The Ansonia Clock Company of Park Slope, Brooklyn, was the largest clock factory in the world. The timepieces manufactured here between 1880 and 1929 sent Brooklyn’s glory across the planet. Most of the factory, located between 7th and 8th Avenues and 12th and 13th Streets survives today as Ansonia Court.
Ansonia has its roots in the 1840’s when the firm of Terry & Andrews formed in the great clockmaking town of Bristol, CT. In 1850 Anson G. Phelps of New York joined Terry & Andrews to form the Ansonia Clock Company. Their new location, Ansonia, CT was a village in the town of Derby, which Anson renamed for himself. The firm survived there, changing hands and names several times, until 1877 when Henry J. Davies of Brooklyn joined the company. Davies became General Manager and was instrumental in moving Ansonia to Brooklyn. The move was completed by 1883 .
At its height in 1914 Ansonia had sales offices in New York, Chicago, and London with agents in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and India. They exported large quantities of clocks to these and 18 other countries. 450 different models were offered. The Brooklyn Company was famous for their iron cased clocks, often with white metal figurines, clocks with imported china cases and crystal regulators.
Rumors of corporate scandal, World War I and changing public tastes took their toll on Ansonia and production ceased in 1929. Today Ansonia’s fine clocks are sought by collectors the world over. They are prized by Brooklynites as valuable symbols of their Borough’s rich history.
This text includes excerpts from Chris H. Bailey’s history in Tran Du Ly’s American Clocks volume 1.
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