Matthew Ballard

Medina Once Home to Clock Works

Medina Once Home to Clock Works

Matthew Ballard November 21, 2015

MonitorClock1

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 35

Taken in early 1912, this image shows the construction of the new Monitor Clock Works factory in Medina. At that time the business was located on Rock Avenue, which was later renamed to Glenwood Avenue. The company began advertising their plans to construct this new 30,000 square foot facility in early December of 1911.

The history of the Monitor Clock Works dates back to Daniel Azro Ashley Buck, a native of Vermont who spent time as a jeweler and watchmaker in Massachusetts, then in Connecticut. It was in this area that he patented the long spring Waterbury Watch in the 1880s. Buck became well known for manufacturing small, mechanical items and received numerous patents during the 1880s and 1890s.

Buck received patents for watch parts, portable clocks, musical toys, kaleidoscopes, coin operating vending machines, and even an 1887 camera. It was the completion of the world’s smallest steam engine that earned him greater notoriety; a 150 piece engine that was built atop a gold coin. After his arrival in Medina, he became the president of the Medina Manufacturing Company, a position he held until his death on April 6, 1904.

In that year, the company became The Monitor Company and began the production of clocks and engaged in the made-to-order woodworking business. It was in 1907 that the company transitioned into the Monitor Clock Works. It is cited that the failure of the National Bank in Medina indirectly led to the eventual sale of the company to B. A. Chubbuck.

It was in October of 1913 that the Daily Journal published an article stating, “…the goblins have secured one of our factories, for the Monitor Clock Works has decided to move its entire plant to Brockport…” Chubbuck, along with Brockport native Frank LeVan, decided to move the company to Brockport with plans to expand their operations. It was during this time that the company continued to engage in the manufacture of mantel and tall clocks in the Mission style for sale in Chicago and New York City, as well as through mail-order catalogs.

So it was only a short period of time after constructing this new building, located in the vicinity of the A. L. Swett Iron Works that the company removed to Brockport, effectively becoming the Brockport Clock Works. On December 18, 1913, the Brockport Republic so proudly boasted, “…we consider the recent removal of the Monitor Clock Works to this place as one of our most fortunate acquisitions…” Unfortunately for the company, talk of bankruptcy began to surface as early as 1916 as Syracuse companies began to call in unpaid loans. The company involuntarily filed for bankruptcy in 1918.

This building, still in construction, was later used as a storehouse by the Swett Iron Works. In 1914 it was deemed a dangerous fire hazard and relocated 100 feet south of this location.