E. Howard & Co., Boston, MA. Model No. 86. Wall Regulator. Boston, Massachusetts. Ordered in June of 1890.

This is E. Howard’s model No. 86. This example was constructed in June of 1890 and is date stamped inside the cherry case. It is also engraved on the great wheel, “Set up 6:1890 – L. P. Emerson Roxbury, Mass.” We have been unable to positively identify this clock in the Howard records. Three clock are recorded in 1890 before the month of June. The first example was sent to Maine in March. A second clock was made also in March and was sent to the Boston Office. That clock was to have a mercury pendulum. The third clock was made in June. The record states that it was to have a mercury pendulum and a minute contact. It was also not to have a hole in the seconds circle. The case was to be made of quarter sawn oak and stained to match the sample sent. This clock was ordered out of the Chicago Office on June 11th. It had to be shipped out within 5 weeks and was sent on July 19. This order presents two problems. The order states that case was to be constructed in quarter sawn oak and stained to match the sample sent. The clock offered here is constructed in cherry. I speculate that the sample provided closely resembled the color of cherry and as a result, the case was constructed in that wood. The second issue is the hole in the seconds dial found on this clock. The ordered clock specifically states that there is not to be a hole located in this location. The clock offered here does have this feature. I believe that it is smart to have this visual access in the dial if you are fitting the movement with an electrical contact. The viewing hole provides the user a window into the contact point. This must have been discussed but not recorded on the original order. All of the other requirements of the order were met in the construction of this clock.

The finish and color are excellent. Cherry wood features a warm color when finished in this manner. The long pendants on the front of the door are veneered with a decorative burl. This case is decorated with a variety of carvings and architectural details. Carved florals, flutes, pyramid caps, fans, dots and beading are used throughout the case design. The sides of the case section are fitted with long glass panels. The front section serves double duty as a door and opens to access the interior of the case.

The brass dial measures 14 inches in diameter. The dial information is pressed into the front surface and filled with black shellac. The surface is then treated with a silver wash. The silvering does not adhere to the shellac providing a stark contrast between the two. The time track is formatted with a closed minute ring and large Roman numerals mark the hours. A subsidiary seconds dial is located above the center arbor. This clock was original order with an opening in the seconds dial. It was also fitted with a contact on the movement that would have been visible through this opening. This dial is signed by the clockmaker in block style lettering in the traditional location on the front of the dial. The time is indicated by the two open diamond style hands.

The movement is is very good quality. It is mounted to a large iron bracket which is mounted to the backboard. This iron bracket is finished in gold paint. Two robust brass plates frames this movement. They retain their original damascene finish which is in excellent condition. The front plate is die-stamped by the Maker in the upper left corner. The front plates have been pierced with two additional holes where the electrical minute contact was mounted. This has been removed. This clock may have been originally set up to indicate various minute signals. The brass gearing is supported by steel shafts. The movement features a dead-beat escapement, An external beat adjustment at the top of the crutch, retaining power and is weight powered. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind. The brass covered weight descends in the case to the right of the pendulum. The pendulum is hung behind the movement from the bracket that is mounted to the case. The round wooden rod is made or seasoned cherry and is treated with a gilt finish. The bob is a fancy glass jar that is secured with brass caps on each end. These are treated with a nickel plating and are nicely shaped. Unfortunately, the shaping of the sides of the glass jar does not show well in the photographs. The pendulum swings in front of an engraved brass beat scale.

The 86 model was offered as a wall regulator and also as a floor standing model. This model was first introduced by the Howard Clock company in March of 1888. The first example was sent to the Chicago Office. Interestingly, the Waterbury Clock Company in Waterbury, Connecticut and the Gilbert Clock Company of Winstead, Connecticut also offered nearly identical case styles. E. Howard collectors would argue that the Howard versions differed in their movement construction. The Howard examples being more robust and better quality.

This impressive model measures 77 inches or 7 feet 67 inches tall. It is approximately 24 inches wide and 12.5 inches deep.

About Edward Howard of Boston, Massachusetts.

The E. Howard & Company succeeded the Howard & Davis firm in 1857. The Howard and Davis firm was comprised of Edward Howard and David P. Davis and was established in 1842. Both men served their clock apprenticeship under the guidance of Aaron Willard Jr in Boston. The Howard & Davis firm made high-grade clocks, precision balances, sewing machines, fire engines, watches. After the dissolution of Howard and Davis, Edward Howard became Boston’s leading manufacturer of weight-driven residential, commercial, and tower clocks. Howard also sold a large number of watchman and salve clock systems. These sold well in the late 1800s.

It has been said that the E. Howard Clock company never made an inexpensive clock, and everything they made was of very good quality. As a result, Howard clocks have become very collectible and are prized by their owners. Today, the E. Howard clock name enjoys outstanding name recognition.

For a more in-depth reading of Edward Howard and his various businesses, please read “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces” written by Paul Foley.


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