John Child (Childs), Philadelphia. A walnut case tall clock with lunar calendar dial. Grandfather clock.

This is a very nice example of walnut tall case clock. The walnut has been wonderfully refinished and has taken a lovely medium brown tone. The case stands on four large ogee bracket feet. The front corners of the base are fitted with fluted quarter columns that terminate at the ends in turned wooden quarter capitals. This design element is repeated in the front corners of the waist. The waist section is long and features a shaped waist door. This door is also trimmed with a molded edge. It opens to access the interior of the case. The bonnet is a swans neck form. The arches are boldly formed and terminate in applied brass rosettes. They center a single turned wooden finial mounted on a mahogany plinth. Fully turned bonnet columns flank the arched glazed door. This opens to a colorfully painted dial.

This iron dial is colorfully paint decorated. The formatting suggests that it was painted by William Jones in Philadelphia. The four spandrel areas are decorated with floral themes. The arch of the dial displays a lunar calendar or moon-phase dial. This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in the traditional format. This dial is signed by the clockmaker, “John Child / Philade” below the calendar aperture.

This movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four shape posts support the two large rectangular shaped plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement

This beautiful clock was made circa 1815. It stands approximately 8 feet 1 inches tall to the top of the center finial.

About John Child (Childs) a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania clock and watchmaker

John Child (Childs) (1789-1876) appears in the Philadelphia directories from 1813 through 1847 as a clock and watch-maker. His shop was located at 452 North Second Street. He was a Quaker and made four clocks of note. A bracket clock is known and in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum. Very few American clockmakers made the bracket clock form. A musical tall clock is known with the movement being stamped by Child indicating that he was the Maker. The third clock was built for the Senate Hall in Washington, DC. This clock he made to represent the state of Ohio. The fourth clock was made for the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1935 at a cost of $125.

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