Simon Willard's Patent Timepiece. A true Willard banjo clock. AAA22

This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase a true Simon Willard timepiece. This is a very attractive Federal Massachusetts Timepiece or “Banjo clock” represents the first generation of this innovative form. This is compact, reliable and an accurate eight-day time keeper is designed to hang on the wall. The timepiece was a revolutionary design and in many ways, change the business of clockmaking. This outstanding example was made by our country’s most famous clockmaker, Simon Willard [1753-1858] of Roxbury, Massachusetts circa 1805. This successful form was patented by Willard in 1802 as the "Improved Timepiece." As a result of the U. S. Patent awarded on February 2nd, Willard had fourteen years, till 1816, to produce this form exclusively. President Thomas Jefferson signed this document. Examples like this, with cross-banded frames and understated geometric eglomisé panels, were made in the shops of Simon Willard during the first years of his patent. Although numerous fine examples we made by his apprentices over the next twenty-five years, these rare, early examples are the most prized.

This clock case is constructed in mahogany and retains an old world finish that has been undisturbed for many decades. The case exhibits excellent early proportions and has become a recognizable form. The flat frames are cross-banded and are decorated with line inlay. They throat frame is secured to the sides case with two screws. Both frames are fitted with the paint decorated glass tablets. These eglomisé tablets are paint decorated in multiple colors. The white field suspends the predominant color of blue, pink and various gilt designs. These designs are executed in a traditional geometric format. The lower panel is inscribed in gilt lettering, above and below the rectangular oculus, "S. Willard's / PATENT." Both tablets are original to this clock and are in excellent condition. The lower tablet has a small slightly disturbed. This can be seen if you look very closely at the bottom of the tablet in the center. It appears that someone in the past may have pasted a business card to the back of the glass in this location at one time. This area has been carefully restored. The robin’s egg blue band is such a pretty color and adds to the overall beauty of this example. Brass side arms flank the throat section of the case. The are lightly formed and pinned to the case in three locations. The center pinning is through the center diamond spacer. The bezel is also cast in brass. This is fitted with glass and opens to access the painted iron dial. The enameled dial is decorated with a gilt ring painted around the perimeter. The time track is formatted with Roman style hour numerals and dotted minutes. The hands are made of steel and are hand filed to a third dimension. These are considered the early form.

The time only weight driven movement is an eight-day brass construction design. It features step train gearing with a dead beat escapement. The teeth in the gear train are deeply cut. The wonderfully finished plates are oversized. The movement is mounted to the back of the case with the original through bolts. The pendulum hangs from a T-bridge suspension. The metal pendulum rod supports a brass faced bob. That swings in front of the weight board.

A brass eagle finial, the design is fantastic surmounts this case and is mounted on a mahogany chimney plinth.

This clock measures approximately 34.25 inches long. This clock is in fine original condition.


About Simon Willard of Grafton and Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Simon Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on April 3, 1753. It is in Grafton that Simon learned and began a successful career as a Clockmaker. On April 19, 1775 Simon answered the Lexington alarm along with his brothers. It is thought that by 1780 he moved from Grafton and took up residence in Roxbury. Simon was a Master Clockmaker as well as an Inventor. Some of his designs or inventions include “The Improved Timepiece” or Banjo clock, a roasting jack patent that rotated meat as it cooked in the fireplace, and an alarm clock patent. In addition, he trained many men to make clocks who intern became well known Clockmakers once their apprenticeships were served. Some of which include William Cummens, Elnathan Taber, and the brothers Levi and Able Hutchins. Some of the more notable public clocks Simon built include the clock that is in The United States Capital, the one located in the U. S. Senate, and the one located in the House of Representatives. As a result, his clock were searched out by many affluent New England citizens of his day. Simon died on August 30, 1848 at the age of 95.

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