Review by HENRY B. FRIED
Studying this new volume, one is deeply impressed that a company, whose roots and evolutionary existence covered the better part of the 19th and 20th centuries, was able to produce such a great variety of clocks. This is the first book to combine almost all Welch catalogs and modern photographs of their products into one comprehensive guide.
Collected intensely over a four year period, this volume contains contributions of forty-four authorities whose names appear as the "who's who" of American clock experts.
Foremost among these are Owen and Jo Burt. Owen Burt, a past president of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, is a nationally acknowledged authority on New England clocks and their makers. Mr. Burt is a major contributor, who seeing this ready to print volume said, "Almost everything you want to know about Welch is in here and this book will be a bible for Welch collectors for years to come. "
Chris Bailey, the respected author of books on American clocks and the Curator of the American Clock and Watch Museum at Bristol, Conn. for a number of years has contributed a 28 page history of the Welch Company. This includes the Welch predecessors and their subsidiaries and successors. In detail, this covers the beginning with J. C. Brown in the early 19th century; then the Forestville Mfg. Co. followed by W. L. Gilbert; then the long productive years of E. N. Welch and its later evolution as the Sessions Clock Company and finally the United Metal Goods Mfg. Company ending in the last generation of this century.
This scholarly approach has resulted in an encyclopedic work which includes not only the illustrations from original catalogs and a date of their appearance, but includes actual photographs. Furthermore, the movement for each clock is shown in sharp detail. When a movement has some unusual detail, such as an escapement, perpetual calendar device, alarm, clickage, stopwork or power source, that detail, too, is included in the augmented picturization. If more than one movement was used in a model, that too is included and noted.
Mr. Welch was a known admirer of the opera and concert stage. The names he bestowed on a great variety of his clocks bear the names of the great musical personalities of his period. Adelina Patti, probably the most famous, lent her name to a whole series of clocks produced by his Company.
Included in this 300plus page volume is an interesting section on Gale Calendar Clocks provided
by Terry H. Wesner of Canton, Michigan that will leave the reader in awe. Pendulums, beat scales, patent documents and rare, special Welch clocks which enrich its contents with a great variety of clock cases, papers and door glasses can also be found here.
Robert E. Reichel, FNAWCC has contributed short biographies of Adelina Patti, Solomon Crosby Spring, Benjamin Lewis and Daniel Gale, the latter an inventor of perpetual calendar devices and other clock mechanisms. All are among the noted individuals associated with the Welch product.
Another contributor of note is Mr. Larry Rappaport of Great Neck, NY whose vast collection of Welch clocks, which appears in this book is the result of a 20 year intensive hunt. He told me, "As a collector of American clocks, my favorite references have been the series of books on American Clocks by Tran Duy Ly. I must add this new book on Welch which has detail and facts never shown before. I'll probably wear this one out soon with my constant use."
The early collector of fifty years ago or more had an advantage of availability at enviable prices. Yet, few collectors had any reasonable knowledge of what they were buying. Today's collectors, however have the advantage of books such as these to guide and advise them. Tran Duy Ly, publisher and editor heading the teams resulting in such volumes, is to be commended for setting such high standards which result in a book within which it is easy to find a clock, its current value, date of initial production, descriptive details, and history.