The quintessential Massachusetts Timepiece of Boston origin. This banjo wall clock is unsigned but attributed to the Roxbury Maker, William Cummens.
This decorative Federal Massachusetts timepiece or “Banjo clock” made in Boston circa 1815 – 1820. This clock was originally signed. Unfortunately the signature has faded away and only the "Warranted" can be read. We have owned an example that shared a similar font and arched format to this wording once before. It was signed by William Cummens. One can speculate due tot the construction characteristics and the format of the dial that this clock was made by him in Willard school of clockmaking.
This is an attractive clock. The case wood is mahogany and retains and older finish. This example features gilded frames and a turned acorn finial. The coloring is consistent on both frames. They are decorated with rope moldings and are fitted with colorfully hand painted tablets. These tablets are original to this clock. The throat features a traditional theme for this form. It is quite intricate in it's design. The lower tablet depicts a popular view of the Boston State House from the point of view of the pasturelands with in the fences of the Boston Common. The Boston State house was designed by Charles Bulfinch and was constructed in 1795 – 1798. It was built on top of Beacon Hill on land that John Hancock once owned. In fact, in this view, Hancock's residence is depicted to the left of the State House. His home was torn down in 1863. The bezel and side arms are brass. They have been lightly cleaned. The cast brass bezel is fitted with clear glass.
The brass bezel opens to a painted iron dial featuring Roman numerals that mark the hours of the day. Remnants of the signature remain. It is incomplete. The arrow shaped hands are steel and are wonderfully hand filed.
The weight driven movement is very good quality. This movement is constructed in brass and is designed to run for eight days on a full wind. It features brass plates and a recoil escapement The pendulum rod is steel and it supports a brass covered bob. This fine clock measures approximately 34 inches long overall.Inventory number 214106.
About William Cummens of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
William Cummens was born 1768 and died on April 20, 1834 at the age of 66. He worked in Roxbury as a clockmaker as early as 1789 through 1834. He was trained by Simon Willard and along with Elnathan Taber, Cummens stayed in Roxbury and made many clocks for his own clients while maintaining a close working relationship with the Willard family. In this Roxbury location, Cummens had direct access to the same suppliers, such case makers and dial painters that the Willards used. As a result, his clocks are very similar in form. He was one of the first persons authorized by Simon Willard to manufacture the new patent timepiece. Over the past 45 plus years in business, we have owned and sold many tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and wall timepieces signed by this important clockmaker. Very few tall case examples are found with his original set up label.
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