Wagon Spring Steeple on Steeple Shelf Clock. Birge & Fuller of Bristol, Connecticut.

27116 Birge & Fuller Wagon Spring powered Steeple on Steeple Clock.

This is a very good example of a steeple on steeple clock which was manufactured by the firm of Birge & Fuller in Bristol, Connecticut. This is a highly collectable example due to the fact that it is powered with a “wagon spring mechanism.”

The movement in this clock is brass. It is quite typical in that it is designed to run eight days on a full wind and strike each hour on a wire gong. Where this model differs is in the manner in which it is powered. This model is powered by a leaf or wagon spring (Joseph Ives Patent) which is securely mounted to the bottom of the case. The most common method of powering a Connecticut shelf clock is with a coil spring that is fitted to the first gear and winding arbor. When one winds this example, the winding arbor draws on a cord that pulls on a cast iron hoist which is connected to a cast iron lever that tensions the leaf spring. This leaf spring incorporates nine leaves and is securely mounted to the bottom of the case. All of this added mechanical iron work would have been very costly to produce as compared to the standard coil spring driven movement. This is most likely responsible for the somewhat limited number of examples we see in today’s marketplace. Because of this, the number of clocks manufactured and the survivability of those that did, is becoming increasingly difficult to find good examples such as this one.

The fine example features a case mahogany case that has had the front surfaces veneered in rosewood. This case retains an older finish that has been rubbed out and exhibits a lovely brown color. Both of the doors are fitted with colorfully painted tablets. The tablets are painted from the back and are in very good original condition. The dial on this clock is painted on tin and features a time ring that is formatted with Roman numerals. The large opening in the center of the dial is intentional positioned so that one can see that this clock uses a brass constructed movement. The Clockmaker’s label is pasted onto the backboard. This case sits up on four bun feet. It measures approximately 27.25 inches tall and is 13.5 inches wide. This clock was made circa 1845.

About Birge & Fuller Bristol, Conn.

John Birge (1785 -1862) and Thomas Franklin Fuller (1798 – 1848) shared a successful partnership in Bristol Connecticut from 1844 through 1848. They made many steeple clocks with a large variation of movements. This firm is probably best known for making steeple on steeple clocks powered by wagon spring movements.


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