What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

Andrews Jewellery in St. Mary’s

Last week we were filming in St. Mary’s Ontario. We needed a period jewelry store and the one we found is virtually the same as the day it was built in 1885.

P1140185 P1130930 P1130952 P1130956The stone and brick commercial building was constructed in 1884 for William Andrews, Jeweller, in the Second Empire style. It is an outstanding example of the work of local architect William Williams, and a showcase for the skills of local and area tradesmen. Unique original interior features are still in place. Its imposing storefront surmounted by the ornate clock and tower makes the building a focal point in the downtown core.

William Andrews operated his first jewellery store for 15 years before building 135 Queen St E. His father was a stone mason who emigrated from Torquay, Devon to Canada in 1855 and came to St Marys 2 years later.

William Williams was not only an architect but also the town clerk, private banker and the Anglican Church’s choirmaster.

Stone work on the building was done by John Grant who had previously been in charge of the masonry for St Marys Presbyterian Church. Plastering was done by Fred Patterson and painting and glazing was done by John Williard who 8 years later were contractors on the town hall.

I was also interested in seeing the upstairs apartment and the clock tower.

P1140188 P1140189 P1140207 P1140208The apartment had been severly butchered over the years but the orange shag carpet was a nice touch…

P1140190the spooky stairs up to the clock tower…

P1140191 P1140203The first thing I saw was an old optometrist’s chair and a pile of old journals.

P1140192 P1140193 P1140195 P1140197 P1140199 P1140201The old clock looked more like a small printing press.

Made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company in Thomaston Connecticut

Seth Thomas Clock Company was one of the most prolific and long lived clock companies. The quality of their products was always maintained at an above average level. Seth Thomas must have sold many clocks in the Lafayette, Indiana area, for out of all the antique clocks we repair, about 40% are made by Seth Thomas.

Many American clock factories in the 19th century suffered factory fires but Seth Thomas was fortunate in this respect. Through conservative growth and taking advantage of the new ideas of others, Seth Thomas was able to enjoy financial stability, whereas many other companies faced financial difficulties.

Seth Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1785, went to work for clockmaker Eli Terry in 1807, bought out Terry’s factory (together with Silas Hoadley) in 1810, and in December 1813 bought out Heman Clark’s clockmaking business in Plymouth Hollow.

Thomas continued Clark’s wooden movement tall clock production, and about 1817 began making the wooden movement shelf clock. These were cased in pillar and scroll cases until 1830, when the bronze looking glass and other styles became popular. In 1842, brass movements were introduced, and first cased in the popular O.G. case (which was made until 1913). Wood movements were phased out in 1845. In 1853 Mr. Thomas incorporated the Seth Thomas Clock Company, so that the business would outlive him. Mr. Thomas died in 1859, and Plymouth Hollow was renamed Thomaston in his honor in 1865.

Mr. Thomas was very conservative, and after his death many new styles of clocks were introduced by his sons. Regulator clocks were introduced in 1860. The patterns and machinery for these had been purchased in 1859 from the creditors of bankrupt clockmaker Silas B. Terry. Spring driven clocks were introduced ca. 1855—1860. Perpetual calendar clocks were made from ca. 1863—1917. Some of the most popular later types include walnut kitchen clocks, made from 1884—1909; marble clocks, 1887—ca. 1895; black (Adamantine finish) wood mantel clocks, ca. 1885—1917; black enameled iron cased clocks, 1892—ca. 1895; oak kitchen clocks, 1890—ca. 1915; tambour clocks, introduced in 1904; chime clocks, introduced in 1909; and electric A/C clocks, introduced in 1928.

Many Seth Thomas clocks from 1881 to 1918 have a date code stamped in ink on the case back or bottom. Usually, the year is done in reverse, followed by a letter A—L representing the month. For example, April 1897 would appear as 7981 D.

P1140206Back down on the second floor I spotted this hand painted sign.

blog-jewellerystore StMM46308


9 responses

  1. WOW! So nice to see well preserved stablishments like this. I hope they won’t butcher this place any further. Thanks for sharing!

    October 31, 2014 at 7:19 pm

  2. The building has an Historic designation that prevents the showroom from being altered.
    There is probably a tin ceiling under the dropped tile ceiling and a terrazzo floor under the carpet. The building is currently for sale @ $299,000.

    November 2, 2014 at 7:17 am

    • John

      Wow. That’s pretty tempting at $300k. What a privilege to explore the inside of that building. I’m quite envious.

      December 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm

  3. J. Bowers

    Wow!! This store belonged to my great grandfather Wm. Andrews Sr. Now I’ve finally had a chance to see the interior. What a beautiful building. I have a lovely Ansonia mantle clock that came from his store. Thanks for sharing this photo tour.

    January 19, 2015 at 10:45 am

    • Well keep your eyes open for Murdoch Mysteries on CBC. We shot part of an episode inside the store and the exterior as well.

      January 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    • Graham Andrews

      It seems we are related; William Andrews Sr. was my great-great grandfather. Which branch of the family do you descend from?

      One note regarding the post above is that the upstairs was, to the best of my knowledge, never an apartment. When it was built the second floor housed a dentist’s practice. The safe at the back of the building is a rare 2-story model that allowed the jewellery store to house its inventory on the ground floor while the dentist used the second level to store the gold then prevalent in fillings and other dental devices. After WWII my grandfather operated his optometrist’s practice from the second level, which accounts for the sign and the old optical magazines in the attic.

      The episode filmed in St. Marys aired last night, February 16.

      February 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

      • To clarify, my last name is not Andrews. Thank you for the comments and the history. I hope you enjoyed seeing the store on Murdoch Mysteries last night!

        February 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

  4. Graham Andrews


    Sorry for the confusion, that comment was directed at J. Bowers whose post is 2 above mine.



    February 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm

  5. Jane

    I’m looking thru my Moms old jewelry and I have a purple velvet box with a mother of pearl button and an insignia of WM Andrews Jelleller, est 1869, St Mary’s Ontario. Issuer of marriage licenses. Does anyone know about this treasure?

    May 14, 2017 at 12:11 am

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