Reuben Tower of Kingston, Massachusetts. A tall case clock.
This fine example has outstanding proportions. The case is veneered in figured mahogany that exhibits excellent grain patterns. The finish is clean and consistent and accentuates the flowing grain in the wood. The case stands on four flared French feet. They are nicely formed and have excellent height. Please note the nicely shaped apron that transitions between the feet. The base features a beautifully figured mahogany veneered front panel. This panel is framed with a wide cross banded border. An intricate lightwood inlay separates this framing from the central panel. This design element is repeated in the construction of the waist door. This door is fitted with a delicate applied molding that trims the outer edge. The front corners of this waist section feature inset quarter columns. Theses terminate in brass quarter capitals. The hood or bonnet is surmounted by three capped finial plinths or chimneys. They are surmounted by three brass ball and spike finials. The plinths also help support a most attractive pierced and open fret work. This design is traditionally found in New England. Fully turned and nicely reeded bonnet columns are mounted in brass capitals. These flank the bonnet door. The bonnet or hood door is fitted with glass and opens to allow access the the painted iron dial.
This dial is of Boston manufacture and was most likely painted by the Curtis & Nolen firm of Boston circa 1820. It is skillfully decorated in bright colors and features traditional themes for this period. The four spandrel areas are decorated with stylized shells. A colorfully painted floral basket is featured prominently in the arch. This dial is enthusiastically signed by the clockmaker below the calendar aperture. It reads, "Rueben Tower / Kingston." The time track is framed with a gilt circle and features Roman hour style numerals. The quarter hours are an Arabic format. A subsidiary seconds dial is located below the Roman numeral XII. This painted iron dial is attached directly to the movement with out the use of a false plate.
This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass 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 two train or 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. The original tin can weights are still with this clock. The pendulum features a brass faced bob.
This case measures approximately 7 feet 8 inches tall to the top of the center brass finial and was made circa 1820.
About Reuben Tower of Hingham, Kingston and Hanover Massachusetts.
Reuben Tower was born in Hingham, Massachusetts on July 3rd, 1795. His parents were Isaiah Tower (1766-1809) and Hannah Jacob (1771-1844). It is believed that he served his apprenticeship to Hingham Clockmaker and neighbor Joshua Wilder. He first worked in Hingham from about 1815 to 1821. While in Hingham, he married Rebecca Hathaway on December 2nd, 1819. Rueben Tower moved several times in his lifetime. In 1822, he is listed in the Plymouth County Deeds as Clockmaker living in Kingston. In 1826, he is listed as a Clockmaker working in Hanover and then in 1830 as a Silversmith in this location. In 1831, he moved back to Hingham where he died on October 27, 1881. A small number of clocks made by this maker have been found. Many of which are the dwarf form but also include tall clocks, wall timepieces, shelf clocks and mirror clocks. Currently, the Hingham Public Library in Hingham, Massachusetts is displaying a tall clock made by him.
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