Ansel Turner of Roxbury, Massachusetts. A cross-banded tall clock case.

This is a nicely proportioned case standing approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall to the top of the center finial. The case is constructed in mahogany and rosewood cross banding. New England white pine is used as a secondary wood.

This handsome clock stands on four nicely shaped ogee bracket feet. The base panel features a mahogany selection of wood that features a strong grain pattern that is positioned in a vertical manner. The base is fitted with a cross banded border. The veneer used in this decoration is rosewood and the color contrasts nicely with the lighter red color of mahogany. The waist door is rectangular shaped and quite long. It is also decorated with a cross banded border and the outer edge is trimmed with and applied molding. The sides of the case are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns which terminate in brass capitals. The bonnet is fretwork style and is surmounted by three brass ball and spike finials. Fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns ending in turn brass capitals flank the door. The bonnet door is arched glazed opening to a nicely painted dial.

This iron dial was paint decorated by the Boston ornamental artists, Spencer & Nolen. The four spandrel areas are decorated with fancy gilt designs that are raised off the surface of the dial on applied gesso. The automated feature of a lunar calendar is located in the arch of this dial.  This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in the traditional format. This dial is signed by the Clockmaker in script lettering.  This signature is located below the calendar date and above the Roman hour numeral six.

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 was made circa 1805.

About Ansel Turner of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Ansel Turner was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on October 20, 1787 and died in Savannah, Georgia on October 3, 1814. Turner is listed in 1810 -14 Roxbury voting lists as a clockmaker. He was taxed in Roxbury in May 1809 for “1 Poll + for Knower’s shop”. This suggests that he may have been in business with Daniel Knower who is also listed as a clockmaker. (Roxbury Town Records) Turner advertised from Roxbury Street in December 1811, that he was “compelled (by bodily indisposition) to relinquish his present line of business, and offers for sale, an elegant assortment of Clocks and Patent Timepieces, Clock Weights, Catgut, &c. Likewise – a complete set of Clock-makers Tools & Materials.” The Savannah death records indicate Turner was a Clockmaker from Massachusetts, and died at the young age 25. (NEHGR, Vol. 125, p. 35) An early patent timepiece having crossbanded frames and a tablet marked “S. Willard’s Patent” is known with the movement inscribed “A. Turner, No. 27, 1809”. Three signed painted dial tall case clocks are known. All three feature Roxbury style cases.

For additional information, please read Paul Foley’s, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces.


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