Elnathan Taber of Roxbury, Massachusetts. A wall timepiece. 221209

This fine Federal Massachusetts wall Timepiece or “Banjo clock” was made by Elnathan Taber of Roxbury, Massachusetts, circa 1825. This example is signed by the Maker on the weight tin inside the case.

The case is constructed in mahogany and features half-round mahogany frames, a mahogany finial plinth, and a gilded acorn finial. The frames are fitted with painted glass panels. Both tablets have been repainted in traditional themes. The subject matter recreated here is one of a reoccurring theme and colors. This combination was very popular in Boston made clocks of this period by a number of clockmakers. These tablets are very well done, exhibiting a high level of skill. Both glasses feature a mustard yellow field of color and gilt framing. The lower tablet depicts an American eagle with its wings in an outstretched position. As if it is ready to take flight. This patriotic symbol is carrying a colorful American shield on its chest. Its feet are clutching the arrows of war on the lower right and the holly branches of peace on the lower left. The Eagle is positioned with its head turned in the direction of peace. A small circular area behind the bird’s head is left undecorated. Through this clear section of glass, one would see the motion of the brass-faced pendulum bob when the clock is running. Rising from this opening are many gilt radiants. The throat tablet is decorated with a traditionally shaped urn. This supports a vertical line of florals. This is also a very popular theme and is often found on clocks of this form. Brass sidearms are fitted to the sides of the case. The dial bezel is also brass and closes on the case with a push-button latch. This bezel is fitted with glass and opens to access the painted iron dial. The hour and minute hands are shaped like arrows and display the time. The time ring features a closed minute ring along the perimeter of the dial. Roman-style hour numerals demark each hour. The small hole in the dial is used to wind the movement of this clock with a key.

The movement is weight-driven and designed to run for eight-days on a full wind. The movement is constructed in brass. It is mounted to the back of the case with two screws through the backplate that are diagonally positioned. The rectangular-shaped plates are secured by four brass pillars. Hardened steel shafts support the brass gearing. The teeth in the gear train are deeply cut. The click is nicely shaped. The pendulum hangs from a bridge that is mounted to the front of the movement. It is constructed with a steel rod that supports a brass-faced bob. A tin weight shield located in the lower box of the case guides the weight away from the pendulum. This clock is signed by the Clockmaker in this location. Inscribed on the weight tin in script, the Maker wrote, “Warranted by E. Taber Roxbury.”

This very attractive clock measures approximately 33.5 inches long and was made circa 1825. It is inventory number 221209.

About Elnathan Taber Roxbury, Massachusetts

Elnathan Taber was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on February 14, 1768 and may have died there in 1854 at the age of 86. It appears that his grave was moved from Dartmouth to Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain on October 29th, 1870. His parents were Thomas and Elizabeth (Swift) Taber. Elnathan is the older brother of Stephen Taber who’s fortune help found Taber Academy in Marion, MA. Both brothers traveled to Roxbury and were trained as clockmakers by the Willards. Elnathan was just 16. After serving his apprenticeship, Elnathan stayed and worked in Roxbury. His shop was located on Union Street. Union Street was renamed Taber Street in April of 1868 in his memory. Elnathan maintained a close working relationship with his mentor Simon became one of Simon Willard’s most famous apprentices. He was authorized by Simon to make is patent timepieces during the patent period. He was also a prolific repairman. His name can be found engraved on numerous Boston area made clocks as a service record. Elnathan married Catherine Partridge in January of 1797. They had four children between the years of 1797 and 1811. Catherine had three sisters who also married clockmakers. Her sister Elizabeth married Abel Hutchins and Mary (Polly) married Aaron Willard. A third sister married Samuel Curtis. Over the years, we have owned and sold numerous tall case clocks made by this fine clockmaker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks and coffin clocks as well as several of the Massachusetts shelf clock forms.

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