Fred Frick Master Clock, ca. 1905
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $4,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:31)
GUEST: It was in a school in Newall, Minnesota. The gentleman that ran it for 50 years, he was a teacher in the school, and one of his morning chores was to get the clock wound up, ready to go for the day. And when he retired, they gave the clock to him as a retirement present, and then he donated it to the school where my wife is a teacher in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and that's how we ended up with it.
APPRAISER: And you got it-- well, great. The Fred Frick Clock Company is a company who operated in Pennsylvania near where I'm from, so I've seen a number of these. In the late 1880s-- about 1888 or so-- was a time when they were beginning to become aware that clocks were really better if they were powered by electricity. Up until that time, all of the domestic clocks and most of the industrial ones were driven by a mechanism that you would wind. This clock was made after 1899, probably the first decade of the 20th century. And as you might know, it takes forever to wind. They're great, big, thick springs. But then when you do, does it keep good time?
GUEST: Very accurate-- within a minute a day.
APPRAISER: They were very accurate and they ran about 30 days between windings. But Fred Frick invented systems--
in fact, he had four patents that enabled you to set up these devices. This large disk here, you could put little plugs in it which would activate a system to set off bells or alarms, so it was perfect for the school. And the clock would be run by a battery-assisted mechanism and send impulses through wires. There were wires in the back of this clock which would attach to what we call the slaves. There were probably 20 or 30 slave clocks attached that were controlled by this, the master clock, and therefore all the clocks in the building kept the same time. This has transcended the interest as a technological creation into the area where it's now decorative art. There are people who love this industrial look and all the fascinating mechanical clap trappery down there, and I'd appraise this at around $3,000 to $4,000.
GUEST: Really. That's amazing. Very good.
APPRAISER: This is on the leading edge of collectibles these days.
GUEST: Oh, this is awesome. Thank you very much.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.