I must be thinking about holiday baking, because I selected the vintage vocabulary term "gingerbread clock" for today. I found a great example on the Americana Auctions website (below). Doesn't this clock case remind you of a piece of gingerbread?
Photo Credit: Americana Auctions
Gingerbread clocks were inexpensive when they were originally made, which was back in the last quarter of the 1800's. They were often kept in the kitchen, unlike the more expensive mantle clocks. The design on the "gingerbread" was steam-pressed into the oak, just like the process used on pressed-back chairs, rather than hand-carved. Some gingerbread clocks were walnut, which is a harder wood, and the decoration would be different.
I did a quick check on eBay to see what working gingerbread clocks have been selling for, and discovered final prices ranging from a disappointing $46 to over $400. There's such an amazing array of creative designs, not just with the clock cases, but the embellishment on the glass doors, the different clock faces, and the pendulums.
Old clocks can be pretty ornery, especially if they have missing or broken parts. If you happen to find a gingerbread clock with missing innards or one that's beyond all hope of repair, you can use the case as a mini cabinet for trinkets by inserting a couple shelves inside. I've seen this done before and it's quite charming.