"Willard's Patent." An unsigned Massachusetts Timepiece of Boston origin. 219094

This is a fine Federal Massachusetts timepiece or “Banjo clock” made in Boston circa 1815.

Simon Willard famously patented his revolutionary timepiece design in 1802. This U.S. Patent, signed by President Thomas Jefferson, provided Simon a period of fourteen years to produce this form exclusively. Simon’s newly engineered wall hanging timepiece changed the clock market very quickly. This clock form is compact, reliable and an accurate eight-day time keeper.

This clock case exhibits many of the construction characteristics that one likes to find in examples made in the Boston area. The clock case is constructed in mahogany. The head is uniformly cut out to provide space for the movement. The glue blocking is small, well formed and positioned in the traditional locations.

The front or frames of this case are gilded and fitted with gilded ropes. The gilding has been painted over with gold paint. The side arms and bezel are cast in brass. They are both a Boston form and are nicely shaped. The gilded eagle finial is carved from wood and is an excellent form. This finial is a replacement.

Both of the frames are fitted with paint decorated glass tablets. These egloimise tablets are hand painted with a very high level of skill. They have had some areas of restoration. This restoration work was professionally done and focused in the border or mustard color field. The throat glass features several gilt designs and patterns. The crosshatching over a red field is an early deign. The banner at the bottom of this glass reads “Willard’s Patent” over the green background. This pays homage to Simon’s design. The lower tablet is painted in many of the same colors. This depicts a patriotic scene. It is titled, “CAPTURE OF THE CYANE & LEVANT.” This was an action that took place at the end of the War or 1812. Both the HMS Cyane and the HMS Levant engaged the USS Constitution off the coast on Madeira on February 20, 1815. Both the Cyane & Levant surrendered to the Constitution after broadside exchanges. This tablet is also decorated with a number of themes. The American shield with the American eagle above it is centered here.

The enameled painted iron dial is actually a convex form. It is hand painted and features and closed minute track. Roman style numerals mark each hour. The hour and minute hands are made of steel. They are expertly hand filed and have been blued.

The time only weight driven movement is brass construction. It is an eight-day design and is weight driven. The movement construction features large rectangular shaped brass plates, step train gearing and a dead-beat escapement. The teeth in the gear train are deeply cut. The pendulum is supported from a T-bridge suspension. The movement was originally mounted to the back of the case with two through bolts. These have been replaced with screws.

This is very attractive Federal Massachusetts Timepiece or ‘Banjo clock’ was made circa 1815. This clock measures approximately 35 inches long.


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