Ithaca Clock History
The Ithaca Calendar Clock Company was formed in 1865 to manufacture clocks with a calendar mechanism for which a patent had been granted on April 18, 1865 to Henry B. Horton and for an improvement patented on August 28, 1866. With practically no capital, they began operations in 1865.
Some of the earliest of the firm’s clocks were installed in iron front cases, patented by Horton in 1866, which were cast by a local foundry. Wooden cases in many styles were later manufactured by the company. The upper clock movements were manufactured in Connecticut, primarily by the firms of E. N. Welch and Laporte Hubbell prior to 1890. The calendar mechanism was manufactured at Ithaca and the clocks were assembled, tested and marketed from there. Henry Horton and Merritt Wood had patented a device for testing the calendar mechanism on June 11, 1867 and supposedly as many as 108 clocks could be tested in one day.
In 1866, the firm moved to another facility and a joint stock corporation was formed. The business grew so well that in 1874, they commenced a new three-story building which was occupied the following June. This factory was totally destroyed by fire on February 12, 1876 but a new factory was thereafter erected which exists to the present.
No doubt the firm’s greatest prosperity was from about 1875 to 1900. In 1898 the firm added a non-calendar floor standing clock to the line. Ithaca “grandfather” clocks with inexpensive spring or weight-driven Connecticut movements were manufactured for nearly 20 years.
Literally several dozen different standard calendar models were manufactured over a 50-year period, ranging in size from less than 16 to 72 inches tall in both mantel and hanging styles. Some of the models were redesigned during this 50-year period, so there are some model variations, which range from minor changes in dimensions to instances where the same models have a totally different appearance. As the cases were manufactured by the firm, a number of special order models were produced, some in floor standing cases.
By 1917, the firm was bankrupt and on March 14, 1917, the real estate and personal property of the firm were sold at public auction to settle its liabilities.