Samuel "Mullikin" Mulliken (1720-1756) of Bradford, Massachusetts. A pre-revolutionary American tall case clock, diminutive in stature. XXSL42.

This is important cherry case tall clock was made by Samuel “Mullikin” of Bradford, Massachusetts. The last name Mulliken was obviously spelled phonetically on the dial.

The small village of Bradford, Massachusetts is considered one of America’s earliest clockmaking centers. What is interesting is that Bradford is not a coastal town, nor did it have a sizable population. This small village is located some 18 miles up the Merrimack river across from the town of Haverhill, Massachusetts. As early as 1720, this region did have a healthy shipbuilding trade which existed on both sides of the river. Certainly numerous blacksmiths would be required in order for this type of industry to survive. The three families consisting of the Mullikens, the Balches and the Carletons all had native born sons that were responsible for producing clocks.

When this clock was originally constructed and sold it was most likely sold as a unit that consisted of the mechanism, the dial the weight and the pendulum. Clocks like this were designed to be hung on the wall as a unit. If the patron could afford to have a case made then these were provided by his local cabinetmaker. This style of dial predates the painted dial form. It is composed of a brass sheet that measure approximately 14.5 inches tall and 10.5 inches wide. The dial is decorated with six applied matching pewter spandrels, a fitted name boss in the arch, an engraved time or chapter ring, an engraved seconds register, a matted or textured center and an aperture for the calendar day display. The name boss is engraved in a flowing script format with the maker’s name and working location. The name is spelled phonetically and it reads “Samuel / Mullikin / Bradford.” . We have owned other Mulliken clocks that have had the Mulliken name spelled creatively. Most recently we had an example that was spelled “Mullikin.” The name boss, time ring and calendar display are finished in a silver wash. The time ring displays the hours with Roman style numerals. The minute indicators are located on the interior edge of this ring. A single hand reaches this interior ring to display the time. This is a very early design feature and can be seen on many early English tall clocks of the 1680 through the early part of the seventeen hundreds. You should also note presence of the simplified fleurs-de-lis between the Roman numerals.

The post and frame movement is constructed in iron and brass and is driven by a single weight. It is designed to run 30-hours on a full wind and strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The striking system features a count wheel that is mounted between the plates. The cast iron bell is mounted above the movement.

The case is constructed in cherry and retains an old finish. The color is excellent. It is an early form. The case is supported by heavy applied bracket feet. These are attached to the base. The feet exhibit excellent height. This base section is somewhat compressed in relation to the long waist section and the hood.This was the tradition of many early American tall clock cases. The waist section is long and narrow. Fully turned and reeded columns are fitted into the front corners. The waist door is a tombstone form and is trimmed with a simple molded edge. This door was never hinged and is held in place with a small iron bracket that is mounted to the back of the door. The arched form bonnet is fitted with four shaped hood columns. These are positioned at the four corners of the hood and they visually support the arch. Tombstone shaped side lights are cut into the side of the bonnet. These opens 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 rare clock was made circa 1745. The case stands a mere 78 & 3/4 inches tall (6 feet 6.75 inches) to the top of the case. The bonnet is 18.75 inches wide and 11.25 inches deep.

This Mulliken grandfather clock is inventory number XXSL-42.

About Samuel (I) Mulliken of Bradford, Massachusetts. (1722-1777)

Samuel Mulliken (1722 -1777) of Bradford, Massachusetts was a member of a very important family of American clock makers. Very few American Pre-Revolutionary clocks were made in this country and fewer survive.


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