Daniel Burnap of East Windsor, Connecticut. A cherry case tall clock. RR33

This important cherry case tall clock was made by Daniel Burnap of East Windsor, Connecticut.

This fine cherry case retains an older finish. It stands on four nicely formed ogee bracket feet. The waist section is proportionally long. It is fitted with a shaped door that is trimmed with a molded edge. Fluted quarter columns that terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals are inset into the front corners of the case. There are four bonnet columns which visually support the arch of the bonnet. The two located at the back are smoothly turned. The front two columns share that same design as the quarter capitals in the waist except that they are free standing and whole. Above the arch is a solid fret and three fluted finial plinths that support the three finials. These finials are wood and have been turned in the form of urns. The bonnet door is an arched form and fitted with glass. It opens to access the engraved brass dial that retains an old silver wash.

Burnap’s dials are of unusually fine workmanship. He was also skillful engraver. This a fine representation of his work. The time ring is formatted with Roman numeral hour markers and Arabic style five minute markers. A subsidiary seconds dial is inset and positioned below the hour numeral twelve. The date of the month aperture is of the traditional form. This is positioned above the hour numeral six. This dial is signed by the Maker in the arch. It reads, “Daniel Burnap / East Windsor.”

The movement is brass and designed to run eight-day on a full wind. This clock strikes the hour on a cast iron bell. It is excellent quality.

This clock was made circa 1785 and stands approximately 7 feet 5 inches tall. It is inventory number RR-33.

About Daniel Burnap of East Windsor, Andover, and Coventry, Connecticut. A clockmaker, silversmith, engraver, and instrumentmaker.

Daniel Burnap was the son of Captain Abraham and Susan (Wright) Burnap. He was born in Coventry (now Andover), Connecticut, on November 1, 1759. Burnap is listed in numerous clock reference materials as an apprentice of Thomas Harland’s. Harland was a very talented English-born clockmaker who settled in the village of Norwich in 1773. It is now thought that Burnap arrived at Harland’s door in 1774 with a fair amount of clock training already learned. The relatively short period of time Burnap stayed in Norwich would not have been long enough to learn the complete art of clockmaking. We speculate that Burnap may have learned the skills of engraving, silversmithing, and musical tall clock manufacturing at Harland’s shop. The mystery remains, who provided the groundwork of knowledge to Burnap before he trained with Harland? Burnap settled in the town of East Windsor sometime before 1775 and was working as a journeyman. By 1776, he had built the homestead located a few rods north of Bissell’s Tavern in East Windsor. Soon, Burnap was active making clocks and training apprentices of his own. His most well-known apprentice is Eli Terry, who became Connecticut’s most famous clockmaker. Terry was a pioneer in the development of mass-production techniques in this country. He is credited with being the first person in America to manufacture goods, or more specifically clocks, that had interchangeable parts. Other apprentices that Burnap trained include Daniel Kellogg, Harvey Sadd, Abel Bliss, Lewis Curtis, Nathaniel Olmsted, Levi Pitkin, Flavel Bingham, Ela Burnap, Thomas Lyman, and Daniel Porter. Interestingly, we owned a Burnap tall clock movement engraved with Daniel Porter’s name on the front plate. The presence of this engraving suggests that Porter signed the works of the clock while working for Burnap as an apprentice. We have also owned a signed Burnap dial that has evidence of Porter practicing his engraving skills on the back. Burnap’s East Windsor clock cases are somewhat similar. Many of these cases were supplied by the East Windsor cabinetmaker Simeon Loomis. In 1782, Burnap married Deliverance Kingsbury. They did not have any children. In 1795, Daniel began to purchase land in his hometown of Coventry. While Daniel’s land/house was in the town of Coventry, it was also within the borders of the Andover Ecclesiastical Society, which existed as early as 1747 and included parts of Coventry, Hebron, and Lebanon. When Andover became a town in 1848, it simply took the same boundaries as had been defined the society. In 1798, Burnap built a sawmill there, and this became a major source of his income. It appears that he maintained his East Windsor shop for a time while living 20 miles away in Coventry. He did this until 1805, when he closed the East Windsor shop.

Daniel Burnap was an active and respected citizen. He was for many years a Justice of the Peace and held court in a spacious room on the first floor of this house. In his later years, Burnap gave up his shop and fitted up a room in the attic of the house where he could keep busy at the less arduous kinds of work such as engraving and repairing watches. He died in 1838 at the age of seventy-eight, a prosperous and respected citizen.

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