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Art Deco Style Ideas & Tips

How to Identify French Mantle Clocks

Antique French mantel clocks are historical art pieces of functional decoration. They offer an opportunity to beginning collectors and decorators to obtain an authentic art piece. They are less expensive to their counterparts but hold the same impression (French mantle clocks are less expensive than American and English mantel clocks of same period). Valuing and identifying an antique is a job of an expert but there are some telltale signs shared in this article that may help you judge whether or not a mantel clock is a French Antique.

Details from the Manufacturer

Start judging the clock by looking up in the bottom and back of the clock to find any mark from the manufacturer who had made the clock. Look for any signature or date the clock was produced. Any serial number or city or logo of the manufacturing company can also give you some hints about the era the clock was made. The above said information might be in a foreign language. Take help of a search engine to identify the language and therefore the mantel clock.

Glass Domes

Inspect the ornate trim. Pewter, bronze and brass trim typically ornamented French mantel clocks. Other common materials were marble, inlaid ivory and glass. French mantel clock manufacturers frequently used glass domes to allow some space to have a glimpse at the inside machinery. You may also see classical statuary, cherubs and pillars to their designs.

Coated Wooden Case

Lift the clock and examine the surface. French mantel clocks were made from black or dark colored marble. To enhance the look and the feel of the dark colored marble the later manufacturers including Edward Ingraham, applied black enamel paint to wooden case of the clock. If there is a coated wooden case it will surely be lighter than marble and with time it has dents, dings and scratches that will reveal the wooden case underneath the imitations of enamel surface.


Another telltale sign is a metal label or stamp over the clock case. Only a few used labels, so it’s a clear indicator of a French mantel clock. However, this rule also has a few exceptions. Japy Freres has stamped cases to mention the awards they had received for the excellence in clock making. Duverdrey and Bloquel also had employed a Lion as a trademark and continued it till 1939, after that they adopted name as trademark. “Bayard” was on the clock case while in the internal parts it was Duverdrey & Bloquel. Use this valuable information as an identifier of French mantle clocks.

Collector’s Website and Forums

An easiest method would be to take help from collector’s websites such as “Valuable Clocks” and “Collectors Weekly”. If the method doesn’t help you find your clock among the pictures. Take a shot of your clock and post the click to the Antique clock forum or Art deco clock forum to get some advice from other members to identify the clock and the era it was made.