Simon Willard Tall case clock with an alarm. Roxbury, Massachusetts.  -SOLD-

This is a most important mahogany case tall clock made by Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

This mahogany case is nicely proportioned. It stands 7 feet 8 inches tall to the top of the center finial. The case is constructed in mahogany and retains an older finish that has been wonderfully maintained. The wood selected for the waist door and base panel are nicely figured. The grain pattern features long sweeping lines adding an old world charm. The case stands on nicely formed ogee bracket feet. They are applied to a double step molding. The front base panel is line inlaid around it’s perimeter. The waist section is long and narrow. It is fitted with a rectangular shaped door that is trimmed with an applied molding around the outer edge. Pasted to the back of this door is the Clockmaker’s set up label. This is unusual. Very few examples retain this document. As a result, it is worth noting this fact. This label was printed by J. Joseph N. Russell. They were located on Quaker Lane in Boston. It is a large label that measures 10.75 inches tall and 8.75 inches wide. The waist section is flanked by brass stop fluted quarter columns which terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features the traditional Roxbury fretwork design. The three fluted chimney plinths support the three brass ball and spike finials. Fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns ending in cast brass capitals flank the bonnet door. This door is an arched form and it is fitted with glass. It opens to a colorfully painted iron dial.

This dial features a moon phase or lunar calendar in the arch. Colorful floral decorations are positioned in each of the four spandrel areas. This dial is signed by the Clockmaker in block lettering. The time ring is formatted with roman numeral hour markers. Arabic numerals are used to mark the five minute positions. A subsidiary seconds dial and calendar dial can be viewed inside the time ring in their traditional locations.

The movement is brass and of good quality. It is weight powered, retaining it’s original tin can weights and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It will also strike each hour on the hour on a cast iron bell. This bell is mounted above the movement. This clock also features an alarm. This is mounted between the plates and is wound with a key through the front of the dial. When engaged, it strikes on the hour bell at a rapid rate. This is an unusual feature for a tall case clock. It is interesting to speculate why someone would want such a device in the late 1700’s.

This fine clock was made circa 1798.

This clock is inventory number 27253.

About Simon Willard of Grafton and Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Simon Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on April 3, 1753. It is in Grafton that Simon learned and began a successful career as a Clockmaker. On April 19, 1775 Simon answered the Lexington alarm along with his brothers. It is thought that by 1780 he moved from Grafton and took up residence in Roxbury. Simon was a Master Clockmaker as well as an Inventor. Some of his designs or inventions include “The Improved Timepiece” or Banjo clock, a roasting jack patent that rotated meat as it cooked in the fireplace, and an alarm clock patent. In addition, he trained many men to make clocks who intern became well known Clockmakers once their apprenticeships were served. Some of which include William Cummens, Elnathan Taber, and the brothers Levi and Able Hutchins. Some of the more notable public clocks Simon built include the clock that is in The United States Capital, the one located in the U. S. Senate, and the one located in the House of Representatives. As a result, his clock were searched out by many affluent New England citizens of his day. Simon died on August 30, 1848 at the age of 95.


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