John Bailey Jr. of Hanover, Massachusetts. Tall case clock. NN-3

A mahogany veneered tall case clock signed on the dial by John Bailey Jr., of Hanover, Massachusetts.

This fine example features a case that is veneered in figured mahogany. The veneer selected features long sweeping grain patterns which are prominently displayed in the construction of the case. This case stands four flared French feet. They are wonderfully elevated and transition to a drop apron or curtain in the center of the case. The base panel features a cross banded border. This frames a figured panel. The base transitions to the waist through a compressed waist molding. The waist is long and narrow. This section centers a rectangular door that is fitted with an applied molding. The door is crossbanded in mahogany around the outer edge. The sides of the waist are fitted with inset quarter columns that are boldly reeded. They terminate in brass quarter capitals. The hood or bonnet is surmounted by three capped finial plinths or chimneys. They are surmounted by three wooden finials in the form of urns. The plinths also help support a very attractive pierced and open fret work pattern. This design is traditionally found in Southeastern New England. Fully turned and nicely shaped reeded bonnet columns ending brass capitals flank the bonnet door. The bonnet or hood door is fitted with glass and opens to allow one access the the painted iron dial.

This dial was painted in Boston. It was most likely painted by Samuel Curtis due to the stylistic design. Each of the four spandrel areas are decorated with colorfully geometric patterns. A gilt circle is positioned outside the time ring. This time ring is formatted with Roman hour numerals, Arabic five minute markers and a subsidiary seconds dial. The calendar day is displayed in a small aperture under the center arbor. In the arch is a lunar calendar or a moonphase mechanism. This dial is signed by the Maker. His signature is wonderfully displayed in a fluid script format. The working location of “HANOVER” is displayed in block lettering. This dial is secured to the movement without the use of a falseplate.

This movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. It is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is 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 which is mounted above the movement.

This clock stands approximately 92 inches tall to the top of the finial and was made circa 1820. This clock is inventory number NN-3.

About John Bailey III or Jr. of Hanover and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

John Bailey III or Junior was born in Hanover, Massachusetts on August 13, 1787. It is thought that he learned the family trade of clockmaking from his father John II. John III finished his apprenticeship in 1809 at the tail end of the tall case clocks popularity. The wall timepiece, and shelf clock became the clock of choice due to its reduction in cost. In June of 1809, he moved to Portland, Maine and worked mostly as a repairman. In November of 1810, he married Anna Taber, the daughter of a prominent Quaker merchant in Portland. In 1811, they returned to Hanover. It is during this next period of his life that we find him traveling in the South during the winters and setting up temporary repair shops and shipping whole clocks from the North to Southern clients all while maintaining a shop in Hanover. In 1824, he had moved his business from Hanover to the growing city of New Bedford, which is located on the Massachusetts south coast. Here he took the shop formerly occupied by the clockmakers Almy & Wall. In addition to his reputation as a fine businessman, clockmaker and chronometer repairman, Bailey became well known for his Anti-slavery convictions. He traveled extensively, including to the South, to preach his message of abolitionism. This was a stance that eventually cost him is business in New Bedford. In 1848, he moved to Lynn, MA where he operated “The Old Curiosity Shop” a jewelery and repair business on Union Street. He died in there in 1883 on March 2nd. Over his life time, he saw the cost of a clock start at $60 and fall to $2 due to the gearing up of mass production methods. Clocks were no longer for the most affluent of a community.

Over the years, we have owned a fair number of clocks made by him. Some of which included numerous tall case clocks, dwarf clocks and wall timepieces.


For more information about this clock click  here .