I love sentimental Christmas presents. When I was in my twenties mom and dad gave me Grandpa’s ship wheel clock for Christmas. It works beautifully when I remember to wind it. It is an “Ingraham 8 Day Ships Wheel” mantel clock.
A few weeks ago I chatted with Erika Bailey. Her research at University of Toronto focused on experiential learning and a sense of place. Her work will be published in 2012 by Backalong Books. As I recall, to begin the stories with her research participants Erika asked them to bring an object that had meaning for them. The object became an entry point to a story about place, about learning.
Grandpa Lamondin’s ship wheel clock is one of my favourite things. I was a young child when he passed away, too young to remember him. But somehow having his clock in my living room helps me to feel close to him. It reminds me of the years he spent on the water living at the lighthouse as a child, then as a Georgian Bay tour guide for Toronto fishermen when he retired. I imagine he felt at home on the water.
The metaphor of time is powerful as I begin this journey into the past.
E. Ingraham & Company
Formed in 1860, E. Ingraham & Company specialized in clocks in Bristol, Conneticut. In 1941 they opened a factory in Toronto to make clocks during the war. Since the text on the clock’s face indicates the Canadian company, it is safe to assume the clock was made after 1941. Likewise, it is unlikely that Grandpa’s clock belonged to his parents first. Multiple Google-searches for more details about Ingraham clocks in Canada turned up very little information. With the success of television programs like Antiques Roadshow and Canadian Pickers, it seems like everyone is trying to see what their heirlooms are worth. My searches revealed pages of links to antique sales. I am not interested in sales. I am looking for a story.
(FYI: I enjoyed browsing the Canadian Clock Museum website).
The Story of Grandpa’s Clock
The first step of an inquiry is to ask questions. How old is the clock? Was it a gift? Did he treasure it or was it just another object in the home? Where was the clock purchased? How did my mother come to have the clock? Where was the clock kept in the house? Was it the family’s only clock or one of many? Who was in charge of winding the clock? Are there any family stories that include this clock? Is there anything of interest about the Ingraham Canadian Clock Company in Toronto?
The best place to start is by interviewing the family. So, mom and dad and aunts and uncles I will be calling you soon 🙂