August 19 – Happy Birthday, Seth Thomas

Posted on August 19, 2014

Tick, tock, a wooden block.
Tick, tock, make a clock!

Today's birthday was an American carpenter who built houses and barns...but then a fellow named Eli Terry convinced him to get into the clock-making business.

Born on this date in 1785, in Connecticut, Seth Thomas worked with Terry on tall clocks with wooden movements – which means that the gears inside the clock – the things that moved together in such a way that they could keep the hands of the clock moving to mark the seconds, minutes, and hours – were made out of wood!

I have always thought of gears being made of metal!

In 1812 Thomas left Terry and started a clock-making business on his own. His factory was one of the first to mass-produce clocks – and he made them with brass movements (gears). His shelf and mantel clocks were particularly popular with people.

One reason Thomas was able to sell so many clocks was that they were affordable. He streamlined the manufacturing process with automated methods and an assembly line, and he passed the savings on to his customers.

Also on this date:

National Aviation Day

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