Ephraim Downes for George Mitchell of Bristol, Connecticut. Circa 1830. A transitional shelf clock with an eagle stenciled decorated splat and floral decorated half columns. NN40.

This is a wonderful transitional shelf clock with pasted label that reads, “IMPROVED CLOCKS, / MANUFACTURED / BY / Ephraim Downes, / FOR / GEORGE MITCHELL / BRISTOL, CONN."

The transitional shelf clock form was produced in significant numbers in Connecticut by many of the clock making firms located in that State. This form evolved form the very popular Pillar & Scroll mantel clock that sold so well. This variation in case design offered a decorative change in appearance and was not nearly as fragile. This made it much easier to transport.

This is a very good example in that the decorative case work remains in excellent original condition. The turned half columns and splat are decorated with stencils of bronze work. The decoration on the splat should attract ones attention. This design features a nicely detailed American eagle with its wings outstretched. The eagle sits atop the world or a globe. Cannons and other weapons are also depicted in this location. The half columns are decorated with floral themes. All of this stencil design appears to be in wonderful original condition. The case is mahogany and retains and olde finish. The door is divided into two sections. The lower section is fitted with a reverse painted tablet that is in excellent original condition and is original to this clock. This very colorful scene depicts a large two story estate building that sits on top of a hill. The wooden dial is decorated with raised gesso and gilt designs. The spandrel areas are decorated with a star as the central theme. The time ring is formatted with Roman style hour numerals. The movement is a traditional thirty hour, time & strike wooden works design. This is weight powered and is standard fair for the period. The original pasted label remains on the backboard. It is in fair original condition. This clock stands on its original carved paw feet.

This clock stands approximately 28.5 inches tall and was made circa 1830.


About Ephraim Downs of Waterbury, Plymouth and Bristol, Connecticut. Also Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ephraim Downs was born in Wilbraham, Massachusetts on December 20, 1787 and died in Bristol, Connecticut on December 8, 1860. He was the son of David and Mary Chatterton Downs and had a brother Anson who was a Carpenter.

Ephraim becomes in the Connecticut clock industry making wooden geared tall clock movements as early as 1811 in the town of Waterbury. He is making movements for Lemuel Harrison & Co and then later Clark, Cook & Co. In the month of April 1815, he travels to Cincinnati, Ohio and works for Read & Watson and then others. He returned to Connecticut about 1816 to Plymouth, CT. He later works with Silas Hoadley, Eli Terry and Seth Thomas. In 1822 he married Chloe Painter thus becoming the brother in law of Silas Hoadley. He is in business with himself in 1823 and then With George Mitchell in Bristol, CT in 1825. Ephraim became very successful.

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