An important Hepplewhite tall case clock with a painted iron dial that is boldly signed by Baltimore, Maryland clockmaker, Samuel Keplinger. TT207

This cross-banded veneered case features a traditional Boston, Massachusetts form and is constructed on a grand scale. The case exhibits excellent proportions and features the finest crotch mahogany veneers available. The base is elevated on four cutout bracket feet. The feet and the central drop apron are visually separated from the base by a delicate applied molding. The front of the base panel is veneered with a highly figured selection of mahogany that is laid out in a vertical format. This is framed with a cross-banded border of mahogany. The waist is long and features a rectangular-shaped waist door. This door provides access to the interior of the case. Through this door, one will find the brass-covered pendulum bob and two drive weights. The door is designed with a large inset panel that is veneered with an outstanding selection of crotch mahogany. The framing is veneered in a cross-banded format. This design creates a step that adds dimension to the door. The front corners of the waist are fitted with reeded quarter columns. These terminate at both ends in brass quarter capitals. The lower capitals are mounted on figured veneered plinths. The bonnet features an open fretwork design surmounted by three cast brass ball and spiked finials. The supporting plinths are also reeded. Each is fitted with a cap at the top. Fully turned and reeded bonnet columns support the upper bonnet molding. These are mounted in brass capitals and flank the bonnet or hood door. The arched bonnet door is fitted with glass.

This colorfully painted iron dial was manufactured in England by the Walker & Hughes firm. It is fitted with a cast-iron false plate signed by this dial firm. The dial is oversized, measuring 14.25 inches across and 20.25 inches in height. In the arch of this dial, one will find the automated feature of a moon phase or lunar calendar. The four spandrel areas are decorated with colorfully painted scenes depicting separate themes. I believe the scenes represent Family, Justice, Religion, and Commerce. The time ring is laid out with large Roman-style hours numerals. The quarter-hour increments are demarked with Arabic numerals. The subsidiary seconds dial and a calendar dial are featured in their traditional locations. This dial is signed by the clockmaker, “S. Keplinger / Baltimore,” in old English lettering across the middle of the dial.

The weight-driven movement is constructed in brass and is of good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight-driven and intended to run for eight days on a full wind. It is a two-train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell mounted above the movement.

This wonderful clock was made circa 1815 and stands approximately 8 feet 8 inches (104 inches) tall to the top of the center finial. This is a very impressive height. Measured at the upper bonnet molding, the hood is 20 inches wide and 10 inches deep.

TT-207

About Samuel Keplinger of Baltimore, Maryland.

Samuel Keplinger is recorded as being born sometime in 1770 and died in 1849. He is listed as working first in Frederick County Co. Maryland about 1800. Then he is found in Gettysburg 1806 -1807. Lastly he is located in Baltimore by 1811 through 1841. Keplinger is listed as a clock and watchmaker . He was also a retailer and a merchant. Numerous advertisements of his business survive due to the preservation of newspapers. They suggest that he did a far amount of business. He advertised a need for a journeyman or two, a servant and a cook. He also advertised having Willard’s patent timepieces in stock. A patent was granted to him for the manufacture of watch chains in 1820. He patented a machine to make the chains.

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