Before 1831, Elisha Niles Welch was in business with his father, George, who operated an iron foundry in Bristol, Connecticut. The fundry made weights and bells for clocks. When Elisha Welch formed a partnership with Thomas Barnes Jr., they named the company Barnes & Welch. The firm manufactured wooden-movement shelf clocks and was involved in business with Jonathan C. Brown and Chauncey Pomeroy.
E.N. Welch Parlor Shelf Clock circa 1880
From 1841 until 1849, E.N. Welch partnered with J.C. Brown, who used Forestville Manufacturing Company and J.C. Brown of Bristol, Connecticut as company names. Chauncey Pomeroy was also a partner in these companies. The two factories manufactured eight-day clocks with brass movements.
In 1853, fire destroyed J.C. Brown's Forestville hardware and Clock Company. Welch bought Elisha Manross' failing clock parts business and J.C. Brown's Forestville company after it went bankrupt. He also purchased Frederick S. Otis' casemaking business. He consolidated these new purchases under one name, E.N. Welch, which became one of Bristol's largest clock companies. In 1868, the Welch, Spring & Company was formed. It specialized in high-quality clocks, including regulators and calendars. After Elisha Welch's death in 1887, his son James became the company's president.
The Patti Era, lasted for five years, from 1879 until 1884. This developmental period was named for Adelina Patti who was a Spanish
coloratura soprano who won fame as one of the world's greatest operatic singers. Her career was almost without parallel in the history of opera.
This period marked the company's final effort to be financially successful. The staff believed the company's success would depend on the success of the Patti models. The original Patti clock was known for its fancy column turnings, glass sides, rosettes, and fancy finials. Its case was rosewood and featured a Sandwich glass pendulum. The Patti was considered by many as the most collectible and famous parlor clock ever conceived by an American manufacturer. However, sales did not live up to expectations.
The company tried to dress up the Patti to imrove its sales. It added French-style cloverleaf hands, a brass pendulum with a Sandwich glass center, a gold leaf border on the glass door panel, and a bell mounted on the movement. Black labels with gold print replaced the wite labels with black print.
E.N. Welch Shelf Patti circa 1884
Unfortunately, fire destroyed the movement factory in 1899. Later that same year, the case factory was also destroyed by fire. As a result of the fire, financial problems plagued the company. Mortgages were past due and bank notes were due and unpaid. Liabilities were growing and legal suits were pending. Realizing the troubles that faced the Welch clockmakers, the Sessions family, who had a clock business in Forestville and were interested in expanding their business, began buyng Welch company stock. After Albert L. Sessions became treassurer and W. E. Sessions assumed the presidency, they borrowed over $50,000 to revitalize the company. At the time, the Welch Company ceased to exist, and the name was changed to the Sessions Clock Company.