Rocking ship tall clock attributed to the Paul Rogers school of clockmaking in Berwick, Maine.

Everyone notices a tall clock dial that features some form of automation. When people come into view our inventory, clocks that have automated dials are often the examples they comment on first. Automation comes in many forms. Some of the examples we have seen recently include rocking ships, a depiction of Father Time or Chronos. This figure moves side to side. A dial that depicts Adam and Eve where Eve’s arm moves towards Adam as if handing him and apple. Occasionally we will have an example that has a face of a person or an animal. The automation featured in these examples is in the eyes. The motion displayed in automated dials is an attention getter and a conversation starter. In truth, very few clocks feature this desirable feature. We look long and hard to find.

This iron dial was paint decorated by a local ornamental artists who has not yet been identified. As a result, it has a wonderful folk art quality. Dials like this a somewhat uncommon. This example has very good color. The four spandrel areas feature floral themes. The use of yellow coloring stands out. There is also additional paint decoration in the center of the dial below the center arbor where a calendar display is traditionally located. The spandrel borders are painted in green. This design also frames the outer edge of the time ring. This ring is formatted with large Roman style hour numerals. Arabic style numerals are used to mark each of the five minute markers. A subsidiary seconds dial is located in the traditional location below the hour “XII.” In the lunnette or the arch of the dial is the much sought after feature of an automated rocking ship. This ship is cut from tin and actually moves or gently rocks from side to side with the motion of the pendulum. The ship is quite large and depicted fully rigged, under sail, flying an American flag proudly off its stern.

The weight driven movement is of good quality. It is designed to run for an eight-day duration on a full wind. This clock will also strike each hour on a cast iron bell that is mounted above the clock works. This movement is typical of the Rogers school of clockmaking in terms of its construction. The movement plates are not brass. They are constructed in cast iron and features brass bushings. It is thought that this was done in order to conserve on the use of brass which was an expensive material to work with at the time. The Rogers in Berwick, Maine are well known for constructing clock movements in this manner. We have owned a large number of clocks that were constructed in this manner and were signed on the dial by one of several members of the Rogers family.

This is a very nice country case tall clock that exhibits long narrow proportions. It stands approximately 82.5 or 7 feet 8.5 inches tall to the top of the brass center finial. It is 20.5 inches wide and 10 inches deep. This case is constructed in maple and white pine is used as the secondary wood. The darker finish has been enhance with a protective wax.

This fine example stands on a cut out bracket base. The base section is fitted with an inset panel. The waist section is very long and narrow. The waist door is a rectangular shape and is trimmed with a simple molded edge. Another nice country detail is the multiple pegs found in the construction of the waist framing. Finely reeded quarter columns are fitted into the corners of the waist. These terminate into brass quarter capitals. The bonnet or hood is fitted with fretwork. The pattern is unusual and quite interesting. This is supported by three reeded finial plinths. Atop each plinth is a brass ball and spike finial. Fully turned and reeded bonnet columns terminating in brass capitals flank the bonnet door. This door is an arched form and is fitted with glass. It opens to access a locally painted arched shape dial.

This clock was made circa 1795.

About Paul Rogers of Berwick, Maine.

Paul Rogers was born 1752 and died in 1818. He was a Quaker, and belong to a group more properly called the Society of Friends. The Quakers were a sect known for their independence and devotion to hard work and had established small colonies throughout the more rural parts of New England. He was a very productive clockmaker who worked at his trade for nearly forty years. A few notable apprentices to Paul include his son Abner (1777-1809), Reuben Brackett (1761-1867), and John Taber (1796-1859).

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