New Haven Information

Company Name: 

New Haven

Company Summary

Chauncey Jerome (1793–1868) was an important figure in early American clock manufacturing. In 1816 he worked for Eli Terry and made the first pillar and scroll cases (to house wooden movements). In 1821 Jerome moved to Bristol, CT and started his own clockmaking business. From that year until his bankruptcy in 1856, he operated under a series of business names including Jeromes & Darrow; C. & N. Jerome; Jeromes, Gilbert Grant & Co.; Chauncey Jerome; and Jerome Manufacturing Co. Jerome’s nephew, Hiram Camp (1811–1868), went to work for Jerome in 1829, and by 1844 had been promoted to superintendent of the movement shop.

In the 1830’s wooden movement clocks were still being made, cased in bronze looking glass cases and other related styles. Also in the 1830’s, 8 day brass movements were introduced, and were housed in handsome empire style cases. All movements made at this time were weight driven, as affordable mainsprings did not become until available just before 1850.

In 1837 a severe financial recession hit our country, money became scarce, and many people could not pay their bills. This caused a near collapse of the wooden clock movement industry, and prices fell drastically. In the fall of 1837, Jerome had an idea that revitalized the clock industry. He reasoned that a 30 hour brass movement could be made cheaper than the wooden movement, and that the case, dial, hands, etc. would need little change. His brother, Noble (1800–1861) designed the movement, and patented it in 1839. It became one of the most popular movements ever made and was usually housed in an O.G. or a half-column front case from the 1840’s on. Seth Thomas copied this movement and produced it until 1913!

About 1847 Camp began an independent operation to supply clocks to Jerome, and in 1851 he built a factory to manufacture movements for Jerome. In 1853 the New Haven Clock Company was incorporated, and Camp was chosen president and remained in that office until 1891. In 1856 the Jerome Manufacturing Co. declared bankruptcy, and the New Haven Clock Co. purchased the bankrupt firm.

The name Jerome & Company is used in two ways. In 1855 a firm by that name was formed to market American clocks in England. The trademark Jerome & Co. was used on some New Haven clocks from about 1880–1900.

References: The above summary was adapted from Chris H. Bailey’s writings in American Clock & Watch Museum reprints of American clock catalogs, and in History, Identification & Price Guides by Tran Duy Ly. Mr. Bailey is the horologist at the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, CT and has done a superb job of compiling information about many American clock companies. His writings are highly recommended to anyone who wants more detail than has been given here.