Joshua Wilder Lyre Timepiece. Hingham, Massachusetts. Lyre clock. 213162

This is a fine example of a mahogany cased lyre form wall clock or timepiece made circa 1830. The form is first rate and exhibits long narrow proportions. The case is constructed in mahogany and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The mahogany retains an older refinish. It is stable and consistent

The top of the case is fitted with a carved wooden floral finial. This is supported by simply formed plinth that is secured to the head of the case. A cast brass bezel which is fitted with glass protects the dial. It opens to allow access to the hands and winding square. This dial is signed by the Clockmaker in large script lettering with in the time track. The hours are indicated Roman style numerals. The hands are steel and simply formed. The throat frame is unusual. The vast majority of lyre clocks throat frames that are elaborately carved. This example does not and is formatted with a conservative flat molding. It is from the shape of this frame that this clock form gets its name. The shape is similar to that of musical harp or lyre a instrument. The lower door is constructed with canted frames. The mahogany panel has a small oval cut out that is fitted with glass. A simple gilt paint decoration is applied to this glass oval. The pendulum bob swings behind this and its motion would be visible to the observer. This lower door allows one access to the interior of the case where the brass faced pendulum bob is located. Below this box is mounted a mahogany plinth or bracket which terminates with an acorn drop finial.

The weight driven movement is brass, It is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is mounted to the backboard with a single screw from the back of the case to the center of the back plate. This movement is a very good runner and is good quality.

This clock measures approximately 41 inches long, 11 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

This clock is inventory number 213162.

About Joshua Wilder of Hingham, Massachusetts

Joshua Wilder was born on December 2nd, 1786 in Hingham, Massachusetts. He was trained in the art of clockmaking by John Bailey Jr. of Hanover, MA. Wilder completed this apprenticeship some time around 1807. It appears he stayed in Hanover for a brief period of time before moving back to Hingham to established his home and business located on Main Street in the South Parish. Here, he was the first clockmaker to settle in this prosperous town and found a ready market for tall case clocks, dwarf clocks, wall timepieces, the Massachusetts shelf form and mirror clocks. Wider becomes one of America’s most prolific Makers of the dwarf clock form.

Wilder also becomes very active in the local religious Society of Friends and became known as the “Old Quaker Joshua Wilder.” He was also involved with the Temperance Society and Peace Society of Hingham. Wilder’s business eventually evolves into a retailer of common goods. Wilder is said to have trained several Clockmakers that includes his son Ezra Wilder, Reuben Tower, Allen Kelley and Phillip Bennet. About 1840, it is said that his son Eza joined him in business. Joshua dies on October 4, 1860 in the town of Scituate.

A fair number of clocks made by this maker have been found. Many of which are the dwarf form but also include in much smaller numbers tall case clocks, timepieces, shelf clocks and mirror clocks. Currently, the Hingham Library is displaying a tall case clock made by him.


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