John Rogers of Newton, Massachusetts. A fine mahogany cased tall clock. UU105

This is a fine mahogany cased clock that exhibits classic early New England proportions. This case stands up on four applied ogee bracket feet. These feet are nicely designed and raise the case up off the floor. The base features an applied mahogany panel that is trimmed with an applied molding. The waist section features a large tombstone waist door. This is also trimmed with an applied molding. The front corners of the waist a decorated with a simple molded edge. The hood or bonnet bonnet is surmounted with a lacy fret work pattern that is pierced. Three finial plinths support ball and spiked finials. The arch molding is nicely formed. It is visually supported by free standing hood columns that are shaped and terminate in brass capitals. The back quarter columns are simply shaped and neatly fitted into the corners of the case. The sides of the hood feature tombstone shaped side lights. The bonnet door is also an arched form and fitted with glass. This door opens to access the dial.

This 13 inch dial is constructed from a sheet of brass. It gets it's silver color from a wash that is applied to it after it has been engraved. The engravings are skillfully executed. It features the very unusual combination of displaying the seconds, minutes, hours day of the week, lunar calendar or phase of the moon and the calendar day. The spandrel decorations are finely executed. In the arch of the dial is the Moon’s age. A two colorfully painted moon faces are separated by a blue star-filled night sky on one side and a pastoral scene on the other. The top of the arch is titled, "Moon’s Age." The time ring displays the hours in Roman numerals. The five minute markers are indicated in each of the hour positions in an Arabic format. In addition, the calendar day is engraved on the inside of this ring. The days are numbered 1-31. As a result, the unusual arrangement of three hands mounted off the center arbor is required. The minute and hour hand are a traditional form. The sweep calendar hand is brass and in the form of an arrow. With in the time ring, at its base, is the Makers name "John Rogers / Newton". In the center of the dial one will find a subsidiary seconds dial which is engraved or decorated with a compass star. Beneath the center of the dial and visible through a keystone aperture is a subsidiary disc which rotates to reveal the days of the week. This is also embellished with finely engraved images of Greek Gods and Goddesses; Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, etc.

Behind the dial, is a brass weight driven movement. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It will also strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The plates are supported with four turned posts and is supported by a seat or a saddle board. These plates are interesting because they retain a higher than normal copper content as is evident by the copper coloring. The pendulum features a wooden rod and a brass faced lead bob.

This fine clock was made circa 1770. The overall height is approximately 97 inches tall. It is 21.5 inches wide and 10.25 inches deep at the arch molding.


About John Rogers of Newton, Massachusetts.

To the best of my knowledge, it is not definitively known when and where John Rogers was born. One source speculates that John Rogers was born on May 9, 1724 in Boston the son of Gamaliel Rogers and Mercy (Emms) Rogers. A second possibility is presented in The History of Newton which states that John Rogers was a descendant of John Rogers the martyr who was burned at the stake. This would indicate that he was a descendant from Rev. Nathaniel Rogers of Ipswich, who was said to be a descendant of John the martyr. We do know that he lived on Newton Corner and died in that town on October 19, 1815 at the age of 91. John is recorded as having married twice. His first wife was Hannah Williamson of Newton. They married on December 11, 1745. Hanna was born October 9, 1723 and died June 8, 1779. Together, they had at least eleven children. John married a second time to Mary (Craft) Towbridge on October 1, 1780. She was on born April 11, 1731. John is found listed as a blacksmith and as a clockmaker. It is currently thought that he trained as a clockmaker under the guidance or Joseph Ward. John is described as an ingenious man and made machines. He also held various town offices, including the position of selectman. In 1780, he served as a member of a committee to recruit soldiers. John maintained two shops. One was located in Newton and the other was in town of Waltham. It is recorded that he was involved in a number of business dealings with the clockmaker Benjamin Willard. Rogers filed a lawsuit against Willard. In about 1761, he made and gifted the gallery clock to the Congregational Church in Newton which is now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. We have owned and sold a small number of tall clocks made by this maker over the last 50 years. Several of which have featured unusual calendar displays and the movements were fitted with maintaining power.

Examples of tall clocks that feature brass composite dials, engraved brass dials and painted dials are known.


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