J.C. Brown of Forestville, CT. Acorn shelf clock. This is the smaller of the shelf models. -Rare- TT150

There are at least three different forms that share the "Acorn" model name. All of these have variations in case designs. Two of these forms are categorized as shelf clocks and the third is a wall clock example. This model is the smallest of the two shelf versions and there are at least two variations of this smaller form. The more common example of this smaller shelf form features the same basic case dimension and shape. Where they differ is in the style of their feet. The more common version is a little taller because it stands up of flared French style feet. This model, has a molding that rests flat to the table surface. All of the shelf cases are constructed in a similar manner. They are constructed in a process that includes bending multiple plies of wet or steamed wood over a form. The thin pieces of wood are then glued together and clamped tight until the glue hardens. This is an early example of a lamination process. The use of thin strips of wood, allows the builder to achieve this exaggerated shape. The outer pile of wood is traditionally rosewood because it exhibits an excellent grain pattern.

This is an outstanding example. The case is veneered in rosewood and retains an older patina. The front of this case form features a door that is divided into two separate sections by a cross-member. The lower half retains its original reverse painted tablet. This was painted by the ornamental artist William Fenn. The colors and detail work are quite good and the artwork is in excellent original condition. The upper section retains its original piece of clear glass. This glass is wavy and includes a number of bubbles or imperfections.

The dial is zinc. It is painted in a traditional manner. Roman style hour numerals indicate the hours and the minute ring is closed. This dial is also signed by the clockmaker above the Roman hour numeral XII just above the time ring. This signature is now somewhat faint. In good light, it clearly reads in script, "J. C. Brown / Bristol, Ct. U.S." The time is indicted on the dial by spade shaped steel hands.

The movement is constructed in brass. One can plainly see the Forestville MFG. & Co / Bristol CT / U S A" die-stamped in the lower rail of the front-plate. It is powered by springs. This example is designed to run for an eight-day duration. The two coil springs are located behind the fusee cones. These cones are brass and are designed with a taper. They are mounted into a cast iron frame that is positioned below the movement. The incorporation of fusees, helps make this clock a very desirable model. This movement is also designed to strike each hour on a wire gong. This coil shaped gong is mounted to the backboard inside the case. The Manufacture’s blue / green label is pasted to the backboard inside the case.

This fine clock has the following approximate dimensions: 19 inches tall, 10.75 inches wide and 4 inches deep. It was made circa 1845-1850.

This clock is inventory number TT-150.

To see similar examples pictured, please reference Brooks Palmer’s Treasury of American Clocks, page 145, plate 255, Carl Dreppard's American Clocks & Clockmakers, Ken Roberts book on Connecticut Clock Technology, page 255 and Robert W. D. Ball's book American Wall and Shelf Clocks, pages 106 and 169.

About Jonathan Clark Brown of Forestville, Connecticut

Jonathan Clark Brown was born in Coventry, Connecticut on October 8, 1807 the son of Jonathan Clark and Sophia (Bingham) Brown. He came to Bristol in 1832. He was a case maker or joiner and over his life time was involved in many firms including The Forestville Manufacturing Co. and the Bristol Clock Co. He was an instrumental and very influential figure and developing the Connecticut clock industry. An innovator, he was responsible for the case design of the very collectible “Acorn” clock as well the octagon case with rounded corners and other interesting case designs. As a clockmaker, he experienced many financial setbacks in Bristol. He left Bristol broke in 1858 and moved to Nyack, New York. He died there in 1872.

For a more in depth over view of his life, please read Kenneth D. Roberts and Snowden Taylor’s book, Jonathan Clark Brown and the Forestville Manufacturing Company.


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