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Face and Movement of Tall Case Clock

Ca. 1770
Origin: England and America, Virginia, Williamsburg
OH: 18"; OW: 15 1/2"; OD: 6 1/4"
Iron, steel, brass, silvered brass and yellow pine
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1980-111,A
Eight-day tall case clock movement with anchor-recoil escapement and brass dial mounted on a yellow pine seat board.

One piece arched brass dial measuring 13”W x 18”H. Dial thickness is typically 0.09” but varies from 0.055” at the lower right side to 0.093” above the painted moon phase in the arch. Applied cast brass rococo foliate spandrels at four corners, silvered chapter ring with Roman hour numerals and Arabic minute numerals around a stippled center, shaped hour and minute hands, solid round silvered seconds dial above hands with Arabic numerals and central engraved flower, arched silvered name plate with incurving ends below hands engraved "James Craig./ Williamsburg.", rectangular date aperture with dots at each corner below name plate, two winding holes flank hands, arched portion of dial engraved with foliate scrolls around painted moon dial and engraved hemispheres.

Movement description:
Eight-day brass time, strike, and calendar weight-driven movement measuring 6 13/16” H x 4 5/8” W. Plate thickness is 0.117” and clearance between front and back plates is 2.4”. Clock has an anchor-recoil escapement regulated by a seconds beat pendulum. A rack-and-snail strike sounds the hours on a 5.1” diameter cast bell.

Four brass pillars are riveted into the back plate and pinned at the front plate. The movement is fastened to the seat board by screws threaded into the bottom pillars. The brass time and strike barrels are grooved for the weight cords. The time main wheel is 0.130” thick. The strike main wheel is 0.125” thick. All time and strike train wheels have four-arm crossings. The conventional motion work is uncrossed. The round steel crutch-rod is curved away from the back plate and has an open-end fork. The pendulum bridge base is a butterfly shape. It is fastened to the back plate with two screws and four locator pins. The bell stand is screwed to the outside of the back plate under the left side of the pendulum bridge.

There are standard cast-brass pulleys with riveted brass stirrups. The overall length of the pendulum is 43 1/8”. The pendulum rod is 0.13” diameter steel. The bob is cast lead with a brass face. It is 4.2” diameter and 1.1” thick at its center. The two weights are cylindrical cast filled brass shells.
Label:This clock is signed on the face "James Craig, Williamsburg." It dates to circa 1770 and is the only known clock movement labeled by an artisan in Williamsburg or the surrounding area. Craig probably retailed rather than produced this clock. While his knowledge of metal may have allowed him to craft this movement from imported pre-cast English parts and he did employ a journeyman watch and clockmaker in his shop who should have had the expertise to fabricate such an item, there is no evidence that Craig's shop ever produced clocks nor is there evidence on the clock itself of colonial fabrication. Rather, it was most likely an English movement retailed through Craig's shop. Colonial silversmiths commonly sold British imports in their shops.
Provenance:The clock was consigned to the DAK auction gallery in Nyack, NY c. 1979 by a New York State family. The consignor had moved to New York from Virginia thirty or forty years earlier.
Inscription(s):"James Craig./ Williamsburg." engraved on name plate.
"F H Schloer" scratched on back of back plate, top left corner.
“P” scratched into back of calendar dial.
"G. L. F./ Aug 8 1877/ Richmond/ Va" inscribed in ink on top of seat board
"9950 H" inscribed in ink on top of seat board
"ALEX" and "V" scratched separately on top of seat board
Numerous individual ink inscriptions on the underside of the seat board including "Lewis B Levy/ Febry 15 1860", "John Young", "1774" in ink, "1771" scratched into the wood, "George", "Liam", and "John ___d". There was a Lewis B. Levy listed as a watchmaker in Richmond, Virginia in the 1866 City Directory.