Eleazer Cary (Carey) Clockmaker working in Norwich and later Windham Connecticut. Amos Denison Allen Cabinetmaker / Casemaker in Windham, Connecticut.

This is a nicely proportioned cherry case tall clock. The cherrywood is dark and features a modern clean finish. The case is elevated off the floor on four very unusual ogee bracket feet. They are boldly formed having an exaggerated shape in the knee and are somewhat compressed. They are secured to a single step molding. The waist is section long and centers a large tombstone shaped waist door. This door is trimmed with a simple molded edge. A carved fan is featured in the arch of this door. This fan features twenty-seven radiants. Open this door and one can access the pendulum for time adjustments and the two drive weights. You will also find the Cabinetmaker’s brand burned into the New England white pine backboard. It reads, “A.D.ALLEN.” The corners of the waist are canted. The design also includes three carved flutes that run the entire length or profile. This decorative detail terminates in a lamb’s tongue molding. The hood is designed with a molded cornice. A New England style fret work pattern is positioned above the arched molding. This fret is supported by three reeded finial plinths. Each of which supports a brass finial. The hood columns are turned smooth, shaped and fully fluted. Turned capitals are incorporated into the column design. These flank the arch formed hood door. This door is fitted with glass. The side of this hood is fitted with large tombstone shaped side lights.

This painted iron dial features a lunar calendar in the arch. This mechanical almanac was most likely a special order function. It would have been valuable to farmers who would want to anticipate the most available moonlight to aide them in scheduling their tilling of the fields. Sailors and merchants needed to know when high tide would allow their ships to sail from port. And many religious groups had an almost superstitious litany of rituals best performed in accordance with lunar events. The lunar month represents an inconvenient interval of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds. A clocks lunar calendar is set at 29.5 days from new moon to new moon, a full cycle. thus requiring a 9 hour setback at the end of a single year. Colorful floral patterns are painted in the four spandrel areas. This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in the traditional format. This dial is not signed.

This fine movement is constructed in a manner that is consistent with that of the clockmaker Eleazer Cary. Cary’s movements are identified by a distinctively shaped movement post. The post is in the form of two tapered cones that support a compressed ball in the center. Multiple ring turnings are used to decorate the post. An engraved brass dial clock that is signed by Cary is known. Its movement posts are formatted this way. The movement is brass and is good quality. Four turned brass pillars support the two brass plates. Both plates have a rectangular themed cutout at the bottom and are engraved with the number “2” in the upper right hand corner. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved to accept and guide the weight cord. Each holds approximately eight days of winding cord. Both winding drums are also engraved with number “2.” The escapement is a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run 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 which is mounted above the movement on a bell stand.

This case has the following dimensions: 95.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. It is 21 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep at the upper bonnet molding. It was made circa 1795.


About Amos Denison Allen of Windsor, Connecticut.

Amos Denison Allen was born in Windham, Connecticut on March 13, 1774. His parents were Amos Allen Jr and Anna Babcock (Allen). In 1790, at the age of 16, Allen began his training as an cabinetmaking apprentice with Colonel Ebenezer Tracy (1744-1803) in Lisbon, New London County, CT. Allen worked with him until his apprenticeship expired on his twenty-first birthday, in March 1795. On August 18 1796, Allen married Lydia Tracy, E. Tracy’s daughter. Together they had at nine children. They moved to Windham, Connecticut and owned a farmed that totaled 190 Acres. His shop was often very busy and Allen employed as many twelve apprentices at one time. They shipped numerous chairs up and down the east coast, using peddlers to sell many of their products. One of Allen’s shop books covering the years 1796-1803, is currently in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society along with his apprenticeship papers. It provides a careful listing of his output and his clients during that period. In 1965, Houghton Bulkeley tabulated his memo book as follows: 799 chairs, 51 Pembroke tables, 40 bedsteads, 37 bureaus, 35 chests, 19 dining tables, 16 kitchen tables, 14 portrait frames, 8 clock cases, 8 two-drawer chests, 6 desks, 6 plain tables, 5 chests-on-chests, 2 cradles, 1 (inlaid) sideboard, 1 secretary, 1 looking glass, 1 bookcase, 1 schoolmaster’s desk.

We have owned and seen at least 5 tall case clocks where the cases have been stamped or branded with his name on the backboard. The stamp reads, A. D. ALLEN.


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