Samuel Mulliken (1761-1847) Newburyport, Massachusetts. A butternut case tall clock.

This butternut case tall clock was made by Samuel Mulliken of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

This unusual example features an unusual case form that is found occasionally in this region of New England. Another example that comes to mind is a tall case clock made by John Foss in Somersworth, New Hampshire that we own. The presentation is very similar. This case discussed here is constructed in butternut and retains an older surface. The mellow color is quite desirable. The case is supported by an applied bracket molding that is applied to the bottom of the base. This molding also forms the feet as it is cut open rom the bottom. An interesting detail is the small drop in the center of the overall design. The base section is somewhat compressed in relation to the long waist section and the boldly formatted hood. This is the tradition of the early New England case forms. The waist section is long and is simply formed, not having quarter columns which become more commonly found on later case designs. The large waist door is nicely shaped at the top and is trimmed along its’ perimeter with a molded edge. Access to the interior of the case is granted through this door. Behind the door are the two lead weights and the brass faced pendulum. The molded arched bonnet or hood features an unusual crest. It is finished with a swan’s neck pediment. The arches arches are heavily formed. Three cast brass wine cup finials decorate the top. It is evident on close inspection that the arch molding is hand carved. This design element is visually supported by four fully turned bonnet columns. All four are smoothly turned. These terminate at each end in wooden turned capitals. Wide tombstone shaped side lights are cut into the side of the bonnet. These openings are fitted with glass and provide visual access to the movement. The bonnet door is arched in form and also fitted with glass. It opens to access the composite brass dial.

This style of dial predates the painted dial form. It is composed of a brass sheet and is decorated with six applied matching cast brass Rococo style spandrels, a centrally fitted name boss in the arch, an engraved time or chapter ring, an engrave seconds register, an aperture for the calendar day and a decoratively engraved center. This dial is signed by the maker in the name boss. The engraved decorations in the center are wonderful executed and worth pointing out. The engraved time ring retains a subtle silver cast. Please note the wonderful shaping of the hands.

The movement is constructed in brass and is weight driven. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind and strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The striking system features a rack and snail set up. The cast iron bell is mounted above the movement. The movement is good quality.

This rare clock was made circa 1780. The case stands approximately 85.5 inches tall (7 feet 1.5 inches) to the top of the center finial. The bonnet is 20 inches wide and 9.5 inches deep.

About Samuel (II) Mulliken of Haverhill ,Newburyport, Lynn and Salem, Massachusetts.

Samuel Mulliken II was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts the son of John Mulliken and Susanna Huse (1735-1820) on April 9th,1765. He is a member of a very important family of American Clockmakers. It is thought that he was trained as a clockmaker and as an engraver by his distant cousin Jonathan Mulliken (1746-1782) of Newburyport. Jonathan died in 1782. Samuel married Jonathan’s widow, Susannah (Pearson) Mulliken a year later in 1783. Samuel’s Newburyport clockshop was located on State Street. Here he he continued to manufacture clocks and engrave clock dials. He aslo developed business relationship with the Willards from Roxbury agreeing to sell Simon’s Patented Clock Jacks. In 1789, Samuel moved from Newburyport to Lynn, Massachusetts and then the following year to Salem, Massachusetts. In Salem, Samuel advertises himself as a merchant. In 1796 he moves back to Lynn and becomes the towns postmaster in 1803. Samuel dies in Lynn in 1847. Examples of brass and white dial shelf clocks are known. One brass dial shelf clock is currently in the Peabody Essex Museum Collection in Salem Massachusetts.

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