Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2018 Season: Back in Time

The Girard Historical Society, located at 1011 N. State Street, Girard, Ohio invites you to visit The Barnhisel House and Museum. We are open the second and fourth Sunday of each month, May through December, from 1:00-4:00.

This year we have a very interesting  and beautiful collection of clocks made in the 1800s. We also have a charming and nostalgic collection of alarm clocks on display. We have pocket watches and a watch from the local Stringer's Jewelry. We have a snap-back Rolex from the early 1900's WWI era with a radium dial and we also have a display of watch and clock parts, some are from the era of clocks movement parts made from wood. See this link "The Radium Girls" to read an article about the women who painted the luminous dials for clocks and watches.

Trumbull County has a rich history in the clock making industry. 

Below is an excerpt from "TRUMBULL COUNTY WOODEN WORKS TALL CLOCK DIALS: Analysis and interpretation of construction and layout" by Chris W. Klingemier

"Trumbull County had been the gateway for settlers entering the Connecticut Western Reserve section of Ohio beginning in 1798 and 1799. There, in the mid-1810s, an industry arose, pioneering the mass production of wooden tall case clockworks.  The industry provided employment for laborers to cut, saw and kiln-dry the lumber, clock factory workers to fabricate and assemble clockworks, the whitesmith for the pewter hands, and the local iron industry for the wire, bells, and pendulum bobs. Young women and girls were employed to letter and decorate thousands of clock dials. Clocks were used as currency in place of scarce cash; they were used as surety for loans. Peddlers ranged into Michigan, New York, and north into Canada. They crisscrossed Pennsylvania and traveled downriver to Virginia and Kentucky, all the way to the mouth of the Mississippi, going out with clocks and returning with profits measured in notes, bartered goods and, on rare occasions, cash. The manufacture and pedaling of wooden works clocks became the industrial engine that drove the economic expansion of Trumbull County into the late 1820s. However, by 1829, the inevitable industrial contractions had begun as individuals involved in the clock business endured forced sales, seizures and bankruptcy. Within 6 years, the wooden movement clock industry had completely disappeared, plunging the local economy into a recession large enough to influence New England's economy, helping to induce the Panic of 1837.

The collapse of the Trumbull County clock industry seems not to have merited any special notice in the newspapers of the period, nor is it mentioned in the 1882 History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties. The industry and the people who created it have been largely forgotten, lost within the larger narrative of the economic turmoil of the Jacksonian era. The objects they created, however, survive to tell the story."

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