E. INGRAHAM & COMPANY
Taken from a history originally written and copyrighted by Chris H. Bailey
E. Ingraham & Company was formed in 1860, succeeding several earlier clock-manufacturing firms in which casemaker Elias Ingraham had been involved, notably Brewster & Ingrahams (1843‑1852), E. & A. Ingrahams (1852‑1856) and Elias Ingraham & Company (1857‑1860). The firm originally rented, and later purchased, a shop on Birge's Pond in Bristol, which had been used by a number of clockmaking firms since 1820.
Having originally purchased their movements from various sources, in 1865 the firm decided to establish their own movement making facility. A hardware shop was moved onto a piece of land owned by the firm and veteran clockmaker Anson L. Atwood set up and managed the movement department for Ingraham for some years.
Elias Ingraham (1805‑1885) designed a variety of popular cases and case features for the firm, receiving 17 patents between 1857 and 1873. Many of his cases utilized an unusual figure "8" door design for which he had received a patent in 1857. Rosewood veneered case models with names such as "Doric", "Venetian", and "Ionic" were often made in several sizes and held their popularity with the public for many years.
Elias Ingraham's son Edward Ingraham (1830‑1892) succeeded his father as head of the business in 1885. Edward had also received an important patent in 1884 for a method of applying black enamel paint (Japan) to wooden clock cases. Using this method to produce cheaper imitations of French marble mantel clocks was a great success. Though the process was soon imitated by most other clock manufacturers, the Ingraham firm became a leading maker of "black mantel" clocks, introducing 221 models plus special order styles in the following three decades.
In 1887, the firm had its first great expansion with the erection of a 300-foot long, 4 story case shop. A new office building and movement shop was built between 1902 and 1904. In 1913, they began to manufacture a non‑jeweled pocket watch and added wrist watch models to the line in 1932, producing more than 65 million pockets watches and 15 million wrist watches by the time this production ceased in the mid‑ 1960's.
Ingraham's clock and watchmaking ceased totally during World War II and pendulum clock production did not resume after the war. After the war, electric clocks, added to the line about 1930, were then a major part of their product line as were watches, alarm clocks, fuses and timers (the latter two were established during war‑time production).
In 1964, a modern and much smaller factory was constructed in the southern part of Bristol and the old complex was abandoned and later demolished. Little if any clock production was done at the new factory, as it was almost totally devoted to manufacture of more profitable fuses. The firm was sold to McGraw‑Edison, a conglomerate, in 1967 and the Bristol factory presently produces Bussman fuses. Production of electric clocks with the Ingraham trademark continues at a plant, which the firm built at Laurinburg, North Carolina in 1959.
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