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History of the manufacturer  

Ingraham Co.; Bristol, CT

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Name: Ingraham Co.; Bristol, CT    (USA)  
Abbreviation: ingraham
Products: Others
Summary:

Ingraham & Company; Bristol, Connecticut. See former names below.

History:

The very beginning

Written by Mackey's Antiques % Clock repair, Parkersburg WV 26101: "ELIAS INGRAHAM FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY WAS A NATIVE OF MARLBOROUGH CONNECTICUT' AND CAME TO BRISTOL IN MAY OF 1828 TO WORK FOR GEORGE MITCHELL A LEADING MERCHANT IN THE TOWN. INGRAHAM HAD SERVED A FIVE YEAR APPRENTICES HIP AS A CABINETMAKER AND WHILE WORKING IN THE CABINET MAKING SHOP OF DANIEL DEWEY OF HARTFORD' HAD BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH SOLOMON HINMAN AN AGENT FPR GEORGE MITCHELL. MITCHELL WAS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO MAKE A NEW STYLE OF CLOCK CASE WORTHY OF COMPETING WITH THE STENCILED COLUMN CASE THAT HAD BEEN INTRODUCED BY CHAUNCEY JEROME. MITCHEL ASK INGRAHAM TO COME TO BRISTOL AND THE BRISTOL HERALD OF JUNE 26 1890 RECOUNTED SOME OF THE EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED. ELIAS INGRAHAM WORKED FOR GEORGE MITCHELL AT CASE MAKING A LITTLE MORE THEN TWO YEARS, AND DURING THE FIRST YEAR 1928 HE INVENTED WHAT WAS CALLED THE CARVED CASE WITH CARVED MAHOGANY COLUMNS AND CARVED LION PAW FEET AND CORNER BLOCKS OVER THE COLUMNS IN WHICH THERE WAS A TURNED ROSETTE, A FRET URN ON EACH BLOCK AND BASKET OF FRUIT CARVED BETWEEN THE BLOCKS. ON SOME OF THESE CASES WERE BRONZE COLUMNS AND TIPS INSTEAD OF CARVINGS. INGRAHAM MADE THIS STYLE OF CASE EXCEPT FOR THE CARVINGS, FOR OVER TWO YEARS FOR MITCHELL TURNING OUT SOME EIGHT OR NINE HUNDRED THE SECOND YEAR DOING THE WORK MOSTLY HIMSELF. IN OCT 1830 ELIAS INGRAHAM WENT TO WORK FOR CHAUNCEY JEROME AND LAWSON C. IVES WHO HAD BEGUN TO MANUFACTURE THE EIGHT DAY BRASS CLOCK INVENTED BY JOSEPH IVES. ON OCT 20 INGRAHAM CHARGED THE FIRM $5.62 TO FORM PATTERN AND MAKING NEW FASHIONED CASES. THIS PARTICULAR CASE COMMONLY CALLED TRIPLE DECKER' WAS LONG EMPIRE STYLE CASE WITH THREE SECTIONS, WHICH OFTEN HAD CARVED COLUMNS AND ANIMAL PAW FEET. IN THE FOLLOWING THREE YEARS , INGRAHAM MADE ALMOST SIX THOUSAND CASES FOR THE FIRM OF C. & L. C. IVES. INGRAHAM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH WILLIAM G BARTHOLOMEW PURCHASED A SMALL PIECE OF LAND FROM IRA IVES IN NOVEMBER OF 1831 AND BUILT A CABINET MAKING SHOP SPECIFICALLY FOR MAKING CLOCK CASES. IN SEPTEMBER OF 1832 HE SOLD HIS INTEREST IN THE SHOP TO JONATHAN CLARK BROWN. IN SEPTEMBER OF 1835 INGRAHAM PURCHASED ANOTHER SHOP, HERE HE MANUFACTURED CHAIRS, MIRORS AND CLOCK CASES. WHEN HIS BUSINESS SUFFERED LOSSES IN THE FINANCIAL PANIC TWO YEARS LATER HE BORROWED MONEY FROM CHAUNCEY IVES. BY 1840 HE HAD BORROWED EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM IVES AND SUBSEQUENTLY PETITIONED FOR BANKRUPTCY. THE FIRM BREWSTER & INGRAHAMS WAS FORMED IN 1844 ELIAS AND HIS BROTHER ANDREW GOING INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH ELISHA CURTIS BREWSTER, NOAH L. BREWSTER ELISHA'S SON, REPRESENTED THE FIRM IN ENGLAND. EPAPHRODITUS PECK WHO HAD FORMERLY WORKED IN THIS CAPACITY FOR CHAUNCEY JEROME, MADE AN AGREEMENT ON APRIL 6 1848 TO ACT AS AGENT IN ENGLAND FOR THE FIRM. AFTER FULFILLMENT OF THE CONTRACT HE REMAINED IN ENGLAND AS AN AGENT UNTILL HIS DEATH ON SEPTEMBER 30 1857."

The clockmakers

Taken partly 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. Elias Ingraham (1805‑1885) designed a variety of popular cases and case features for the firm, receiving 17 patents between 1857 and 1873. 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.

Creating and manufacturing special radio cabinets

During the great depression Ingraham decided to design and manufacturer special radio cabinets for various manufacturers. Their cabinets were superior in design and quality, using curved or conical speaker grills, and curved wood on tops and sides. According to http://www.oldradiocrazy.com:
"The largest manufacturer to use their cabinets by far was the Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corp. There were others that have been documented such as GE, Firestone (made by Emerson), and Stromberg Carlson. Many collectors believe these cabinets were made for various other radio firms because of the cabinet's design, however the Ingraham label appears on very few, ie Emerson, Firestone, and GE. It is possible that the contractual agreements of that time allowed only certain radio manufacturers to display the Ingraham label, even though they may have actually made the cabinet. It is known that the label varied between the Emerson and Firestone radios. On the Firestone the label was much larger and read "MADE BY THE OLDEST CABINET MAKER IN THE USA, BRISTOL, CONN."


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