179.           $200

Welch, Spring & Co. miniature ripple-front steeple, ca. 1868-1884. Miniature ripple-front steeples were made exclusively by J.C. Brown in the 1840s and 185os, but this miniature (15 inches tall) has a Welch, Spring & Co. label inside which is almost certainly wrong; even if you allow for the purchase of the J.C. Brown inventory by Elisha Welch in 1855 when Brown went bankrupt, leftover stock would more likely bear a Welch label, not a Welch, Spring & Co. label.  Indeed, close inspection of the label in this clock suggests that it is a reproduction and not original.  Moreover, the movement does not appear to be a J.C. Brown movement; it is a 30-hour, time-only movement and is unsigned.  I have not seen this movement in any other miniature ripple-front, and I cannot find a sale for a miniature ripple-front steeple by anyone other than J.C. Brown, including E.N. Welch and Welch, Spring & Co.  The case has a very old, dull finish and would benefit from some attention.  Both glasses are period, with a reasonably well-preserved tablet.  The slightly contoured dial holds old paint, with some chips and touch-up.  The hands are period.  The tiny movement will run but is out of plumb; it appears to be original to this case.  There are remnants of a label on the back of the clock, in addition to the questionable label inside.  Is this a ripple-front reproduction?  Irvin Rosen rediscovered a method for making ripple trim in the 1970s and won an award in the 1995 NAWCC crafts contest for his reproduction of a J.C. Brown ripple-front steeple.  Rosen provided ripple trim to woodcrafters everywhere in 80s and 90s; perhaps this clock was made using his ripple trim.  $200-$500.

I thank a collector who asked to remain anonymous for suggesting that this might be a latter-day reproduction, and my good friend Philip Morris for cluing me in to Irvin Rosen and the several articles in the NAWCC Bulletin that discuss his work, linked above. 


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Antique American Clocks                     January 2023

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