E. Howard & Company Boston, Massachusetts. Model No. 5. ZZ50.

This attractive timepiece is cataloged as the Model Number 5 and was made by E. Howard & Company of Boston, Massachusetts.

Howard offered five sizes of this very popular Banjo form. This example is the smallest of the five, measuring 29 inches long, and is the most commonly found. The largest size is called the Model Number 1. It is 50 inches in length.

The Number 5 size has very pleasing proportions measuring approximately 29 inches long. The case is constructed in cherry and retains its original grained painted decoration. This decoration is in outstanding condition. (Howard banjo clock cases were originally grained with India ink. This was done to simulate the rich look of the grain found in rosewood.) The frames are fitted with reverse painted tablets or glasses. The traditional E. Howard color combination of black, gold and red are original to this example. The wooden dial bezel is fitted with glass and protects the dial and hands.

This is an early dial. We know this because the dial is composed of two parts. The outermost surface is paper, and it is applied to a zinc pan. This format was used by the Howard & Davis firm (1847-1857). Many speculate that after the departure of David P. Davis and then the reorganizing of the company into the E. Howard & Co. that Howard continued to use up the old stock, which included applied paper dials. This was done until the supply was depleted. This dial measures seven inches in diameter. It is wonderfully signed in a script format.

The movement is made of brass and is of excellent quality. It is weight-driven and has a recoil escapement. It is a very accurate timekeeper for its small size. The movement is die-stamped on the front plate, “E. Howard & Company / Boston.” The original weight is cast iron. The brass bob features a fancy ring-turned design that is embellished with a damascene pattern in alternating rings. This fancy bob is supported by the original wooden rod. Inside the case, pasted onto the bottom board, is the Maker’s original setup label.

This clock was made circa 1860 and is an outstanding early example.


About Edward Howard of Boston, Massachusetts.

The E. Howard & Company succeeded the Howard & Davis firm in 1857. The Howard and Davis firm was comprised of Edward Howard and David P. Davis and was established in 1842. Both men served their clock apprenticeship under the guidance of Aaron Willard Jr in Boston. The Howard & Davis firm made high-grade clocks, precision balances, sewing machines, fire engines, watches. After the dissolution of Howard and Davis, Edward Howard became Boston’s leading manufacturer of weight-driven residential, commercial, and tower clocks. Howard also sold a large number of watchman and salve clock systems. These sold well in the late 1800s.

It has been said that the E. Howard Clock company never made an inexpensive clock, and everything they made was of very good quality. As a result, Howard clocks have become very collectible and are prized by their owners. Today, the E. Howard clock name enjoys outstanding name recognition.

For a more in-depth reading of Edward Howard and his various businesses, please read “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces” written by Paul Foley.


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