John Bailey II of Hanover, Massachusetts. A maple case tall clock.

This country maple case tall clock was made by John Bailey II of Hanover of Massachusetts.

John Bailey II was born the son of John and Ruth Randall Bailey on May 6th, 1751. He learned clockmaking at a very young age is responsible for training numerous apprentices such as his younger brothers Calvin and Lebbeus as well as Joshua Wilder, his son John III, Joseph Gooding, Ezra Kelley and Hingham’s Joshua Wilder. He was the most prolific of the six Baileys that were involved in the clock business. John was a Quaker. Over the years, we have owned a fair number of clocks made by him. Some of which included numerous tall case clocks, dwarf clocks and the Massachusetts shelf clock form.

This long case example exhibits excellent Southeastern Massachusetts proportions. The case wood is maple and features an older mellow honey colored finish. It is quite pleasing. The secondary wood is New England white pine. It is interesting to note that this example bears the inscription for the originally owner who appears to have been a Lieutenant. Unfortunately, the name is not legible.

This case stands on applied bracket feet. The center of this molding features a simple drop pendant. The waist door is a rectangular shape and trimmed with a molded edge around its perimeter. Through this door one can access the two weights and brass faced pendulum bob. The bonnet door is arched and fitted with glass. It is flanked by fully turned and fluted bonnet columns. These are mounted in brass capitals. The bonnet features a traditional New England Style lacy fret work pattern that is supported by three fluted chimney plinths. Each of these fluted plinths is surmounted with a brass ball and spiked finial.

The simply engraved brass dial has been silvered. The time ring, featuring large Roman numeral hour markers, smaller Arabic five minute markers , subsidiary seconds dial and an engraved name boss are filled with wax. The wax is black and contrasts nicely with the silver finish of the dial. The Maker’s signature and working location are engraved in the arch of the dial. It reads, “John Bailey / Hanover” in a script format. It is interesting to note that the spandrel areas are not decorated with engravings.

The movement is brass and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is powered by two weights that descend inside the case behind the waist door. This movement is also designed to strike each hour via a countwheel striking system. It will strike each hour on a bell. The bell is mounted above the movement inside the case. The plates have been skeletonized. The winding drums are wood. This movement is good quality.

This clock was made circa 1795. This wonderful simple case stands approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall to the top of the center finial.

This clock is inventory number 211067.

About John Bailey II of Hanover, Massachusetts.

John Bailey II of Hanover, Massachusetts. A quaker clockmaker. An exceptional mechanic and an inventor.

John Bailey II was born in Hanover, Massachusetts the son of John (A shipbuilder) and Ruth Randall Bailey on May 6, 1751. He died there 72 years later on January 23, 1823. It is thought that he learned clockmaking at a very young age and may have been self taught. John is responsible for training numerous apprentices. Many of which include his younger brothers Calvin and Lebbeus, his son John III, Joseph Gooding, Ezra Kelley and Hingham’s Joshua Wilder. Many of these trained apprentices moved to other south eastern Massachusetts towns and become well known to their local communities. John was the most prolific maker of the six Baileys that were involved in the clock business. He was Quaker preacher and an ingenious mechanic as well as an instrument maker. In addition to clocks, a surveyor’s compass is known and is now in the Hanover Historical Society’s collection. He was also an inventor and received a patent for a steam operated roasting jack. This device was designed to turn meat over a fire in order to cook it more evenly.

John’s clocks are loosely broken down into two categories. The first is a home developed style. Often these examples have sheet brass dials that are engraved and treated with a silver wash. Several examples have been found with movements that are constructed in wood. Others are constructed in brass and the plates are fully skeletonized. Some of these incorporate wooden winding drums. It is interesting to note that he made both types of strike trains. We have seen examples signed by him that feature a count wheel set up and also the more popular rack and snail. Very few clockmakers used both set ups. The cases are typically constructed in indigenous woods that include maple and cherry. These examples have pleasing country proportions and lack the sophistication of the Roxbury school. Sometime around 1790, the Roxbury / Boston influence must have played a big role in John’s production. The movements on these examples are more apt to incorporate fully plated movements. In addition, the cases resemble those being turned out by the Willard School. These feature mahogany cases and are often decorated with inlays. The second generation of output is much more formal in appearance.

Over the years, we have owned a fair number of clocks made by him. Some of which included numerous tall case clocks, dwarf clocks and the Massachusetts shelf clock form.

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