SS-137 A boldly figured tiger maple case of Western Pennsylvania or even Eastern Ohio origin. This clock is not signed by the Clockmaker. SS137

This attractive country tall case form features good proportions excellent color and is constructed in various grades of maple. The bold striping exhibited in the grain pattern is often referred to as tiger or curly maple. This pattern would be more appropriately called tiger maple because the tiger-like striping transverses the grain structure of the wood. This pattern is very popular, and furniture that features this grain is almost always commented on and discussed in a shop like ours. The case form is one that is quite commonly found in Western Pennsylvania or even Eastern Ohio. This clock was made circa 1825.

This case stands on delicately formed flared French feet. A simple drop pendant hangs from the center of the base section. The front corners of the base are canted. The molding used to transition from the base to the waist section is complex and nicely formed. The waist section is fitted with a shaped waist door trimmed with a simple molded edge. This door provides access to the interior of the case and is positioned above an applied panel. Fully turned and decoratively shaped columns are fitted into the front corners of the waist. The bonnet is a swan’s neck design. Fully turned and shaped bonnet columns flank the arched glazed door. This door is fitted with glass and opens to a colorfully painted iron dial.

This dial was painted by the dial firm of Nolen & Curtis in Boston, MA. Spencer Nolen and Samuel Curtis were clock dial manufacturers, dial painters, and ornamental artists that worked respectively from 1806-1810 and 1814-1822. They set up shop on Washington Street, Boston Neck, and dominated the clock dial industry after the Jefferson Embargo of 1807 halted the exportation of clock dials from England. There were other pockets of dial production coming from areas like Worcester, MA, Southern Maine, and New Hampshire, but the output was not significant. The Nolen & Curtis firm was able to expand their business, opening up shop in Philadelphia before the partnership was dissolved in 1822. At that point, their dials were being sold to clockmakers all over New England and as far south as Kentucky. Nolen & Curtis dials were considered the finest offered at the time. They commonly used color combinations of rich Kelly greens, blood reds, and mustard yellows. These colors were used alongside gilt gold as seen in this classic example. This dial is decorated with brilliant sunburst spandrels, and raised gesso decorations are highlighted with gilt paint. In the arch of the dial is a lunar calendar or moon-phase mechanism. The time ring is formatted with Arabic-style five-minute markers. A dotted minute ring separates the five-minute positions from the large Roman-style hour numerals. Inside the minute ring is a subsidiary seconds dial and day of the month calendar display. The time is indicated by open diamond hands.

The movement is constructed in brass and is of good quality. Four turned pillars support the two large brass plates. These brass plates have an unusual shape. It is thought that the cutouts featured here were done to conserve the use of brass. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are smooth. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The works are weight-driven and designed to run for eight days on 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 mounted above the movement.

This case is nicely proportioned and stands approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall to the top of the arches. When measured at the feet, this case has a footprint of 19.75 inches wide and 10.25 inches deep. It was made circa 1825.

SS-137

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