Tall case clock
1809-1814 (movement); ca. 1825 (case)
Origin: America, Maryland, Eastern Shore & Connecticut
OH: 85 1/2"; OW: 16 3/8"; OD: 10 13/16"
Cherry, yellow pine, tulip poplar, oak, glass, and iron/steel
Partial Gift, Robert P. Fondes and Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1997-9,A&B
Case: Flat top tall case clock with rectangular glazed hood door and small rectangular fluted wooden door on each side of hood; rectangular trunk door has two vertical fluted sections; fluted quarter columns on the trunk and base; tall base molding shaped at center front to give appearance of wide bracket feet.
One piece arched white painted 11 ¾”W x 16 1/2”H wood dial. Arch contains oval full-length portrait of a Native American holding a bow and arrow in his right hand, an ax over his left shoulder, with "AMERICA" inscribed at his feet. Two oval three-quarter portraits of a man and woman in the center of the dial. Arabic hour dial with minute dot markings on outer band. Arabic minutes labeled in 5 minute intervals. Painted fruit spandrel ornaments in dial corners. The dial contains no fake markings for winding holes.
Thirty hour wood time and strike weight-driven movement type IIIa (Shepard Roberts identification scheme) of Seth Thomas and Silas Hoadley clock works. Movement measures 8.5” H x 6 1/8” W. Plate thickness is 0.275”. Clearance between front and back plates is 2.8”. Clock has an anchor-recoil escapement regulated by a seconds beat pendulum. A count wheel strike sounds the hours on a 3.8” diameter cast bell. The unusual strike hammer head is formed via successive circular wrapping of the hammer wire. The count wheel is mounted to the back of the back plate.
With the exception of the escape wheel, all time and strike train wheels are solid wood. The escape wheel is brass on a wooden arbor. The conventional wood motion work is solid. The pendulum crutch is round wire bent with a right angle projection that passes through a slot in the pendulum.
Instead of the usual 4 pillars commonly found to fasten the front and back plates, three wooden pillars are riveted into the top of the front plate and pinned at the back plate. The center pillar is slotted vertically and serves as the pendulum spring mounting. The bottom of the front plate is fastened to the seat board via a mortise and tenon joint. The back plate extends beyond the seat board and is fastened via two wooden pillars that protrude from the back of the seat board. This design eliminates the need for two of the longer pillars and combines movement plate securing with seat board mounting, thereby eliminating the two hooked rods and corresponding nuts that are common on brass tall case clock movements to secure the movement to the seat board. Each main wheel drum has two cords wrapped around it. The clock is wound by pulling down on one cord which turns the main wheel core which in turn pulls the weight bearing cord up and wraps it around the core, thus winding the clock. This design eliminates the need for metal winding arbors, a clock key, holes in the dial, and weight pulleys.
The pendulum rod is wood with a slot to accept the crutch wire. The cast pendulum bob is 3.2” diameter and 0.7” thick. The weights are sand filled tin cans with wood tops and metal loops. One weight is 6 5/8” long, 2 ¼” diameter, and weights 1 pound. The other weight is 6 11/16” long, 2 ¾” diameter, and weighs 2 pounds. Counterweights are stitched burlap.
Hood: The single board hood sides are dovetailed into the flat, single board top, with dovetails (with chamfered edges) protruding ¼” above the top and one wrought nail in the center between dovetails. The upper front rail is nailed into notches in the upper edges of the sides. A mitered single piece cove molding is nailed to the sides and front rail. The lower front rail is lap joined at the back corners to the lower front corners of the sides, each joint is nailed from the underside of the rail with two small wrought nails. The rail extends 1½” in front of the hood door. A single bead mitered molding is nailed to the edge of the sides and lower rail and overlaps the trunk. Only the arched top section of the interior frame remains. Nail holes in it indicate that a now missing interior frame was probably nailed to it from the back.
The rails of the glazed hood door are through tenoned and pegged to the stiles. Inside edges of the stiles and rails are rabbeted, while the outside edges have an integral bead and step. On the inside, the glass panel is placed in the rabbet and glazed. A small wooden turn latch is nailed to the leading edge of the proper right side to secure the door.
A 4”x6” single panel door on each side is comprised of a glued mitered frame with a single integral bead into which a fluted panel is nailed from the rails of the frame. The doors are hung on the rear edge with a single brass butt hinge inset in the door rail and the hood side
Trunk and base: The back is rabbeted on the edges to form a lap joint with the rabbeted trunk sides. The joint is nailed from the back with wrought nails. The sides extend into the hood where the seat board is supported by them, and are notched to accommodate the face of the clock extending below the seat board. Notches are not through cut, but retain a 1/8” outer edge that restricts side to side movement of the clock face. Tulip poplar flankers are nailed to the edges of the back and notched to fit around the extended sides.
Inner rails above and below the trunk door opening are lap-joined to the sides. Outer rails and stiles of the trunk front are lap joined to each other and face nailed to the inner rails. Each stile is nailed, at its mid-point, to a small support block that is in turn nailed to a quarter column. Fluted corner quarter-columns are nailed to the sides and stiles and their turned capitals are nailed to the sides. The mitered cove shoulder molding is nailed to the trunk sides, capitals and outer rail. The one piece fluted cherry door is inset with two glued and nailed horizontal panels forming faux top and bottom rails, and hung with two inset butt hinges.
The base sides are nailed at the top to the trunk sides and the front is nailed to the lower outer rail and stiles. The front is nailed to the edge of the bottom as is the case back, both with one wrought nail showing. It is likely the sides were also nailed to the edge of the bottom, however the bottom has been altered in conservation. The fluted quarter columns are nailed to the sides and the turned capitals to the sides and base front. The mitered cove waist molding is nailed to the trunk sides and capitals, base front and sides and the outer rail. The rails of the base molding are dovetailed to each other (three out of the four are wedged dovetails) and nailed to the base front and sides.
Woods: The hood is entirely of cherry. The trunk and base are primarily of cherry, with yellow pine back and secondary woods and tulip poplar base molding and flankers.
Provenance:Descended in donor's family in Parsonsburg, Maryland on the Eastern Shore.
Inscription(s):"AMERICA" at bottom of portrait of Native American on dial plate.