Enoch Burnham of Paris, Maine. Tall case clock.

The style or form of this case is common to New England. This case is constructed in birch and has the traditional white pine secondary woods. It retains it’s original red wash finish that is in excellent condition. This fine example stands on flared French feet. The feet are nicely formed and have excellent height. The design incorporates a very subtle drop apron in the center of the base section. The rectangular waist door is fitted into the waist section. It is framed with an applied molding. The molding is finely reeded. The sides of the waist feature inset quarter columns. They are reeded as well and end in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a traditional New England style fret work top. The pattern is unusual and original to this clock. The frets are original to this clock and are supported by three reeded and capped chimney plinths. Three brass finials are mounted on top of the plinths. The bonnet columns ware also reeded and are mounted into brass capitals. These flank the bonnet door which is arched and fitted with glass. This door opens to access the painted dial.

This dial appears to be of Boston manufacture. It is an iron dial that is attached directly to the movement with out a false plate. It was most likely painted by the Willard & Nolen firm of Boston circa 1805. It is skillfully decorated featuring traditional themes for this period. The four spandrel areas are decorated with stylized urns. Fanciful gesso and gilt designs frame these details. In the arch, one will find a colorfully painted blue bird. Additional florals compliment the design. This dial is signed by the clockmaker below the calendar aperture. It reads, “Enoch Burnham, Paris,” in script lettering. The time track is displayed in an traditional format. The hour are scheduled with Roman numerals. The five minute markers are indicated in Arabic numerals. This dial also shows the seconds on a subsidiary dial and the date of the month in an aperture located below the center arbor.

The movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. It is weight driven and features a rack and snail strike system and a recoil escapement. The original tin can weights are still with this clock. The pendulum features a brass faced bob.

This case measures 7 feet 6.5 inches tall to the top of the center brass finial and was made circa 1805.

About Enoch Burnham of Paris and Westbrook, Maine.

It is not currently known where Enoch Burnham was born. It is now assumed that he was born in the area of Paris, Maine sometime around 1770. The town or village of Paris is located approximately 50 miles northwest of Portland in Oxford County. It is the county seat. It is a charming village having wonderful views of both Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Washington. Both of these mountains are in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The town is known for its excellent pastures and its orchards have thrived for years. It also benefits from having the Little Androscoggin River which provided water power for the industrious minded.

Burnham was well established as a clockmaker in Paris prior to 1800 and was the first clockmaker to work there. It is recorded that Burnham owned a considerable amount of land in this small farming community. He taught the trade to Augustus Bemis (q.v.) who in turn taught his brother Jonathan. Jonathan was born in Paris Hill in 1788 and died in Biddeford in 1851. (From the History of Paris, Oxford County, Maine: Wm. B. Lapham & Silas P. Maxim, 1884.) In the 1820s, Burnham is recorded as living in Westbrook, Maine until his death sometime before 1850.

Very few clocks by Burnham are known. Examples of signed Burnham clocks are difficult to come by. Most of the tall case clocks reported are signed on the dial. The place location is almost always listed as Paris. Two Westbrook examples are known. For a more complete listing of Maine clockmakers, please review Clockmakers & Clockmaking in Maine 1770 thru 1900, written by Joseph R. Katra Jr.


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