Tag Archives: grandparents

Elegant Time

Good morning Everyone!

Every family has treasured objects, things that have been passed down from older family members to younger family members to cherish and remember them by.  Regardless of their value to the outside world, within the family, these items are precious and irreplaceable.

In my family, two of our special items are clocks – but not just any kind of clock.  We have the privilege of owning two Seth Thomas mantel clocks, each one inherited from our grandparents.

Seth Thomas Mantel Clock

Our Two Seth Thomas Clocks

For many years, Seth Thomas was one of the premier clock makers in the United States.  Known for their above average quality, bronze clock works and elegant styling, Seth Thomas clocks were very popular.  While their flagship product was no doubt their grandfather clocks, their mantel clocks were very popular too.

Seth Thomas Mantel Clock

“My” Clock

“My” clock came from my grandfather.  One of Grandpa’s hobbies was repairing old clocks, and this is just one of many he repaired.  According to what I have read, this clock is an “adamantine” mantel clock.  The “adamantine” term refers to its black finish.  With its gold pillars, lion faced handles on the end, and black marbled paint finish, it is quite elegant.

Seth Thomas Mantle Clock

Close-Up of the Marble Finish


Elegant Mantel Clock

“Mark’s” Clock

“Mark’s” clock also came from his grandparents.  Its elegance flows from simplicity of design rather than the ornate finish of the adamantine clock.  From the simple curved design to the single narrow contrasting strip of wood immediately above the base to the clear numbers on the clock face, everything on this mantel clock stands for clean lines, the elegance of minimal styling and function.

Both clocks have the “Seth Thomas” name printed on their clock face.

Seth Thomas Clock

Mark’s Clock – Seth Thomas label


Seth Thomas Adamantine Clock label

My Clock’s Seth Thomas Label

The two faces of each clock differ also.

Seth Thomas Adamantine Clock Face

My Clock’s Face


Seth Thomas Mantel Clock Face

Mark’s Clock’s Face

Our two clocks are so intact that the original instructions on the back of each clock can still be seen.  I had a hard time taking a clear picture of the label on the back of my clock, but I promise it is still legible.

Seth Thomas Clock Instructions

Instructions for My Clock

I had better luck when I tried to take separate pictures of the emblems on each side of the instructions.

Seth Thomas Label

My Clock’s Left Emblem

Seth Thomas Symbol

My Clock’s Right Hand Emblem

For whatever reason, it was much easier to get a picture of the instructions on Mark’s clock.

Seth Thomas Mantel Clock

Mark’s Clock’s Instructions

Mark’s clock even tells us approximately when it was purchased by means of the warranty notice on the back.

Seth Thomas Mantel Clock Warranty

Back Label on Mark’s Clock

Seth Thomas was a real person who started making clocks with wooden works in 1813.  In 1842, Seth Thomas Clock Company introduced its first model with bronze clock works instead of wood, and by 1845 all of the wooden works models of clocks had been phased out.  Our clocks have metal works, which I assume are bronze.

Seth Thomas Bronze Clock Works Adamantine

My Clock’s Works


Seth Thomas Mantel Clock Works

Mark’s Clock’s Works


Seth Thomas clocks were manufactured continuously (with a couple of ownership changes) until 2009, when the company that owned the Seth Thomas clock brand at the time went into receivership.  My extensive internet research (defined as three google searches instead of just one) makes it difficult to tell if Seth Thomas clocks are still being made today.   Some sources say yes, but by a different manufacturer; others simply stop their history with the 2009 receivership; and others state unequivocally that the clocks are not made anymore.

Whether Seth Thomas clocks are made today, Mark and I treasure the two Seth Thomas clocks we own, not only as nostalgic reminders of simpler eras but even more for the people they remind us of.

Have a great day everyone!



My grandfather died yesterday.  I tell you this not to solicit condolences but so I can tell you a little about him.  Sometime later I will do a more comprehensive post, but here are some things you  may be interested to know.

He was 92 years old, and lived independently with just a little bit of assistance up until the very end.

He was born in 1919/1920 in Pasco, Washington.  No one who knew him from the time he was 18 forward would ever have guessed that he was born there, since he spent the rest of his life in the small town in Illinois where he met my grandmother, courted her, married her and raised their son, my father.  In the same town, he and Grandma created a paradise during the summer time for their three grandchildren when we came to visit, and spoiled us rotten.

Grandpa took three small girls under the age of 11 (1p, 8 and 6) fishing, and not only lived to tell the tale, but seemed to enjoy it.

At the age of six, Grandpa’s father decided the family had to return to Illinois from Washington to take care of his parents , so around 1925/1926, Great-Granpda, Great-Grandma, Grandpa’s two older sisters and Grandpa traveled by car from Pasco, Washington to Illinois.  Traveling by car those days was very different from today, and I can’t wait to write about it more in detail sometime.

