Sessions Clock Company History
What would become the Sessions Clock Company began in Forestville, Connecticut with three men: Jonathan C. Brown, Elisha Welch and Thomas Barnes. The Barnes and Welch Company sold wooden movement clocks. Welch and Brown started the Forestville Manufacturing Company. By 1840, both firms would cease operations.
Brown, with investment from Welch, and parterned with others, continued to sell clocks under his name or the Forestville Hardware and Clock Company until 1856. Brown declared bankruptcy in 1856 and his business was purchased by Welch. Welch them merged it with the Forestville Hardware and Clock Company and the case makers F.S. Otis. The E.N. Welch Manufacturing Company was formed as a joint stock operation in 1864.
The E.N. Welch Manufacturing Company was remained succesful up until Elisha Welch died in 1887. His son, James, became President of the company. The next few years had the company going into recievership due to poor decisions coupled with a poor economy. This kept them from production from 1893 to 1897. When the company resumed operation they found their customer base weakened and had to borrow to stay in business.
A number of fires and a lack of insurance had the company in precarious financial position. When James Welch died in 1902 the local foundry owners son, William E. Sessions, was elected President of the firm. The Sessions family quickly gained controlling interest in the company and renamed it The Sessions Clock Company in 1903.
The years between 1903 and 1933 could be considered a Golden Age for The Sessions Clock Company. It was during this period that they produced 52 different models of mechanical clocks. Many of those are prized as collectibles. The early models of those clocks bear both the name E.N. Welch and The Sessions Clock Company. That practice was eventually discontinued when Sessions started manufacturing higher quality clocks by 1920 and discontinued the older Welch models.
The Sessions Clock Company successfully weathered the transition from mechanical, spring driven, clocks to electric clocks. They ceased manufacturing mechanical clocks in 1936 and sold only electric clocks.
World War 2 caused the company to cease clock making and manufacture war materials from 1943 until the war ended in 1945.
The Sessions Clock Company changed it's name to The Sessions Company in 1956 but that did not halt the sales decline that saw the company lose more than a million dollars in 1958. The company was sold to Consolidated Electronics Industries Corporation in 1958 and, after a nine week strike, sold again to United Metal Goods Company. United Metal Goods signalled an and of an erea when they shut down the Forestville plant that had been in operation for 137 years.
What was left was sold to Norelco in 1969. By that time they were only going to make electric control devices. Poor sales forced the company into liquidation in 1970 and the remaining buildings were sold.