Should every clock collector have a Grandfather (tall case or long case) clock? No, but it was something I had always wanted.
About 3 years ago I was perusing a local for-sale site and came upon this Ridgeway grandfather clock. The ad said that the clock was in excellent condition. When I called the seller and asked what he meant by “excellent” he said, “You have to see it to believe it”. He was right. Indeed, there was nary a mark on it. The brass was bright and shiny and the only indication of its age (1996) is slight tarnishing of the column caps. I paid a fair price but sadly a mere fraction of what it would have cost new. Unfortunately, this type of clock takes a real hit on the used market. The smaller homes that many folks prefer today simply means there there is no room for a clock this size hence the low demand.
The clock is functional in its design and has a graceful, regal look. It stands 83 inches tall, has a scalloped bonnet crown, functional blue moon dial with constellation, 5-rod Westminster chime with shut-off, stately columns with brass base and caps, raised Arabic numerals, oak solids and veneers, brass lyre pendulum with 10 5/8 polished bob and access panels on each side. It was made by the Pulsaski Furniture Company whose specialty was quality cabinetry. The Pulaski company struggled financially in later years and was eventually bought out by the Howard Miller Clock Company in 2004. Howard Miller still offers the Ridgeway line today.
And it came with the original cabinet key.
The seller advertised that it had a quality Keininger movement. It does not! Ridgeway is now part of the Howard Miller group of companies and you will find a Keininger movement in the newer Ridgeway long case clocks but in the 1990s the German clock company Hermle was the principle supplier. Still, a quality movement.
The back plate says Ridgeway but the model number clearly points to a German Hermle movement. In this case the ubiquitous 451-033, with 114 cm pendulum and 60 bps.
The clock is very similar to the Sussex model as shown in this advertising brochure. I find a chain drive as opposed to the Sussex’s cable driven movement to be a bit of a hassle since I must open the cabinet door, wear cotton gloves to avoid tarnishing the brass and chains while taking care raising the weights.
I have also seen the clock referred to as the Hamilton Country model. Nonetheless, it is impossible to verify since very little information about the original company exists to this day.
The clock runs very well and to within a minute a week. So far it appears to be a very reliable movement. When it fails as it will someday, I am not bothering with a repair. It is more cost effective to replace the movement rather than bring someone in to repair it. I will simply swap the movement out with an identical one since Hermle continues to make this movement to this day. Interestingly, Hermle has its own line of floor clocks as you can see here.
If you have anything to share concerning Ridgeway clocks, drop me a line.