Nathaniel Dominy tall clock of East Hampton, New York. Dated 1789 and signed by the Clockmaker.

This Long Island treasure was originally sold to Captain David Fithian (1728-1803). A very simple form, it is constructed in gum wood and stands approximately 79.5 inches tall, 12 wide and 7.5 deep. This case stands on applied bracket feet. The waist door is rectangular incorporating a small thumbnail molding around the perimeter. It is mounted or hinged with two simple pins located on the right. The bonnet sits on molding mounted on the top of the waist section. It features an arched opening that is fitted with glass. The top of the hood is decorated with a simple molding. Only one hand was used to mark the passage of time on this engraved brass dial clock. Between each engraved Roman hour numeral are engraved marks to note minute intervals. In the arch, this dial is signed and dated by the Clockmaker. He has also included the phrase "HARK, WHAT'S THE CRY, PREPARE, TO MEET THY GOD, TODAY." This is an apt phrase for people familiar with death. Three of Captain Fithian's nine children died before the age of five." The timepiece or movement is constructed in brass and is of the typical format made by this Maker. The plates are in the form of an inverted "Y" and are skeletonized. There is no visible winding arbor because a double rope and winding ratchet on the wooden drum are employed to wind up a heavy lead weight by pulling on a cord.

It is recorded that Nathaniel Dominy made his first clock in 1769. Fifty-three tall case clocks have been recorded to date. This example is dated 1789 on the engraved brass dial. It has been pictured in several books including Charles Hummel's "With Hammer in Hand" page 288, Brown, Bulletin, page 413 and Brooks Palmer's "A Treasury of American Clocks" plate 41 and 42.

About Nathaniel Dominy of East Hampton, New York.

Nathaniel Dominy (4th) was born in 1737 and died in 1812. He is listed as living in Sag Harbor and then East Hampton, New York. For a more complete story regarding this family, please read Charles Hummel’s “With Hammer in Hand, published for The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum by the University Press of Virginia Charlottesville.” This work was first published in 1968.

The Dominy family presided over a remarkable domain from their little shops on North Main Street in East Hampton. They were located there as early as 1760 through 1840 spanning three generations.


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