E. Howard & Co., Boston, MA. Model No. 1. "Regulator." "Watchmakers', Bank and Public Office Clock." The movement is stamped "A. Howard / Boston."
This very impressive wall timepiece is called the E. Howard Model Number 1. It was manufactured by the E. Howard & Company of Boston, Massachusetts. It was originally marketed as a regulator for watchmakers and was also advertised as being, "Well adapted for banks, insurance offices and large rooms." This is a very early example. This clock must have been made either during or shortly after the transition from the Howard & Davis firm to the E. Howard Clock Company.
The E. Howard & Company offered five graduating sizes of this very popular banjo form. This example is the largest of the five sizes measuring 4 feet 2 inches long. For comparison, the smallest example of the banjo measures 29 inches and is called the Model Number 5.
Traditionally, all the banjo cases are constructed in cherry and are finished with a faux grain pattern that is executed in india ink. This treatment was done to simulate the rich grain pattern found in rosewood. This example has been lightly treated and some of this decoration remains. The wooden frames are retain their original reverse painted tablets or glasses. This example features a traditional black and gold pattern that is usually associated with the Howard & Davis firm. There are a number of references where this color combination were requested even into the 1890’s. The weight driven movement is constructed in brass and is excellent quality. It is designed to run eight days on a full winding. It features a Graham Dead Beat Escapement, a Geneva Stop winding mechanism and maintaining power or retaining power gearing. The "A. HOWARD / BOSTON" name is die-stamped into the front plate. The plates are cut in the shape of a trapezoid. They are highly finished and retain their original damascene deign. The brass pendulum bob is decorated with an engraved ring turned design. This bob is supported by the original wooden rod which is gilded. The rood hangs from a bridge that is mounted to the front of the movement. The original weight is cast in iron and is stamped with the number "1."
The dial measures 12 inches in diameter. The pan is steel and the graphics are on paper. The paper is applied to the steel backing. This paper dial is in outstanding original condition. It is signed by the Maker in a script format. This model, again the largest size, features a subsidiary seconds dial with in the time track. The other four Howard banjo models do not. The hours are indicated in Roman style numerals. This dial is signed in script lettering by the Maker. The working location of "BOSTON" is presented in a block format below it.
This clock was made circa 1858 and is an excellent example. It is considered a very accurate time keeper. It is inventory number TT-177.
Albert Howard was born in Hingham, Massachusetts on May 20, 1833 and died in Dorchester, MA on January 1, 1893. He was a cousin of Edward Howard's and trained in the clock balance factory of Howard & Davis. In fact he spent most of his working career involved with the various Howard Clock Companies. At the age of 22, he is listed in the Massachusetts Census as a clockmaker living in Roxbury. In 1857-58, he is listed in the Boston Directories as a clock and balance maker located at 109 Washington Street. It is interesting to note that this is also the same address that Samuel Curtis and Edward Howard listed as their address during this year. In 1858, he is again listed but as a "Clockmaker at Edward Howard's." He married Susan Kingman in Boston on May 11, 1859. In 1881, Albert became the general manager of the E. Howard Watch & Clock Company and at the time of his death, he was the superintendent.
Several wall clock examples are known signed by this Maker. A small number of clocks signed E. Howard are found with his die-stamp on the movement.
About Edward Howard of Boston, Massachusetts.
The E. Howard Clock Company has an outstanding reputation for making high quality weight driven wall timepieces, standing regulators, public clocks and electro-mechanical master and watchman clocks.
The E. Howard & Company succeeded the Howard & Davis firm in 1857. The Howard and Davis firm was comprised of Edward Howard and David P. Davis and was established in 1842. Both men served their apprenticeship with Aaron Willard Jr of Boston. This firm was involved in watch and clock manufacturing since 1842. This firm also made high grade clocks, precision balances, sewing machines and fire engines. After the dissolution of Howard and Davis, Edward Howard went on to become Boston’s leading manufacture of weight driven clocks. This included residential clocks, commercial clocks and tower clocks. They also sold a large number of watchman and salve clock systems. These sold well in the late 1800’s.
It has been said that the E. Howard Clock company never made an inexpensive clock and that everything they made was of very good quality. As a result, Howard clocks have become very collectible and are prized by their owners. Today, the E. Howard clock name enjoys outstanding name recognition.
For a more in depth reading of E. Howard and his various businesses, please read Paul Foley’s book, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces.
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