There are a large group of cousins in Illinois who also think of Grandpa (and Grandma) as extra grandparents, too.  For years after Grandma and Grandpa retired, they took care of these cousins when school was out and the cousins’ parents had to work, or when the cousins weren’t feeling well and the parents had to work, and many times just because Grandma and Grandpa wanted the chance to have them over and watch them play.

Grandma and Grandpa were very excited when we adopted Kayla.  They both loved her dearly and did everything they could to let her know that.  Kayla loved them , too.

The computer age began in force when Grandpa was in his 70’s.  He got a computer and dived right in, becoming proficient with Facebook, e-mail, and scanning photographs and sending e-mails about them to all of his family scattered across the country.

With his computer, he did some work on genealogy, too, continuing a work his mother had started, and sharing the results with us, another story I will share with you one day.

He and Grandma had two dogs that I can remember.  They had Clyde, who was originally our dog, but who we had to give away when I was in 1st or 2nd grade to them because of a transfer to a place with base housing that didn’t take dogs.  Clyde was an all black dachsund beagle mix.  Clyde and Granpda were buddies.  Grandpa loved to see Clyde chase rabbits and possums, and anything else Clyde decided to go after.

Grandma and Grandpa got Pepper much later in life, after they retired.  Pepper was a miniature poodle, and although I don’t believe in reincarnation, if I had to come back as a dog, Pepper certainly would qualify as a great dog to have come back as.  Pepper got long walks with Grandpa every day, got to ride in the car whenever they went out of town to go shopping in the nearest city, usually about 45 minutes away at least, and had a special place on the couch, a bed and the armchair where she could sleep during the day as she chose.

I love him, and I will miss him.  Most importantly, I will see him and Grandma again.

Have a great day everyone!


The Magic of the Little White House

Hi Everyone! 

There was an article on the Atlantic web site (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/04/worlds-last-typewriter-factory-closed/37013/ ) yesterday stating that the last typewriter manufacturing factory in the world is closing its doors.  While there is a dispute as to whether that is true, see http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/26/worlds-typewriter-factory-shutting-doors/, all sources seem to be in agreement that the typewriter is reaching the end of its days. 

 When I think of a manual typewriter, the typewriter that comes to mind is the typewriter that has been used by four generations in my family, starting with my Great-Grandmother, and ending so far with Kayla. 

The typewriter used to sit in that most magical of places to a child growing up, the Little White House.  The Little White House was a small two bedroom, one bath house behind my grandparents’ house on their land.  When I was very small, my grandparents used it as a place for my great-grandmother to live independently, but near enough to them that they could help her. 

1969, Grandma and Grandpa's House


1969, The Little White House, from the Back Patio of the main house

By the time I was old enough to stay with  my sisters at my grandparents for a couple of weeks at a time, my great-grandmother had died, and the Little White House served as Grandpa’s shop and storage room.  Grandpa liked to fix up clocks, so the second (middle) room of the house had an assortment of clocks hanging on the wall, along with the tools needed to fix them.   Each of us, his grandchildren, have at least one clock that he fixed in our house.  Mine is a Seth Thomas clock, manufactured in the United States under a patent issued in 1890.  (I took the face glass out to avoid extra glare in the picture, but it is still intact.)  

In the front room, there was a solid desk, probably oak or maple, and the typewriter sat there.  Grandpa would use that typewriter to write letters.  One of our favorite things to do while we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s was to go into the Little White House and bang on the typewriter to our heart’s content.

There were many other objects of interest in the house; I remember an old bed, and trunks, cabinets and cupboards that were full of fascinating objects, including old family photographs that introduced me to a whole generation of my family that had passed on long before I was born.  The desk contained Great-Grandma’s efforts to trace the history of the family, and at the time I saw it she had traced it back to the Revolutionary War. 

This was the last page of her research, and it was typed using the same typewriter that Kayla is using in the picture above.   The handwriting is Great-Grandma’s also.

This was Great-Grandma shortly before she moved into the Little White House.

One of the pictures we found in the Little White House was the following picture, which shows my Grandfather’s family when he was around 10 or 11.

On the left side, my grandfather is in front, with Great Grandma standing behind him, and Great Grandpa further behind her.  This picture was taken somewhere around 1926 or 1927.  Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it?

Grandma and Grandpa moved into a smaller house in the late ’80’s, but sold the old house to another couple and the Little White House is still standing.  I’m glad it’s still there, but  I don’t need to go into it again; I prefer to remember it the way it was when I was a child, fascinating, mysterious and full of treasures.

Do you have any such secret places from your childhood, magical places that were filled with thrills and adventures every time you walked in?  If so, please share your story in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day everyone!