In the mid 1840’s Netherland immigrants founded a small town in Michigan named Zeeland. By the early 20th century it became a major clock manufacturing center that produced enormous quantities of grandfather, mantel, and wall clocks.
In the mid 1840’s settlers began moving into Western Michigan attracted by its largely untouched virgin forest. Many Netherland immigrants arrived by boat along the state's western shore, and founded a series of towns West of the current city of Grand Rapids and the area still maintains the Dutch heritage. Zeeland was one small town that was established that was named after the province of Zeeland, their former home in the Netherlands.
Furniture manufacture became popular industries in this region. By the end of 19th century Grand Rapids was known as the “Furniture Capital” of the US with many companies manufacturing a wide variety of furniture and household items fueled by the United States tremendous population growth its shift from farm to city. In the early 20th century the small city of Zeeland became a major clock manufacturing center that rivaled the region around Bristol, CT. Many clock making companies formed over the years: Colonial Manufacturing Co., Herman Miller Clock Co., Trend Clock Co. and later Trend/Sligh Clock Co. and later Howard Miller Clock Co. They produced enormous quantities of grandfather, mantel, and wall clocks.
About the Presenter: Andy Dervan
Andy joined the NAWCC in 1997 and in 2000 began researching the histories of various clock makers and companies. In 2011 he retired from DuPont Performance Coatings and spends some free time writing articles for The Watch & Clock Bulletin, running his clock appraisal business Pointe Clock Appraisal, and volunteering at The Henry Ford Museum and at a local animal shelter. In 2011, he became a NAWCC Fellow, in 2016 he was awarded the James W. Gibbs Literary Award, and in 2017 he became a NAWCC Star Fellow.
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