Caleb Wheaton. Clockmaker of Providence, Rhode Island. An inlaid mahogany case tall clock.
This example is in a finely proportioned mahogany case that features rich sweeping grain pattern and is highlighted with line inlays. This case stands on four delicately shaped an applied ogee bracket feet. The waist is long and narrow featuring a large rectangular shaped waist door. This door is decorated with a delicate line inlay pattern. This same inlay design is found in the base panel. The sides of the waist are fitted with fluted quarter columns that are stopped in brass. These columns terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a New England styled fret work top. Three fluted finial plinths help secure the frets to the arch or molded cornice. The three fluted plinths support the brass ball and spiked finials. The bonnet door is an arched form. It is fitted with glass. Fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns terminate in brass capitals. They are mounted one either side of the bonnet door.
The painted iron dial is decorated in black and features lacy spandrel decorations. The time ring that is traditionally formatted. Each of the hours are displayed with Roman numerals. Arabic numerals are used to indicate the five minute markers. This dial also displays the date of the month calendar and the seconds on subsidiary dials which are located inside the time track. Positioned in the arch is a lunar calendar or a moon phase mechanism. This automated feature is designed to to track the progress of the moon in the night sky. This dial is signed by the clockmaker in a Script format. It reads, "Caleb Wheaton Providence."
The time and strike weight driven movement is constructed in brass. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind and to strike each hour on a bell. It is good quality and will provide many years of service for the next owner.
This clock stands approximately 8 feet 1 inches tall and was made circa 1800.
About Caleb Wheaton of Providence, Rhode Island.
Caleb Wheaton (1757 -1827) set up shop in Providence, Rhode Island. His shop was located at 83 Main Street during the period 1785 – 1827. It is here that the Quaker Clock & Watchmaker advertised for sale clocks of his own manufacture, as well as imported watches “lately received from London.” He quickly established himself as a superlative maker of movements, some of which are found in wide range of exceptional Newport and Boston styled cases. Numerous examples have been found to date that incorporate various bonnet forms. They include a pagoda top, a swan’s neck pediment, a simple dome top and the traditional New England fret work form seen on this fine example. This diverse variety in case forms is a testament to his long working career. In 1810, he formed a partnership with one of his sons, possibly Calvin or Godfrey. In October, November and December of 1825, the firm Simon Willard and Son of Boston advertised in the “Rhode Island American” and “Providence Gazette” that Caleb Wheaton was an “Agent for vending their patent Time-peices.” Wheaton was one of the best known clockmakers of his time. He is best known for having made the clock in the tower of the First Baptist Meeting House. His long career yielded a large variety of clocks that were often made in collaboration with other clockmakers from different regions. Tall clocks and watches signed by this maker have been found.
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