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Tall Case Clock

Origin: America, Massachusetts, Boston
OH: 100 1/8"; OW: 21"; OD: 10"
Mahogany, mahogany veneer, white pine, glass, and brass; brass, steel, lead, and iron
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1930-52,A&B
Case: Tall case clock with arched hood, three fluted wooden plinths with brass ball and spire finials with fretwork between plinths; free-standing stop-fluted columns with brass capitals and bases and inlaid brass rods flank hood door; arched hood door with inlaid light-dark-light banding; trunk with rectangular door with molded edge and inlaid cross-banding around the perimeter bordered by lightwood stringing flanked by quarter columns stop-fluted with brass rods; square base with inlaid cross-banding flanked by lightwood stringing around perimeter; ogee bracket feet.

One piece iron 13 1/8” W x 18 9/16” H arched dial painted white. Chapter ring has Roman hours on the inside and Arabic minutes in 5 minute intervals on the outside with dots indicating all 60 minutes between the hour and minute numbers. Arabic seconds dial below XII with seconds in 10 second intervals and all 60 seconds indicated by dots. Arabic calendar dial below center with 5-10-15-20-25-31 labeled and all 31 days indicated by dots. Moon phase in arch with Arabic days labeled 1-5-10-15-20-25-29 ½ and all days marked by tic marks at the inner edge radiating from the center of the arch. Images between moons are a warship with an American flag and a landscape mourning scene depicting a woman holding a handkerchief to her face and a pole topped by a liberty cap sitting by an urn-topped tombstone labeled “SACRED TO WASHINGTON”. Labeled hemisphere globes project into the arch. Each dial spandrel is painted with a female figure depicting the four seasons. Dial signed “Aaron Willard” in script between the IX and III. Both winding holes have brass grommets. Hour and minute hands are very delicate.

Movement description:
Eight-day brass time, strike, and calendar weight-driven highly finished movement measuring 6.5” H x 4.5” W. Plate thickness is 0.123” and clearance between front and back plates is 2.3”. Clock has an anchor-recoil escapement regulated by a seconds beat pendulum. A rack-and-snail strike sounds the hours on a 4.5” diameter cast bell secured with a hexagonal brass nut.

Four brass pillars are riveted into the back plate and pinned at the front plate. The movement is fastened to the seat board by steel seat board screws threaded into the bottom pillars. The brass tube time and strike barrels are grooved for the weight cords. All time and strike train wheels have four-arm crossings. The conventional motion work is uncrossed. The time mainwheel is .120” thick. The strike mainwheel is .135” thick. The round steel crutch-rod bends away from the movement for pendulum clearance and has a closed-end fork. The pendulum bridge base is a butterfly shape. It is fastened to the back plate with two screws and two locator pins. The bell stand is screwed to the outside of the back plate and passes under the right side of the pendulum bridge.

There are standard cast-brass pulleys with riveted brass stirrups. The strike side pulley has an “S” stamped in it. The label inside the case door references this “…observing that the heaviest weight be put on the pulley marked S”. The pendulum rod is wooden. The bob is cast lead with a polished brass face. It is 4.5” diameter and 0.95” thick at its center. The pendulum length is regulated by a hexagonal brass nut. The weights are cylindrical tinned iron shells with metal loops fastened at the top. They are both 3 1/8” diameter and 10 1/2” long. They weigh 13 and 14 pounds.

Materials: Case is mahogany and mahogany veneer, secondary is white pine. Glass in doors is original.
Label:Aaron Willard's tall clocks were known throughout the Boston area and influenced the design and production of clocks as far away as Richmond, Virginia. The streamlined production in Willard's manufactory allowed him to make clocks in greater quantities than individual clockmakers had been able to do in the preceding decades. Through his advertisements and labels that guaranteed the design and workmanship of his clocks, Willard promoted his product in local and export markets.
Mark(s):"I.S." branded inside proper right side of trunk.

Printed label inside trunk door "Common House Clocks, Table/ Spring Clocks, and Time-peices,/ of different constructions made by/ Aaron Willard/ BOSTON./ DIRECTIONS for setting up the CLOCK./ First plumb up the case in the place where it/ is to stand, and secure it ; then put the Clock/ in the case, and hang on the pendulum and/ weights, observing that the heaviest weight/ be put on the pulley marked S. Wind up/ the lines on the barrels, taking care that/ they run regularly in the grooves, then/ put the pendulum in motion."
Inscription(s):Dial signed "Aaron Willard."
"L. Lovell" signed in chalk inside trunk backboard.
Red chalk or pencil "2" inside trunk door and on back of moon dial.
Pencilled repair inscriptions on door or trunk: "...7-23-97/ Francis M. Shirey April 1951/ Diggs Va (Mathews County) cleaned/ 1955 moved to/ Gloucester Va", "Dec 12, 1877", "S. B. Coombs, March 18, 84", "James Adams December 21, 1859".
"David/ Kelley/ Sept 10th 1909/ O[i or re]led" in chalk on back of moon dial.