Old-Fashioned Timepieces Part 4

Figure 249 has on its face the name Luther Smith, Keene, New Hampshire. This is no indication that he made the clock, since it was the custom, if the owner desired to paint his name on the face of the clock. This face it, very prettily painted with flowers and is medallions, and the brass hands are beautifully pierced. Like its English mate shows the phases of the moon it and days of the month. Its case, too, solid mahog is any, without inlay, however, but the brass mounts on the pillars of the case are unusually handsome, and the pillars themselves as well as those on the hood are fluted.

Another American-made clock shown in Figure is 250. The top unusual from its plainness, the only is ornamentation being the slender turned pillars. This clock is marked, " Owen, Philadelphia." The face is

:§ L | CD I painted prettily, the *M case "Vmahogany, some of it ve neered, and the phases of the moon are shown above the dial. It is still a good timekeeper, and has a very agreeable striking tone for the hours, halves, and quarters.

A variation from the grandfather's clock was the same shape in miniature. Such a clock is shown in Figure 251. It is not four feet tall, and such a specimen in a marquetry case is not often found. It was dis covered in an attic in Rhode Island, where it had lain undisturbed for forty years or more, waiting for a for tunate collector. It has a painted face and wooden works, and has no maker's name. I have never seen more than six or eight of these little grandfather clocks, and it seems strange that more old clocks did not sur vive, since in " Historical Collections of Connecticut" it is stated that in 1836, at Bristol, Connecticut, there were sixteen clock factories at work, making one hun dred thousand clocks, with brass or wooden works, each year.

Figs. 248-250 English and American ClocksFig. 251 Dwarf Clock Fig. 252 Clock with Wooden Works - m.

In Figure 252 is a clock with a wooden face, painted with flowers, and with wooden works also. It is wound by pulling the weights, and is even yet an excellent timekeeper. It is supposed to have been made about 1800 or during the next ten years. The fine case is mahogany with satinwood inlay, and the only blemish is that the ornaments for the top are missing.

The clockmakers of the United States have con tributed many valuable inventions to the science of cloclanaking, the most important being steel springs which could be produced at a low price, and thus enable the production of cheap clocks. Another invention was the pendulum covered with goldleaf, which is a necessary part of a regulator clock, and which was made by Silas B. Terry, a son of Eli Terry, of Windsor, Connecticut, who was one of the early makers of Ameri can clocks. James Harrison was another early maker, and the first clock he made was sold January 1, 1791, for £3 12*. 8d. This was at Waterbury, Connecticut, a town which still continues to be a centre for the watch and clockmaking business. In 1783 a patent was awarded to Benjamin Hanks, of Litchfield, Connecticut, to run fourteen years, for a self-winding clock. The Eli Terry previously mentioned started at Plymouth, Con necticut, in 1793, and made his first clock with a brass dial, silver washed. His tall case clocks were very often sold without the cases, which were made by local cabinet makers or carpenters.

East Windsor was another clockmaking town in Connecticut, and here Daniel Burnap carried on the manufacture of clocks with brass works. William Tenny also began at an early date to make clocks with brass works, and he was established at Nine Corners, Dutchess County, New York. Eli Terry's earliest clocks were made with wooden works and long cases with royal pendulums. A clock was an expensive item in those days, the prices ranging from $18 to $48 and $70. The highest priced ones had brass faces and works, and a dial for the seconds, the moon's phases, and a fine

:« wooden case. The distribution of clocks during these stage-coach days was intrusted to pedlars, who carried them into even remote regions. This was the reason why many of them were sold without cases, as they were too bulky to carry great distances.

Some of the best knowi clockmakers prior to 1800 were Daniel Burnap, James Harrison, Silas Merriam, Thomas Harland, and Timothy Peck. During the next fifteen years the number of clockmakers increased rapidly, and Seth Thomas, the Willards, Silas Hoadley, Herman Clark, and Asa Hopkins were well-known manufacturers. It was Terry who im'ented the mantel "clock," or short shelf as it was called, in 1814. The pendulum was shortened, the weights made smaller and run on each side, and the works placed in a more com pact form. At first the works of these clocks were wooden; but when rolled brass was im'ented, and wheels could be struck out with machinery and the teeth after- ward cut, also by machine, it became less expensive to make the brass clocks than the wooden; but this was not till about 1837.

In Figure 253 is shown a very handsome mantel clock, made with brass works which run eight days, and in an unusually choice rosewOod case. The two sets of doors with paintings on them is not a common feature, and with the side pillars of polished wood with their large brass tops it makes a fine example of this style of clock. The pictures, although not named, seem to be a ATiew of Mount Vernon and the " Constitution and Guerriere," both of them favourtie subjects for patriotic

Fig. 253 Mantel Clock Fig. 254 Mantel ClockFig. 255 Banjo Clock Fig. 256 Willard Clock Fig. OLD-FASHIONED TIMEPIECES.

,C3 Americans. One of the best known names among the clockmaking fraternity during the first half of the nineteenth century was Willard, and they manufac tured a style of clock which was generally called by their name, the term banjo" " being of comparatively recent origin.

The Willards, for there were four of them at least, — Simon, Aaron, Benjamin, and Simon, junior, — were natives of New England, and Benjamin, who had workshops at Roxbury, Boston, and Grafton, took out patents for his inventions as early as 1802. Terry was a great rival of the Willards, and increased his business by using water-power, so that he flooded the market with clocks, and the price went down to $10. This was in the year 1807, when Terry made five hundred clocks. In 1814 he introduced the short shelf clock or mantel clock, of which another variety is shown in Figure 254.

In this example the wood is richly carved and has an eagle on the top, a fitting emblem to go with the portrait below, which is a much finer painting on glass than is usually met with, and to which the photograph does not do justice. Inside the case of this clock is pasted a paper which reads as follows:

PATENT CLOCKS. Patented by Eli Terry And made and sold by Seth Thomas, Rristol, Conn. Warranted if well used.

:W8 take as we think who would like so much to know just how old our treasures are. Another style of paper runs like this: Patent clocks invented by Eli Terry,

Plymouth, Conn. Warranted if well used. N. B. — The public may be assured that this kind of clock will run as long without repairs and be as durable and accurate for keeping time as any kind of clock whatever.

A Willard or " banjo " clock is shown in Figure 255. The case is mahogany with inlay of satinwood round the door. The ornaments on top and sides are brass, the face is covered with a convex glass, and there is but one keyhole, these clocks generally being made without a striking attachment.

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Source

The Collector's Manual by N. Hudson Moore, Amy Richards. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1906.

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