10" Red Brass Time Only Chelsea Clock, 1901

10" Red Brass Time Only Chelsea Clock, 1901

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Bezel: Hinge
Movement: Mechanical
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The dial of this rare clock, which was sand casted from red brass, retains much of its original finish. Featuring Roman numerals and spade hands, the dial is engraved with scroll work and a banner reading "Fraser & Chalmers". The practice of customized dial engravings was common in the early 1900's when manufacturers of steam engine instruments provided products to their most valued customers. The clock is designed with a key locking bezel, a feature originally offered to provide secure closure of the bezel (door) in the roughest of weather as well as tamper proof access to the ship’s accuracy of assigned “watches.” The rear plate is stamped #4385 along with “Chelsea Clock Co.” See video.

Originally ordered by American Steam Gauge, this rare seven jeweled Model E movement with original blued steel moon hands was shipped from our factory on April 24, 1901.

Item: VR104


  • h3. Features Two year warranty Dimensions: 12 3/8" Diameter, 3 1/8" Depth Weight: 14.7 lbs

The Chelsea Ship's Bell, and many other Chelsea's clocks and Barometers, are crafted from rugged forged brass cases which are then hand polished and lacquered to last generations.


Step 1: Forging

Chelsea clocks and barometers are made of heavy solid brass forgings designed to last for generations. Chelsea uses more brass than any other clock manufacturer in the world. The 6" Ships Bell Clock for example, contains up to seven pounds of solid brass, most of which is the casing, forged (not cast) from a single chunk of metal to provide maximum protection from rust and corrosion. The high quality and volume of brass also accounts for the distinctive bell tone of the Ship's Bell Strike. Select products are also offered in Nickel, where our solid brass forgings are expertly plated for a modern metallic finish.

Step 2: Forged Case is Shaped

A computerized lathe is used to ensure the clock cases are modified to the correct size and shape. The shaping process is essentially the same whether a case is going to be used for a Ship's Bell or for any other clock or barometer model

Step 3: Buffing

The rough machined cases are then sent to the buffing room, where they undergo three separate polishing and buffing steps to bring out their mirror like finish. The hand administered buffing technique is a lengthy process requiring tremendous skill and just the right amount of pressure to bring out its full luster, as well as avoid markings or too dull a finish.

Step 4: Case Is Hand Lacquered

Next the case is sent to the lacquering room, where a clear finish is applied by hand to further protect the case against corrosion. With normal care and cleaning, the case's tarnish resistant and illustrious appearance will last for generations. Once polished and lacquered, each case is machined and drilled to accept a variety of different clock and barometer models.

Step 5: Hand Silvered Dial

The dial starts as a brass piece, which is then spun on a potter's-type wheel, where a special compound is administered by hand to ultimately create a beautifully silvered dial that will last for generations. The dial's numerals are deeply etched (not painted) and lacquered for added durability and aesthetics. Each dial must undergo rigorous inspection before passing our quality control standards.

Step 6: Custom Made Parts

In addition to the dial and case, there are hundreds of handcrafted parts that go into a Chelsea. Many of the methods used to craft these parts remain unchanged over the years since the company's founding in 1897. Custom machinery was especially designed and built by the company to manufacture our own precision parts, from bushings to wheels. For better accuracy, for instance, Chelsea cuts rather than stamps all of its gears. A Ships Bell is a unique American clock in that its parts are manufactured on-site, in Chelsea MA.

Step 7: Hand Assembly

The movement's 364 parts, including gold plated brass gears, hardened steel pinions, and jeweled bearings are hand assembled. Mainsprings are hand wound, and the finished pieces are balanced and calibrated. In total the manufacturing and assembly of a Ships Bell requires hundreds of hand operations over a period of 6 weeks.

Step 8: Testing

Our master clock makers take extra care to ensure each instrument, both clocks and barometers, function perfectly. Each movement is inspected and accuracy-tested for a full seven days. Once it is put into the case, the whole unit is again tested for an additional seven days.

Step 9: Personalization

Chelsea offers world class personalization services, allowing for our customers to order a uniquely customized gift to celebrate important milestones and achievements. Personalization options include engraving directly on the case or screen printing logos directly on the clock dial. Here our engraving machine is shown inscribing a message on a brass plate.

Step 10: Serialization

Each Ships Bell is individually stamped with a serial number which is registered in Chelsea Clock log books before being shipped from the factory, a practice which dates back to 1897. Each entry identifies the store or customer it was first sold to, the date it was sold, and what, if any service work was performed. So, if a Chelsea comes back for service, we know its history and can guarantee any repair work.

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