E. Howard & Co., Boston, MA. Model No. 11. Keyhole wall clock. 12 inch dial.

This weight driven wall was made by the E. Howard Clock Company of Boston Massachusetts. It is cataloged as the Model No. 11 and is often referred to as the "Keyhole" in the trade due to the case form and its resemblance of a keyhole found in most doors of the period. Interestingly, this model was offered in at least three different dial sizes.

The 11 inch dial version is the standard model and is by far the most commonly found. This model has pleasing proportions and was sold to municipal entities like fire departments, businesses such as railroads and hotels and also to the residential market. This example has a case that measure approximately 12 inches across the bezel and are 31 inches in length.

The second version of this Model 11 features a dial that measures approximately 12 inch diameter. As a result, the bezel increases to a diameter of15.25 inches and the length of the case is 32.5 inches long. This is a very difficult model to find. We have seen only one example of this model in almost 50 years of business.

The third example of the Number 11 features a 14 inch diameter dial. The bezel increase to a diameter of 17.25 inches and the case measure approximately 34 inches in length. At least eight of these were ordered in May of 1876 by the Wamsutta Mills in New Bedford, Massachusetts. According to the existing E. Howard records, all eight were custom made and constructed in black walnut cases. All three of the examples we have seen have had very distinctive hands.

This example is the middle size. It is the 12 inch dial model and the case measures approximately 32.5 inches in length. This case is constructed in cherry and has been recently regrained with India ink to simulate the vibrant grain pattern found in rosewood. The nicely shaped bezel is fitted with glass. This opens to access the painted dial. This dial is signed by the clockmaker in block lettering. The movement is made of brass and is excellent quality. It is weight powered or driven and features a recoil escapement. It is considered a very accurate time keeper for its small size. The movement is die stamped on the front plate, "E. Howard & Company, Boston." The cast iron weight is original to this clock. The painted red weight board is not original to the clock. The brass bob is supported by the original wooden rod. The three inch bob retains its original ring design consisting of four concentric floral style rings. This is considered one of the many variations of Howard's damascene patterns. This bob can be viewed through a circular opening in the painted decoration of the lower glass. This glass is decorated in the traditional black, gold and red colors.

This very difficult to find example was made circa 1876.

Inventory number NN-48.

About Edward Howard of Boston, Massachusetts.

The E. Howard & Company succeeded the Howard & Davis firm in 1857. The Howard and Davis firm was comprised of Edward Howard and David P. Davis and was established in 1842. Both men served their clock apprenticeship under the guidance of Aaron Willard Jr in Boston. The Howard & Davis firm made high-grade clocks, precision balances, sewing machines, fire engines, watches. After the dissolution of Howard and Davis, Edward Howard became Boston’s leading manufacturer of weight-driven residential, commercial, and tower clocks. Howard also sold a large number of watchman and salve clock systems. These sold well in the late 1800s.

It has been said that the E. Howard Clock company never made an inexpensive clock, and everything they made was of very good quality. As a result, Howard clocks have become very collectible and are prized by their owners. Today, the E. Howard clock name enjoys outstanding name recognition.

For a more in-depth reading of Edward Howard and his various businesses, please read “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces” written by Paul Foley.


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