Charles Alva Smith Clockmaker from Brattleboro, Vermont. No. 368.
This Vermont made treasure measures approximately 26 inches long from the top of the bonnet to the bottom of the pendulum. The back board is 13 inches tall and 6.75 inches wide. This clock sits out from the wall 5.25 inches. The case is constructed in maple exhibiting a tiger maple grain pattern.
This very attractive example is signed and dated. It was made in July of 1943 and is numbered 368. The case is constructed in maple which exhibits bold tiger striping. The grain pattern in tiger maple is interesting and is enhanced with a honey tinted finish. This case is also inlaid. The pattern is a linear from that is built from concentric squares. This pattern frames the perimeters of the backboard and the front of the hood. The case joinery is tight and well executed. The wooden geared movement is wonderfully made and nicely detailed. It features a roller verge. Windows in the sides of the case allow one to inspect the gearing with out removing the hood. This clock is powered by a weight that is decoratively designed. It features an eight sided wooden canister that is decorated with line inlays and is nicely constructed. The length of the run is determined by the length of the drop. From a normal mounting position, this clock will run almost two days. This drive system requires a counter weight. This is also constructed in wood and is decorated. The pendulum bob is also inlaid. An inlaid star is centered in the bob which is suspended by a turned and nicely shaped wooden rod. The dial is paper and applied to a wooden backboard. The black illustrates Smith’s drafting skills. Small florals are located in the lower corners. They are now somewhat faint. The hands are shaped in maple and indicate the time on a time ring that features Roman style hour numerals.
This very decorative example is signed and dated. It is numbered 368. Apparently, all of his production is signed, dated and numbered.
About Charles Alvah Smith of Brattleboro, Vermont.
Charles Alvah Smith was a maker of very interesting wooden cased and wooden geared clocks. He was born on his grandfathers farm in Guilford, Vermont on November 3, 1866. His parents, Sanford Alvah Smith and Ellen (Hunt) Smith had three children. His father Sanford, owned and operated a business that made carriages for children and later other various wood products likes wooden sleds, tricycles and children’s toys. Charles joined this business in 1889 and quickly moved up through the company ranks. It is here that he learned the trade of fine woodworking. Sometime around 1820, Charles retired after 35 years of being involved in the family business. While in retirement, he developed many relationships with various local business enterprises as a designer. A clever person, he was award as many as six patents that are mechanical in nature. One patent is for a foot pedal starter used in an automobile. A patent second was for a circular woodcutting table saw. An example of his involvement with local businesses was his involvement with the Franklin Motor Car Company. He advised their planning and production divisions.
Charles was a Yankee. He collected scraps of wood from his furniture making business and began to make clocks in his home workshop. He first presented them as gifts and soon went into production sometime in 1931 until his death in 1946. During this time he produced approximately 614 clocks. Each clock he made from start to finish. He made the entire clock to his very high quality standards. For additional information regarding his interesting person, please read, Charles Alvah Smith: Vermont Maker of Unusual Wood Clocks, written by John M. Anderson. This is a soft cover, 60 plus page description of this ingenious Yankee clockmaker which was published by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) in December of 1990.
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