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Arthur Pequegnat

Posted by Alena Studio on August 6, 2014
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The Arthur Pequegnat Clock Company is notable as the longest lasting Canadian-based clock manufacturer. Company advertisements explained the pronunciation of the name as “Say Peginaw.”

The family of Arthur Pequegnat immigrated from Switzerland in 1874, and initially started a business of importing watches for the local market in Berlin (now Kitchener, Ontario). By 1897, the family started bicycle production, but switched their focus to clock movements in 1904, and later started making their own cases.

By 1941, the demands of World War II armament makers for brass, the essential ingredient in clock movements, pressed the company to stop production.

The company distinguished itself as a competitor for some of the better American pendulum clocks, such as those made by Seth Thomas. Their clocks often looked like models made by Seth Thomas or Sessions but some of their designs, especially the tall mantle clocks, were unique. For their wooden cases, they favored the heart wood of quarter-sawn white oak that showed off beautiful ray flecks. The designs often had elements of the Arts and Crafts Movement which also favored quarter-sawn white oak.

Most of their model names were based on Canadian cities. According to the Canadian Clock Museum, “approximately sixty-five cataloged models of mantel clock are known, as well as sixteen models of wall clock (with variations) and seven models of grandfather (hall) clock.” Rare samples exist of Pequegnat clocks built into a sideboard, or a grandfather clock/gramophone combination. Pequegnat was also instrumental in the production of parts for the Franco-American Clock Company whose clocks mimicked the German box or Vienna regulators.

Today, their clocks are highly collectible in Canada and command twice the price of similarly styled clocks by well-known American counterparts. One of the aspects that interests collectors is the high number of variants. Collectors can hunt for time-only, time and strike, or either of these with calendar. The company seemed to start a run with one style of trim but then would complete the run with a different style, so that it is not uncommon to find a unique sample that no one else has. The Canada Science and Technology “Museum’s collection includes more than eighty Pequegnat …clocks, mostly acquired in 1975. This particular collection of clocks is the second largest of its kind in a public collection….” The largest private collection, of over 170 models is held by Skip and Caren Kerr in Edmonton, Alberta and represents over 30 years of collecting.