealed case and the fact that he is tremendously out gunned by Charles H. Pearson's much stronger financial footing. It is ironic that Eastman's original escapement designs and factory were used to out maneuver him and produce the ship's bell design that has stood the test of time these last 100 years.
Little & Eastman and Derry Manufacturing Companies
After the failure of the Vermont Clock Company, Joseph Eastman and Henry C. Little joined, and began production of banjo and regulator clocks. The time period and location of this operation is not known with certainty, however, the best estimate is between 1903 and 1907 and all known movements are marked Boston. Clocks marked Little & Eastman Co., Boston, are exceedingly rare. The similarity of Little & Eastman clock movements and those of the Derry Manufacturing Company would indicate that the operations of these companies were closely related.
The Derry Manufacturing Company, started operation in Derry, New Hampshire circa 1908 and filed their last tax return in 1909. The machinery and remaining clock material of the Derry Manufacturing Company was sold to the Frank Herschede Company of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1912. It has long been thought that The Derry Manufacturing Company was the last organized clock manufacturing effort of Joseph Henry Eastman. Recent discoveries and research indicate that Joseph Eastman manufactured banjo clocks during the period 1915 to 1924 under the name Eastman Clock Company. Close examination of the movements and cases of several known banjos indicate without doubt that there was a second Eastman Clock Company circa 1915 to 1924 in addition to the original Eastman Clock Company circa 1894-1896.
Although Eastman was listed in the Boston city directory under Eastman Clock Company until 1924, the connection between these second series clocks and this listing was not recognized until 2004. Additionally, one known second series banjo clock is signed "Wallace Nutting, Framingham" on the dial, strong evidence of an Eastman Nutting connection. This particular clock is owned by the son of a long time Chelsea employee who died in 1945. A recently discovered photo of Joseph Eastman in the Little & Eastman Company shop has been uncovered by Andrew Dervan. Also discovered at the same time was a very detailed obituary of Joseph Eastman which is published on this Website. Joseph Henry Eastman died in 1931 at age 88. The clocks he left are a tribute to his horological skills and are his permanent legacy.