The Sessions Clock Company was one of several notable American clock companies centered in Connecticut. The E Ingraham Clock Company, the Ansonia Clock Company, the New Haven Clock Company, the Seth Thomas Clock Company, Sessions and its predecessor E.N. Welch Company, the William L. Gilbert Clock Company, and the Waterbury Clock Company collectively produced most of the mechanical clocks made in America between the mid-19th century and 1950.
In 1902, William E. Sessions, who ran the Sessions Foundry Company in Bristol, Connecticut, and his nephew A.L. Sessions bought the controlling interest of the fledgling clockmaker E.N. Welch Company, which was about to shut its doors. By early 1903, E.N. Welch had become the Sessions Clock Company, and the production of all clock parts—movements, dials, artwork and castings, and cases—continued in nearby Forestville.
The peak period of production for the Sessions Clock Company was from 1903 to 1930. At first, Sessions simply continued to produce Welch clocks, notably the black mantel clock and the oak-cased kitchen clock. To date these clocks, collectors needn’t look past the label. If it was made before 1903, the label will read “E.N. Welch.” If it was made after 1903, it will say both “E.N. Welch” and “Sessions Clock Company.” The process of phasing out the Welch brand was gradual, though by 1920 the old name was practically gone.
Sessions began upgrading its clocks and moving on from the old Welch designs. One of the first of these new Sessions clocks was a then state-of-the-art regulator—clocks from this period are favorites of collectors today. The move to regulators worked well for awhile, but by 1930 Sessions realized that electricity was the wave of the future. Thus, the company began producing electric clocks, radio timers, and even televisions.
The Great Depression caused Sessions to cease production of spring-wound clocks altogether in 1936, and, during World War II, the Sessions plant devoted itself to the manufacture of war materials. After the war, Sessions shifted gears again by making cheap electric alarm clocks and kitchen clocks. In 1956, it changed its name to The Sessions Company as sales began to slump. Although innovation was not the company’s strong suit, in the ’50s it introduced “The Lady,” a family-planning clock that was set to a woman’s menstrual cycle to show the days during which she was most fertile. Not surprisingly, these clocks were never very popular during the conservative 1950s, although they are highly sought after by collectors today.
In 1958 Sessions was sold to Consolidated Electronics Industries Corporation, a New York-based company, though production in Connecticut continued. That same year William Sessions, Jr., left Sessions to become a founding member of The New England Clock Company. Following a workers’ strike in 1968, Sessions was sold to United Metal Goods Company, and the Connecticut office was done. By 1969, The Sessions Company was no longer making clocks.