E. Howard & Co., Boston, Massachusetts. Keyhole. Model Number 11 with a 14 inch dial.

This weight driven wall was made by the E. Howard Clock Company of Boston, Massachusetts. It is cataloged as the Model No. 11 and is often referred to as the “Keyhole” in the trade. This is due to the case form and its resemblance of a keyhole opening found in most doors of the period. This model is one of Howard earlier models. We are not sure when it was first introduced to the catalog. It was not offered in the 1858 issuing. We do know that the number of examples that were ordered fell off fairly consistently after 1875. Interestingly, this model has been found to date in at least three different dial sizes. They include dial dimeters on 11, 12 and 14 inches. A single 16 inch dial example was ordered in 1871 by a Massachusetts Mill. To our knowledge, this example has not been found and as a result, the 14 inch dial example is the largest know dial example that currently exist.

The 11 inch dial is the standard and is by far the most commonly found. This model has pleasing proportions and was sold to municipal entities that included fire departments, businesses such as railroads and hotels and also to a residential market. These clock cases measure approximately 12 inches across the bezel and are 31 inches in length.

The next version of this model features a 12 inch diameter dial. This is a very difficult model to find. We have seen only one example of this model in almost 50 years of business. This clock varies from the standard model in dial and head size only. The length of the case is 32.5 inches long. The bezel is 15.25 inches in diameter.

The third example of the Number 11 features a 14 inch diameter dial. At least eight of these were ordered in May of 1876 for the Wamsutta Mills in New Bedford, Massachusetts. According to the existing E. Howard records, all eight were custom made and constructed in black walnut cases. The cases vary only in the head dimension from the standard model 11 form. The bezel is 17.25 inches in diameter and the case measure approximately 34 inches in length. All four of the examples we have seen have had very distinctive hands.

This clock here is the largest size of this form currently known to us. It features a 14 diameter inch dial and the case measures approximately 32.5 inches in length. This case is constructed in black walnut and features an older if not an original finish. The nicely shaped bezel is fitted with glass. This opens to access the painted dial. The Clockmaker’s name and working location are written in large block lettering. It reads, “E. HOWARS & CO. / BOSTON.” This dial is original to this clock and has very minor areas of paint loss. The two hands are very unusual. We have seen them used on two other examples of this model. The lower door frames a paint decorated glass that is original to this clock. This glass is decorated in the traditional black, gold and red colors. Minor paint losses can be found in the red field. These can be easily restored if one wished. On the back of the door frame is the Clockmaker’s original set up label. This remains in very good condition. The movement is made of brass and is excellent quality. It is weight powered or driven and features a recoil escapement. It is considered a very accurate time keeper for its small size. The movement is die-stamped on the front plate, “E. Howard & Company / Boston.” The cast iron weight is original to this clock. The brass bob is supported by the original wooden rod. The three inch bob retains its original ring design consisting of concentric rings that alternate with a damascene pattern. This bob can be viewed through a circular opening in the painted decoration of the lower glass. The case is stamped in three location with the number “10.”

This very difficult to find example was made circa 1865.

About Edward Howard of Boston, Massachusetts.

The E. Howard Clock Company has an outstanding reputation for making high quality weight driven wall timepieces, standing regulators, public clocks and electro-mechanical master and watchman clocks.

The E. Howard & Company succeeded the Howard & Davis firm in 1857. The Howard and Davis firm was comprised of Edward Howard and David P. Davis and was established in 1842. Both men served their apprenticeship with Aaron Willard Jr of Boston. This firm was involved in watch and clock manufacturing since 1842. This firm also made high grade clocks, precision balances, sewing machines and fire engines. After the dissolution of Howard and Davis, Edward Howard went on to become Boston’s leading manufacture of weight driven clocks. This included residential clocks, commercial clocks and tower clocks. They also sold a large number of watchman and salve clock systems. These sold well in the late 1800’s.

It has been said that the E. Howard Clock company never made an inexpensive clock and that everything they made was of very good quality. As a result, Howard clocks have become very collectible and are prized by their owners. Today, the E. Howard clock name enjoys outstanding name recognition.

For a more in depth reading of E. Howard and his various businesses, please read “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces” written by Paul Foley.

For more information about this clock click  here .