A high style inlaid mahogany cased tall clock. The best that colonial Southeastern Massachusetts had to offer. Similar examples are known with signed dials by New Bedford and Dighton, Massachusetts clockmakers. 220039

This very interesting and complex example features excellent proportions and form. It is constructed primarily in mahogany and white pine but is decorated in mahogany veneers and light maple inlays. Nicely formed applied ogee bracket feet elevated the case up off the floor. These are applied to the bottom of a double stepped molding that is attached to the bottom of the base. Stepped in from the outer edge of the base panel is a light line string inlay frame. The interior corners of this frame are fitted with inlaid quarter fans. Each fan consists of five blades that are shaded on one side. Centered in the panel is a large oval of lighter mahogany. This oval is framed with band of inlay that consists of a dark line that is sandwiched between two light lines. In the center of the oval is a decorative inlaid urn. The transition from the base to the waist is accomplished with a shaped waist molding. The waist section is fitted with a large rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with an applied molding. Through this door one can access the clock’s tin can drive weights and brass faced pendulum bob. This door is also decoratively veneered and inlaid. The center panel features an oval shaped panel of highly figured crotch mahogany. This selection of veneer has a very interesting grain presentation. This oval form is framed with a line inlay border. The outer edge of the door is trimmed with a line inlaid pattern. This is also fitted with inlaid quarter fans. The sides of the waist are fitted with fluted quarter columns that terminate in brass quarter capitals at each end. The columns are also stopped with brass rods. The bonnet is features a New England style pierced and open fret work decoration, three capped finial plinth and three brass finials. The bonnet columns are also brass stop fluted and are supported by brass capitals. These flank the arched door. This door is also inlaid with additional quarter fans and a single line pattern. It is very unusual to find a bonnet door that is decorated with inlay. This door opens to allow one access to the painted iron dial.

This iron dial manufactured by the Osbourne dial firm in Birmingham, England. It features gilt decorations in each of the four spandrel areas. These are surrounded by raised gesso decorations that are highlighted in gilt paint. The automated feature of a lunar calendar is located in the arch of this dial. A lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism is located in the arch of this dial. This mechanical almanac is thought to have been a special order function. It would have been a valuable addition. Farmers would have use for this calendar display in order to anticipate the nights with the most available moonlight. This would aide them in scheduling their planting, tilling of the fields and harvesting. Sailors and merchants would find it helpful to know when moon might greatly affect high tide. This would allow their ships to sail from many of the shallower coastal ports. Many religious groups had an almost superstitious litany of rituals best performed in accordance with lunar events. One other use would be the scheduling of traveling by moonlight at night. A full moon, often provides ample light to do so. 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. This would require just a 9 hour setback at the end of a single year. This dial displays the time in a traditional format. Arabic numerals are positioned at the five minute marker locations and are separated from the large Roman style numerals by a dotted minute ring. A subsidiary seconds dial is located below the Roman hour numeral XII. The month calendar day is located in its traditional position. The hands are nicely formed.

The movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two large brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The movement 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.

This clocks stands approximately 8 feet 4 inches (100 inches) tall to the top of the center brass finial. It is 21.5 inches wide and 10.25 inches deep. This clock was made circa 1810.

This clock is inventory number 220039.

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