Cuba

The clock had hung on my FIL’s wall for the last 15 years, since his mother (Marie) passed away at the age of 93.

According to the note in the clock, in my FIL’s handwriting, the clock was a wedding present to Marie and Anton in 1924. It was made by the New Haven Clock Company, in Connecticut.

It’s a parlor wall clock, and the model is called Cuba. There seem to be 2 varieties of this model type, one of which has a calendar and day of the week bit, and ours, which does not. I do not know why, but this clock is clearly a she. I didn’t know that clocks have gender, but this one is a woman.

We gingerly asked my BIL and SIL about the clock, inquiring if they wanted it. We were most relived when they looked horrified (you could see the visible recoil – this old clock was going to not fit into their IKEA modern house.) We are happy to have her, and delighted to see her hanging on the wall. I walk by her and pat her on the side and tell her how pleased I am.

She’s not working right now, and I’m not sure why, and I have no idea how one winds her, and I think I will let the professionals show me. We are taking her into the Clock Doctor on Saturday, first thing. (We have to do it first thing because the Clock Doctor is off to see a few ailing grandfather’s in the afternoon)

He assures us it’s quite a lovely clock and well worth saving. We’ll know more on Saturday, but I expect it will be a bit pricey to get her fixed, but it seems to me that this is money well spent.  I can’t wait to see her polished and working. I can’t wait to learn how to wind her. I am thrilled at listening to her chime the hours.

I’m looking forward to talking to the clock doctor, but there are so many questions. Who bought Marie and Anton the clock? Did they like it? Where did it hang? How much did the purchaser pay for it?

(Which is a plug. If you have a family heirloom, go a step further than Otto and write a bit more down about it, and attach it to the item.

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18 Responses to Cuba

  1. Brown Owl says:

    I am so glad you were able to keep the old clock.

    I inherited my grandfather’s mantel clock from Mom and Dad. Dad kept it running for the last 50 years, and I would love to know it is still chiming the hours when I am gone.

  2. loribeth says:

    What a great idea, Mrs. Spit. I have several things in my kitchen that belonged to my grandmother, including a breadboard with a Swedish phrase carved on it. My grandmother had written in pencil on back (& my mother confirmed) that my mother bought it for her when she went to the Minnesota State Fair in 1958 with her then-boyfriend.

  3. Heidi says:

    My pretend mom always writes her name and the date on anything she gives you, decor wise. It has been fun packing up our house and seeing all of the dates and reasons for gifts.

    She needs a name, no?

  4. Jamie says:

    I love the clock! My parents collected antique clocks and now I have several. I took my favorite in to be repaired last summer – the wheels were rusted and it just needed a good clean. I think it cost me around $250 but it has been running like a charm ever since (I think he knows I’m talking about him – he’s chiming right now).

    It is a great idea to pin little notes like that to heirlooms. I would like to know that fifty years from now someone is reading my note and cherishing the item I pinned it to.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I love old stuff like this.

  6. a says:

    I have the mantel clock from my grandparents’ house. Those (generally just a round face with a hump-like wooden surround – fairly standard) are generally gender-free. I agree that your clock is a she. There are both grandfather and grandmother clocks, so I concur that most clocks have a gender. We currently have about 5 old clocks laying around our house, so I can at least offer you this information. You see the holes on the lower right and left sides of the clock face? That’s generally where you put the key to wind the clock and power the chimes. There may be a smaller hole on the top, which will speed up or slow down the gears to try to make the timekeeping more accurate. But, you should definitely have a professional look at it, to clean the insides. Also, probably take the pendulum out for transport. And never over wind!

    Beautiful piece of history…

  7. Of course it’s a She, she reminds me of a “Grandmother clock”. Lovely. Thanks for the reminder, I need to update the provenance of some of our collections w/my mom.

  8. I like the clock! Really special that you can be a part of its history…

  9. Paige says:

    Glad that nobody else was interested in the old gal, though it boggles me that they weren’t. I absolutely adore old clocks like this and I’m relieved that ‘she’ found a great home where she’ll be loved and cherished! :o)

  10. tash says:

    This is awesome. We have the old bell chime that hung in the original kitchen with the initials of the owners of the house so the help could see who was ringing for them. Sadly, it doesn’t work anymore because I’ve held my finger on it for HOURS.

    That’s my house not my family, but thankfully my grandmother thought to put notes on a few things including a framed, stitched sampler done by my great great grandmother when she was a child. It’s in my kitchen too. I love it.

  11. debby says:

    That is a great clock. Otto gave you a good starting place for additional information on it.

    http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.com/clockdetail.php?id=27080&linkname=New Haven Clock Found Searching Model Names

  12. Carmen says:

    What a great heirloom and how wonderful you are getting “her” fixed – lol. What’s her name?

  13. Sharon says:

    We have two antique mantel clocks, one is a Seth Thomas and one is an Ansonia. We had them back and forth to the clockmaker over the course of three years because he would swear they were working and we’d get them home and something would not be quite right. This past winter, finally, we had both of them running and chiming correctly…except that on one the hands did not match the chimes. My husband took a closer look, thought for a bit, and then realized that the hands had been put on backwards. A quick switcheroo and things have been fine since. He winds them on Sundays and periodically needs to make a small adjustment, with the other end of the key in one of the small openings on the front of the clock, to keep them keeping good time. Good luck with your clockmaker. He will probably be able to tell you more about the beauty you have inherited.

  14. Stacey says:

    Oh, I love it. She is beautiful! What a treasure to now have and enjoy in your home. I love old things and I love getting lost in their stories. Hope you can find out some more about it.

  15. Dawn from the Frozen North says:

    It is funny to see what people gravitate to when there is an estate to divide up. When my grandfather passed away, all the 13 grandchildren could chose an item. We chose in order of age: the oldest having the most seniority. I was 19 and the second oldest grandchild. I was relieved when my eldest cousin chose the washing machine. I was free to pick the maple cabinet that sat beside my grandmother’s chair. It sits in my living room and when my cousins come to visit, they stop and stroke the top. The next cousin decided that the vacuum cleaner would be a good keepsake.(???) My sister chose a depression era ladies dressing table. She had it refinished and has since found coordinating pieces at antique stores for her collection.

    Oh, and my mom, she chose a clock from her father’s estate. A large Dutch Zaanse clock that runs beautifully after all these years.

  16. Kristin says:

    What a cool clock. I agree with Heidi. She definitely needs a name.

  17. OM Gosh, I am so so so jealous, in a completely happy for you and wish I had something like that way. How wonderful to have something that is so beautiful and meaningful. And Clock doctors still exist? Very cool.

  18. Mike O'Brien says:

    Delighted to see your clock. Just bought its twin in Jamestown, California (old gold rush country). My Cuba has been stripped and cleaned up but not revarnished, so need to decide whether to do that. I’m in Shelton, Washington, a couple of hundred miles from Vancouver.

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