Elnathan Taber of Roxbury, Massachusetts. A labeled inlaid mahogany case tall clock featuring a rocking ship automated dial.
Elnathan Taber was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on February 14, 1768. He is the older brother of Stephen Taber. Both brothers traveled to Roxbury and were trained as clockmakers by the Willards. After serving his apprenticeship, Elnathan stayed in Roxbury and worked closely with his mentor Simon. They had a prosperous working relationship and he became one of Willards most famous apprentices. We have owned and sold numerous tall case clocks made by this Maker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks and coffin clocks as well as several Massachusetts shelf clock forms.
This is a labeled example. The Clockmaker's paper set up label can be found pasted to the inside of the waist door. This paper label measures approximately 3.5 inches tall and 4 inches wide. It is in good overall condition having some areas of loss around its perimeter. Very few clock cases were originally labeled. Even fewer remain with their cases. This is a very nice piece of the clock’s history.
This line inlaid mahogany case stands on four applied ogee bracket feet. These are delicately formed and are secured to a double stepped molding located at the bottom of the base. The base panel is cross banded around its perimeter. The wood selected for this cross banded detail exhibits good striping in the grain. This banding frames a mahogany veneered panel. The grain exhibited here is features a long sweeping pattern that is laid out in a vertical format. The sub-structure behind the veneered has moved over time. As a result, the veneer has stretched and now exhibits a number of age splits. They are now stable and greatly to the character of this wonderful antique. The cross banding and the veneered panel are separated by a simple double line inlay pattern of light and dark stringing. This same pattern is used again in the design of the long rectangular waist door. This waist door is fitted with an applied molding along its perimeter. The mahogany veneer selected for this prominent location also features a long vertical grain pattern. The sides of this case are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet is a fretwork style surmounted with three ball and spike finials. They are mounted on fluted plinths that are capped at the top. The bonnet columns are also brass stop fluted and terminate in brass Doric shaped capitals. These columns visually support the molded arch molding. The hood sides present tombstone shaped side windows. These are fitted with glass and provide visual access to the movement. The bonnet door is an arched form and is line inlaid. This door opens to access the wonderfully painted iron dial.
This iron dial is of Boston manufacture and is very colorfully paint decorated. It was most likely painted by Spencer Nolen based on other known signed examples. The four spandrel areas feature geometric designs that are colored in gold, green and red. The automated feature of a rocking ship is located in the arch of this dial. The painted ship is depicted flying two large American flags. This ship actually moves or rocks gently from side to side with the motion of the pendulum. The painted scene behind the sailing ship includes a large meetinghouse which is built out on a peninsula to the right. This nautical theme is painted on a convex piece of metal which adds to the visual depth to the scene. This is nicely executed. The hours, minutes, seconds and calendar day are all displayed in a traditional format. This dial is signed by the Maker, “WARRANTED / E. Taber “ in large block lettering just below the calendar aperture.
The movement of this clock is constructed in brass and is very 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.
This beautiful clock was made circa 1805. It stand approximately 8 feet 1 inches tall (97 inches) to the top of the center finial. This clock is inventory number TT-137.
About Elnathan Taber Roxbury, Massachusetts
Elnathan Taber was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on February 14, 1768. He is the older brother of Stephen Taber. Both brothers traveled to Roxbury and were trained as clockmakers by the Willards. After serving his apprenticeship, Elnathan stayed in Roxbury and worked closely with his Mentor Simon. They had a prosperous working relationship and he became one of Willards most famous apprentices. We have owned and sold numerous tall case clocks made by this maker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks and coffin clocks as well as several Massachusetts shelf clock forms.
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