Daniel Oyster of Reading, Pennsylvania. An important late Chippendale tall case clock.

This fine example exhibits modest proportions for a clock case constructed with strong Germanic influences. The case is constructed in solid walnut and features many Chippendale features throughout it’s construction. The wood used is well planned and choice selections are prominently displayed in the main focal points of the case.

This case stands on four applied ogee bracket feet. These are nicely formed and feature a nice bend on the knee and a single return. They are applied to the base board and base molding of the clock case. Centered in the base section is an applied panel that is trimmed with a molded edge. This panel is fancifully shaped. Large waist moldings help transition the waist section from the base and bonnet. This waist section is long and narrow. The sides of the waist are inset with fluted quarter columns that terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. The waist door is a tombstone shape and features a a subtle carving at the top. Through this door, one can access the weights and pendulum. The bonnet is a swans neck pediment form. This upper molding is boldly formed and terminates in large carved wooden rosettes. The bonnet is surmounted with three wooden urn shaped finials. The applied key below the center finial is carved. The arch above the hood door is decorated with a band of inlay that alternates in light and dark wood. This banding continues around the side of the hood to the back of the case. The dove tail construction of this hood is left exposed on the sides. The hood sides are also fitted with tomb-stone shaped windows. These are fitted with glass. Fully turned bonnet columns ending in wooden capitals flank the arched glazed door which opens to a colorfully painted iron dial.

This painted dial has the traditional displays of hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date. It also incorporates a lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism in the arch. The four spandrel areas are decorated with colorful florals. The Maker’s name and working location, “READING” are panted boldly across the center of this dial. This dial is in excellent original condition.

The movement is constructed in brass and is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It will also strike each hour on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement. It is good quality.

This fine clock stands approximately 103.5 inches tall. It was made circa 1810.

About Daniel of Reading, PA. Oyster

Daniel Oyster was born in 1766 the youngest child of Samuel (1734-1767) and Margaret (Pennebacker) Oyster (1735-1808). He was one of four children. His father died when he was just a year old and as a result, Daniel is said to have been raised by his uncle, Daniel Yoder. In 1792, he married Catherine Rose. Catherine’s brother was the clockmaker Daniel Rose. It is also first recorded in 1792 that Daniel is listed as a clockmaker. His shop was located on Fifth Street between Franklin and Chestnut. Daniel died on October 8th, 1845 leaving behind a fair number of clocks. In fact, it is thought that he may have made more clocks than any other Reading, PA clockmaker. Examples of his clocks are illustrated in several horological references, including; Berks County Tall Case Clocks 1750-1850 coordinated by Richard S. & Rosemary B. Machmer; Pennsylvania Clockmakers, Watchmakers & Allied Crafts by Whisker; and Pennsylvania Clocks & Watches, Antique Timepieces and Their Makers by Gibbs.

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