Any insights about this clock?
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  1. #1
    Member Tongdaeng's Avatar
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    Any insights about this clock?

    I'm hoping someone may be able to shed some light on this for me. Many older Japanese clocks seem to have had Ansonia movements in them, including Seikosha and Aishi clocks, but I've never seen a clock that has a hand-painted dial using the Ansonia branding. Has anyone seen anything like this before? Any idea how old it is?

    I understand the writing on the back is to commemorate the opening of a shop, possibly a spa. Anyone able to provide a better translation?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
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  2. #2
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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    looks big

  3. #3
    Member Tongdaeng's Avatar
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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    the thing is enormous - and heavy. Just trying to figure out the back story. I found online images of similarly sized Japanese clocks that hung in businesses, factories, etc. but I've not found a photo of one with Ansonia branding on the dial.
    Last edited by Tongdaeng; October 26th, 2019 at 15:09. Reason: incomplete

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  5. #4
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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    It probably is a Meiji Era clock. Ansonia(like a lot of other American companies) would have wanted to show off American made goods

    After the 1872 clock shake up (the Japanese used seasonal time clocks based on the old English lantern clock), a lot of western clocks had to be imported into Japan to satisfy need. It was not until the late 1870's that Japanese clockmakers got into the game.

    Odds are this is a mid to late period Meiji era clock

  6. #5
    Member Tongdaeng's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for the background - I really appreciate it!

  7. #6
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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    Many American clock movements were exported to Japan. The cases were made in Japan and the dials more traditionally had Japanese makes on them. This one is unusual. It's not an Ansonia dial of course but pretty cool looking.

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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    I sent more detail in a PM, but this is the short version.

    The inscription is a date, the name of the business, and the name of the person gifting the clock. A gesture of this type - not necessarily a clock, of course - is still quite common, bordering on obligatory, for new businesses in Japan and neighbouring countries, typically from another business or business person. Or is that universal?

    Right column to left: "Taisho 13, December 10". (13th year of the Taisho era, i.e., 1924. Taisho was between Meiji and Showa, 1912 to 1926)

    2nd (large) column "Commemorating the opening of Matsunoyu" ("yu" is spa/bath, "matsu" is pine, "no" is a possessive, "of", or can be omitted, so a quick'n'dirty translation would be Pine Spa),

    Next column: "Given by"
    Next column: "Matsusaka City, Seisei". Matsusaka is a small city in Mie prefecture, famed for Matsusaka beef. Seisei a district of the city.
    Last column: "Miyamoto Tomizo" (the name of the donor).
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  9. #8
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    Thank you for translating the text and updating this thread. Really adds to the story of that clock. It's a stretch, but the city may have more information about the spa and maybe even pictures.

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    Re: Any insights about this clock?

    Quote Originally Posted by John MS View Post
    Thank you for translating the text and updating this thread. Really adds to the story of that clock. It's a stretch, but the city may have more information about the spa and maybe even pictures.

    I looked for the spa, and there is nothing for that city. However there is a nearby city, Owase, 15 or so km from Matsusaka and in the same prefecture, that until recently had a sento (public bathhouse) with the name Matsunoyu. It closed in 2004, as so many sentos have in recent years. According to one visitor who mentioned it online, it opened in the first year of Taisho, which would be 1912. However, if this is the same place, he could have been mistaken. Or it could have moved premises in 1924, or begun business on a more official footing. All speculation, of course. But it occurred to me that it is just as likely the donor, not the spa, was located in Seisei, Matsusaka, and there is no reason why the spa itself might not have been elsewhere.

    The Owase spa is mentioned here and there are a few photos as well, though none with the clock in it.

    https://saltgraphic.com/2020/01/21/sento_workshop/

    You can get a serviceable in-browser translation to English in Chrome if you're able to display the Japanese correctly. These people are visiting the place some time after it had already closed down; however, it does not look as if there is any prospect of it ever reopening. A pity, as sentos are actually enjoyable to visit; they're a bit more blue collar than onsen. There are some in Tokyo still, though not a great number, and there is a certain amount of interest in keeping them going.

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