John Rogers of Newton, Massachusetts. A fine mahogany cased tall clock with a very unusual dial display and retaining power..

This sheet brass dial measures 13 inches across and is considered oversized compared to the more common 12 inch examples. The brass is engraved and the treated with a silver wash that is applied toto the surface. The engravings are skillfully executed and filled with black wax. The silver does not adhere to the wax and the contrast between the two colors is excellent. The dial features the very unusual combination of displaying the seconds, minutes, hours, day of the week, calendar day and the lunar calendar or phases of the moon. This example lacks spandrel decorations. In the arch of the dial is the Moon’s age. A two engraved moon faces are separated by a painted blue star-filled night sky. The top of the arch is titled, “MOON’S AGE.” The time ring displays the hours in Roman numerals. The five minute markers are indicated in each of the hour positions in an Arabic format. In addition, the calendar day date is engraved on the inside of this ring. The days are numbered 1-31. As a result, the unusual arrangement of three hands mounted off the center arbor is required. The minute and hour hand are a traditional form. The sweep calendar hand is also filed from steel and in in the form of an arrow. Within the time ring, at its base, is the Makers name “John Rogers / Newton”. In the center of the dial one will find a subsidiary seconds dial. Within it’s border is the inscription, “By faith improve / Each moment as it flies/ Consider what faith is / To him that Dies.” Beneath the center of the dial and visible through a large keystone aperture is a subsidiary disc which rotates to reveal the days of the week and the engraved images of Greek Gods and Goddesses; Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, etc., for the corresponding days.

Behind the dial, is a brass weight driven movement. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It will also strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The plates are supported with four turned posts and is supported by a seat or a saddle board. These plates are interesting because they retain a higher than normal copper content as is evident by the copper coloring. The front plate also is constructed in an usual shape. This plate has four ears. The strike train is actuated by a rack and snail striking arrangement. One may also notice an unusual lever mounted on the right side of the movement plate. This steel lever is part of a maintaining or retaining power arrangement and a slot for it is located on the dial for it to be accessed. By depressing this, a spring loaded pawl engages the the teeth on the first wheel, providing forward pressure on the time train. One would engage this before winding so that the movement continued to run forward while in the process of winding. This is an ingenious design. A fair number of clocks made in London by Thomas Tompion and Daniel Quare are set up with a similar arrangement. It is very unusual or seldom seen on American made clocks of this hand craftsmanship era. I can not remember seeing this on another New England made example. The pendulum features a wooden rod and a brass faced lead bob.

This is a fine mahogany cased clock that exhibits classic early pre-revolutionary New England proportions. This case stands up on four applied ogee bracket feet. These feet are nicely designed and raise the case up off the floor. The base features a mahogany panel that has its grain pattern positioned in a vertical formatting. The lower waist molding slightly overhangs this base panel. The waist section features a large tombstone waist door that exhibits an excellent selection of vertical positioned grain. This door is trimmed with an applied molding. The front corners of the waist a decorated with a simple molded edge. The hood or bonnet bonnet is a pagoda or bell top form. The center is fitted with a cast brass decoration that is inset. The casting pattern is pierced. Two finial plinths support large brass ball finials. The arch molding is nicely formed. It is visually supported by free standing hood columns. These are mounted in brass capitals. The back quarter columns are simply shaped and neatly fitted into the corners of the case. The sides of the hood feature tombstone shaped side lights. The bonnet door is also an arched form and fitted with glass. This door opens to access the dial.

This fine clock was made circa 1770. The overall height is approximately 94 inches tall. It is 23 inches wide and 11.5 inches deep at the arch molding.

About John Rogers of Newton, Massachusetts.

To the best of my knowledge, it is not difinetively known when and where John Rogers was born. One source speculates that John Rogers was born on May 9, 1724 in Boston the son of Gamaliel Rogers and Mercy (Emms) Rogers. A second possibility is presented in The History of Newton which states that John Rogers was a descendant of John Rogers the martyr who was burned at the stake. This would indicate that he was a descent from Rev. Nathaniel Rogers of Ipswich, who was said to be a descendant of John the martyr. We do know that he lived in Newton Corner and died in Newton on October 19, 1815 at the age of 91. He married twice. First to Hannah Williamson of Newton on December 11, 1745. Hanna was born October 9, 1723 and died June 8, 1779. Together, they had at least eleven children. John married a second time to Mary (Craft) Towbridge on October 1, 1780. She was on born April 11, 1731. John is found listed as a blacksmith and as a clockmaker. It is currently thought that he trained asa a clockmaker under Joseph Ward. John is Described as an ingenious man and made machines. He also held various town offices, including the position of selectman. In 1780, he served as a member of a committee to recruit solders. John maintained two shops. One was located in Newton and the other was in town of Waltham. It is recorded that he was involved in a number of business dealings with the clockmaker Benjamin Willard. One of which is a law suit he file against Willard. In about 1761, he made and gifted the gallery clock to the Congregational Church in Newton which is now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We have owned and sold a small number of tall clocks made by this maker over the last 50 years.

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