Benjamin Morrill of Boscawen, New Hampshire. A New Hampshire Mirror Clock.

This is a fine example of New Hampshire Mirror clock made by Benjamin Morrill of Boscawen, New Hampshire. The case is constructed in New England indigenous woods including white pine as a secondary wood. This case retains an older finish.

This form gets its name from its similarity to that of a wall hanging mirror made popular during the same time period. The front of this case is actually a door. Fully turned columns are split and applied to the outside edge of the door. They are decorated with gilding and painted various shades of paint. The corner blocks are applied and feature brass rosettes. The door is divided in two sections. The lower section features a mirror. The upper section features a reverse painted tablet which is original to the clock. The colors are quite good featuring reds, greens, and gilt designs. TEach of the corners features a harp design. This tablet centers a painted iron dial. The hands are simple design and appear to be original to this clock. The door will open to allow one access to the dial and the mechanism which is positioned behind it. The movement layout is very distinctive. It is referred to as a Wheelbarrow movement. Many examples of this type of clock have been found with this unusual movement. The gears are laid out from left to right. Is is weight driven and is designed run eight days on a full wind. The pendulum swings behind the door from the right side of the mechanism. The weight will descend down the left. This clock retains its original cast iron weight which is signed by the Maker.

This clock is nicely proportioned measuring 30.5 inches long, 14.5 inches wide and 3.75 inches deep. This clock was made circa 1835.

Inventory number LL-92.

About Benjamin Morrill of Boscawen, New Hampshire.

Benjamin Morrill was born in Boscawen on January 16, 1794, and died on April 21, 1857. His parents were Samuel Morrill and Sarah (Atkinson) Morrill. He was their fifth child. The small village of Boscawen is located just to the northwest of Concord, NH. He lived in the house his grandfather, Reverend Robie Morrill built in 1769. It is located on King Street. It was the first framed house in that town. Robie was a graduate of Harvard College in 1755. It is summarized that Benjamin was a practical man and educated. His work demonstrates a creative skill in mechanical matters. It is not presently known who trained Benjamin as a clockmaker. He was first recorded as setting up a shop in 1816. Benjamin’s oldest sister Judith married Joseph Chadwick. He was also a clockmaker from the same town and was seven years older than Benjamin. On November 22, 1818, Benjamin married his first of two wives, Mehetable Eastman. She was the daughter of Simeon and Anna (Kimball) Eastman of Landiff, New Hampshire. They had two children before she died on July 6, 1828. Benjamin remarried six months later to Mary Choate of Derry, New Hampshire. Together, they also had two children. Benjamin died on April 21, 1857. As a clockmaker, signed examples of tall case, banjo, shelf, mirror, and tower clocks are known. As production clocks made their way into his region, he was also known to manufacture scales and musical instruments that included melodeons and seraphines.

A tower clock made by him was set up in Dover, NH, at the cost of $300. It was installed in the 1st Parish Meeting House. The whereabouts of this clock is not known. A second clock was installed in Henniker, NH. The Henniker clock is now at the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut. It was given to them by the late Frederick Mudge Selchow. A third tower clock had been originally installed (date unknown) in the 1839 Advent Church in Sugar Hill, now part of Lisbon, NH.

A fine example of a mirror clock is in the collection of the New Hampshire Historical Society.


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