Edmund Currier of Salem, Massachusetts. A wall timepiece. LL11

This outstanding wall timepiece was made by Edmund Currier in Salem, Massachusetts.

This timepiece exhibits an unusual variation of the standard form. This case, or more appropriately, the carved elements were most likely constructed for Currier by the Salem cabinetmaker Joseph True (1806-1860). Joseph True’s surviving account books contain a number of business transactions with Currier in the period starting in 1827 through 1831. Examples of which include “carving clock case,” “carving two ornaments for timepiece,” and “carving truss for” a mahogany clock case. The carvings exhibited are very unusual, demonstrating a very high level of skill.

The case is constructed in mahogany and retains an older finish. The lower bracket is carved in the form of a tulip. It is a three-dimensional carving in that it extends almost 4.5 inches deep from the wall. The wooden sidearms appear to be uniquely carved. These are fitted to the throat section. This complex design is very attractive. At the top of the case is a turned wooden acorn finial that is fitted on a wooden finial plinth. The rounded frames and the turned and shaped bezel are also constructed in mahogany. The frames are fitted with reverse painted tablets. They are painted decorated from the back. Over the years, they have experienced some loss and have areas of restoration as a result of good stewardship. On the lower glass, this includes the inner green field in the lower tablet as well as the red framing. Small areas of touch up have been executed over the last century. Both tablets feature a white field. Next is a gilt framing of a complex design. This is skillfully executed in a very fancy and highly developed form. The next frame is painted red. This frames the central field of green. Within the green area are various traditional designs. The throat section depicts an urn with a vine of florals rising from it. The Clockmaker also signs this clock in this location. It reads” E. CURRIER” on a banner located in the lower section of this tablet. The lower tablet is formatted in a similar motif except for the center area of this tablet. An oval is left open to view the motion of the brass-covered pendulum bob. This oval is framed with additional gilt designs that include vines and fruit. The dial bezel opens to access a painted iron dial.

The time ring is marked out in Roman-style numerals. The minute ring is closed and divided into sixty increments. The time is indicated by traditionally formed steel hands. The arrows or barbs are expertly filed and shaped.

Behind the dial is a brass-constructed movement. It is weight-driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The teeth are skillfully cut, and the plates are nicely finished. The escapement is a recoil. This movement is mounted to a seat-board. This is supported by the rails or sides of the case.

This fine clock measures approximately 40 inches long and was made between 1825 and 1831.

About Edmund Currier of Hopkinton, New Hampshire and Salem, Massachusetts.

Edmund Currier was born the son of a Doctor on May 4, 1793 in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. He lived until the age of 60 years young and died in Salem, Massachusetts on May 17, 1853. His first shop was located in Hopkinton. This shop was previously owned by Philip Brown who was also a clockmaker. As a result, it is thought that Brown may have trained Edmund in the clockmaking trade. There is also some evidence that suggests that he worked for a short period of time with either the Hutchins brothers or Timothy Chandler in Concord. Interestingly, Edmund’s account books for the period which he worked in Hopkinton have survived. Today, this book is located in the New Hampshire Philomatic and Antiquarian Society of Hopkinton. This account book provides us with a synopsis of the businesses he conducted there. He lists manufacturing and repairing items such as spectacles, cutlery, tablewares and jewelry. He did locksmith work, gunsmith repairs and manufactured instruments for doctors. He dealt in musical instruments. His brother Ebenezer was a piano maker. Edmund manufactured and repaired tools, wagons, sleighs and harness. He was also a fine clockmaker and repaired some watches. A small number of clocks are listed as being made in this New Hampshire location. Edmund moved from Hopkinton in 1825 to the corner of Essex and Central Streets in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1828, he moved his business to 7 Derby Square. This was centrally located “In the market.” In 1831, Currier formed a partnership with George B. Foster. Currier trained Foster. This partnership was located at 11 Derby Square. The firm of Currier & Foster lasted until 1835. The clocks made during this period are usually signed “Currier & Foster.” This firm advertised as having for sale watches, clocks and timepieces of their own manufacture. They are also listed as jewelers. After 1835, Currier continues to advertise on his own. His business is now located on Essex Street and that he was still in the business of making and selling “Timepieces, Gallery-Clocks, Regulators…” While in the town of Salem, Currier was deeply involved with the Salem Charitable Mechanic Association. It was recorded by his associates that he was “accustomed to working sixteen hours out of twenty-four.” He was admired for his talents.

Very few clocks by Currier and Currier & Foster are known. Examples are difficult to come by. Several other timepieces as well as a lyre form, a dwarf form and less than a hand full of tall clocks are reported. There is a tall case clock in the museum collection at the Essex Institute and we currently own what may be the only Hopkinton signed example. For a more complete listing of these Makers, please review “Willard’s Patent Timepieces” written by Paul Foley.

Currier lists in his account books that he purchased tall clock cases from David Young and David Young Jr. It appears that he purchased 10 cases from David Young and one from David Young Jr. They are listed as follows:

Clock cases purchased from David Young,

1.) July 11, 1816 clock case $35.00.
2.) Jan. 1st, 1817 cherry case $16.00
3.) May 27th, 1817 clock case $20.00
4.) July 11, 1818 case in cherry for $16.00.
5.) June 1, 1817 in cherry for $16.00.
6.) July 11, 1818 in cherry for $16.00.
7.) Nov. 6th, 1818 a mahogany case for $25.00.
8.) November 12, 1818 he purchased a mahogany case for $25.00
9.) November 12, 1818 he purchased a birch case for $14.00
10.) May 24th, 1820 a cherry case $14.00.
Clock case purchased from David Young Jr.,
1.) June 28th, 1816 he purchased one cherry case for $16.00.
From the same account books, it is recorded that he sold eight case clocks. Prices range from $35.00 to $65.00.

For more information about this clock click  here .