Simon Willard of Boston, Massachusetts. A fantastic reproduction of a Lighthouse Clock.
This is a faithful reproduction of a lighthouse clock. In my opinion, this example was made with the intention of deceiving the original buyer into thinking that it was a first period example. The case was constructed with old wood. As a result, the veneers exhibit a vibrant grain pattern and the interior surfaces show appropriate oxidation and age. In addition, the form is excellent. It has a very pleasing presence.
The lighthouse clock was invented by Simon Willard to house his newly patented alarm that was granted in 1822. Of the examples now know, no two cases are identical in shape suggesting that they were made one at a time. All of them were fitted with a glass dome that was mounted to the top of the case. This provides a cover for the movement and protected it from dust. In addition, because it was glass, one could view the inner workings of the mechanism. It is interesting to note that the movements from one example to another can exhibit a number of variations. Many were constructed as timepieces and a small number these were fitted with a passing strike. A fair number survive with their alarms mechanisms in tact. It is interesting to note the the alarm hammer could be set up to hit the bell which was usually mounted above the movement or rap on the wooden case. Another interesting set up choice was the inclusion of a rocking ship which would be displayed above the dial. Today, the original clocks are prized by collectors. As a result, the form has been reproduced.
This hand built case stands on three brass ball feet that are applied to the bottom of the case. The base section is constructed in the form of octagon. The front panel is fitted with an ormolu mount in the form of a victory wreath. A skillfully turned molding transitions the octagon form up to a tapered circular waist section. This panel features a quality selection of mahogany veneer. The top of the clock is fitted with a wonderfully shaped glass dome. This dome is removable so that one can access the movement and dial.
The slightly convex dial on this example is brass and fitted into a brass decorative ring turned bezel. The brass dial is engraved with Simon Willard’s name and the his working location of "ROXBURY." It also features Roman style figures that mark the hours. The front surface is treated with a silver wash that provides an excellent contrast between the hands and the dial surface. The hands are skillfully made and feature arrow pointers.
The time only movement is constructed in brass and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is powered by a large lead weight that descends through the center of the case. Two large rectangular plates that are rounded at the top are supported by four turned posts. The brass gearing is suspended by steel shafts. The pinions are hardened and turned smooth. The escapement is a recoil design and the pendulum hangs from the back of the movement suspended on a post. This clock is fitted with a passing strike. This means that a hammer will strike the bell mounted above the movement once each hour. It is returned to position by the tension in the fitted coil spring.
It is my guess that this clock was made 50 to100 years ago. It stands approximately 28.5 inches tall to the top of the finial on the dome. It is 9.25 inches wide and 9.25 inches deep. This clock is inventory number 216080. It truly is excellent quality.
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