Samuel Mulliken (1761-1847) Newburyport. An important Massachusetts shelf clock

This is an important mahogany case on case Massachusetts Shelf Clock made by Samuel Mulliken of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

This is an early example of a the Massachusetts shelf clock form. It is often referred to as a “case on case” model. The upper section appears to be sitting on the base. This case is constructed in mahogany. The wood selected is nicely grained and retains an older surface. The color is pleasing. The case stands up off the self on four applied ogee bracket feet. Their form is wonderful. The base section is fitted with a tomb stone shaped door. The door is fitted with an applied molding. This is a subtle detail that in my opinion is very successful. Through this door one can access the weight and pendulum. The hood or bonnet is designed to look like a separate piece of furniture that is constructed to sit on top of the base section. The bracket feet are part of the design incorporated in the lower bonnet molding. The door, reminiscent of the Willard Grafton Wall clocks, is a kidney form. A pierced cut out follows the design of the interior frame. The hood door is hinged. The matt board is is painted black. It surrounds a circular brass dial. This dial is wonderfully formatted. It is skillfully engraved and features a seconds bit and the Clockmaker’s signature. The top of this clock is surmounted with two urn shaped finials. They are brass. The brass movement is eight-day duration and of good quality.

This clock was made circa 1780. The overall height of this case including the brass mounted finials is 33 inches tall. It is inventory no. LL-73.

This clock is pictured in “The Old Clock Book” written by N. Hudson Moore. It is pictured between page 142 and 143 in Black and white. It is figure no. 85. In 1911 it was owned by Mrs. H. P. Brownell of Providence, Rhode Island. It is reported that she owned approximately 50 antique clocks at this time. This is one she admired and it received special attention.

About Samuel (II) Mulliken of Haverhill ,Newburyport, Salem and Lynn Massachusetts.

Samuel Mulliken II was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts the son of mariner John Mulliken, a Captain in the state militia during the American Revolution and Susanna Huse (1735-1820) on September 22, 1761. He is a member of a very important family of American Clockmakers. It is thought that he was trained as a clockmaker and as an engraver by his distant cousin Jonathan Mulliken (1740-1782) in nearby Newburyport. Samuel may have completed his apprenticeship and first worked as a journeyman in the town of Salem only to return to Newburyport after his uncle Jonathan died in 1782. It seems likely that he took over Jonathan’s shop and courted his widow, Susannah (Pearson) Mulliken. They were married a year later on August 20, 1783. Samuel’s Newburyport shop was located on State Street. Here he continued to manufacture clocks, engrave clock dials, repair watches and light metal work. He also developed business relationship with the Willards from Roxbury agreeing to sell Simon’s Patented Clock Jacks. Samuel returned to Haverhill and opens his shop in 1787 through October 1788. He lost his wife Susanna in 1787 to yellow fever. By the end of November 1788 he re-established himself in Salem, MA on the corner of Court Street. He was busy doing various tasks for his cousin through marriage, the Sanderson brothers, Elijah and Jacob. By March of 1789, Samuel has married his second wife Sarah Newhall daughter of Colonel Ezra Newhall. His watch repair business begins to take off taking in over 20 watches a month to service. In 1796 he moves back to Lynn and buys property. He buys a tenement house and opens a tannery. He is still involved with making clocks and casting brass. He later becomes the towns postmaster in 1803. Samuel dies in Lynn in 1847.

Examples of brass and white dial shelf clocks are known. One brass dial shelf clock is currently in the Peabody Essex Museum Collection in Salem Massachusetts. A similar example to the Peabody Essex clock is pictured in “The Old Clock Book” written by N. Hudson Moore. It is pictured between page 142 and 143 in Black and white. It is figure no. 85. In 1911 it was owned by Mrs. H. P. Brownell of Providence, Rhode Island. It is reported that she owned approximately 50 antique clocks at this time. This is one she admired and it received special attention.

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