Joseph Ives Wagon-Spring Shelf Clock

Joseph Ives—a Bristol, Connecticut clockmaker notable for his inventiveness but lack of business success—first introduced wagon-spring clocks in the 1820s. This example dates from about 1825, when he was working in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ives’ wagon-spring clocks had conventional brass movements, except for one feature: the strings that ordinarily would have held the weights were connected, through intermediary pulleys, to the free ends of what looked like a leafed wagon-spring on the bottom of the case.
Ives resorted to his wagon spring because coiled steel springs—common on European clocks—were not produced in the United States until the middle of the nineteenth century and the introduction of the Bessemer process for mass-producing steel.
Kenneth Roberts, The Contributions of Joseph Ives to Connecticut Clock Technology 1810-1862 (Bristol, Conn.: American Clock and Watch Museum, 1970).
Currently not on view
Object Name
joseph ives wagon spring clock
date made
Ives, Joseph
overall: 28 3/4 in x 15 5/8 in x 5 in; 73.025 cm x 39.7002 cm x 12.7 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
James Arthur Collection, New York University

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