Joshua Wilder of Hingham, Massachusetts. Dr. Samuel Hutchinson's inlaid mahogany shelf clock.

The clock case is constructed figured mahogany and features high quality veneers. The finish is wonderful and is rich with color. This case stands on four flared French feet. The interior line of the front feet transitions into a shaped apron that hangs from the case. The feet and the base are visually separated by a complex line inlay. The center of the base panel features a wonderful selection of crotch veneer. This is formatted vertically. It is framed with a line inlay pattern that is composed of an alternating box pattern of light and dark woods. A nicely shaped molding transitions the base section to the bonnet or hood. The front corners of the hood are fitted with finely reeded quarter columns that terminate in turned and sharped wooden capitals. These also visually support the upper section of the bonnet. The upper molding is somewhat reserved. Above this is a sarcophagus or bell top which is fitted with a delicate pierced and open fret-work design that is mounted to a single finial plinth. The plinth is veneered on the front with a figured grain pattern. Light wood line inlay trims the front edges. The plinth is capped at the top and fitted with a brass finial. The hood door is constructed like those found on the dwarf clock from. The opening is an arch shape that is fitted with glass.

This iron dial was paint decorated by Spencer Nolen who was a well known Boston ornamental artist. Each of the four spandrel areas are decorated with raised gesso patterns and these are highlight with gilt paint. A colorful radiant is located in the arch of this dial. The colors are excellent and the red stands out brilliantly. Incorporated into this design is the wording, “Dr. Samuel Hutchinson.” We speculate the he was the original purchaser of this clock. A gilt ring frames the time ring. The hours are an Arabic form. Please note the wonderfully shaped steel hands. Around the center arbor is evidence of the Maker’s signature. It is now somewhat faint, but in the right light, it reads, “ J. Wilder / HINGHAM.”

The movement or works are constructed in brass and are good quality. Four turned and shaped pillars support the two brass rectangular shaped plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The winding drum is turned smooth and is capable of holding eight-days worth of weight cord. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The movement is a timepiece. It is not designed to strike.

This clock is approximately 42.5 inches tall to the top of the finial. It is 12.25 inches wide and only 6.75 inches deep.

About Joshua Wilder of Hingham, Massachusetts

Joshua Wilder was born on December 2nd, 1786 in Hingham, Massachusetts. He was trained in the art of clockmaking by John Bailey Jr. of Hanover, MA. Wilder completed this apprenticeship some time around 1807. It appears he stayed in Hanover for a brief period of time before moving back to Hingham to established his home and business located on Main Street in the South Parish. Here, he was the first clockmaker to settle in this prosperous town and found a ready market for tall case clocks, dwarf clocks, wall timepieces, the Massachusetts shelf form and mirror clocks. Wider becomes one of America’s most prolific Makers of the dwarf clock form.

Wilder also becomes very active in the local religious Society of Friends and became known as the “Old Quaker Joshua Wilder.” He was also involved with the Temperance Society and Peace Society of Hingham. Wilder’s business eventually evolves into a retailer of common goods. Wilder is said to have trained several Clockmakers that includes his son Ezra Wilder, Reuben Tower, Allen Kelley and Phillip Bennet. About 1840, it is said that his son Eza joined him in business. Joshua dies on October 4, 1860 in the town of Scituate.

A fair number of clocks made by this maker have been found. Many of which are the dwarf form but also include in much smaller numbers tall case clocks, timepieces, shelf clocks and mirror clocks. Currently, the Hingham Library is displaying a tall case clock made by him.

For more information about this clock click  here .