Thomas Hutchinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. An eight tune musical Movement Tall Case Clock.

This is a beautifully figured mahogany case tall clock. This classical design is seldom seen in the tall case form. The intricate case design is typical of some of the finest Metropolitan furniture forms of the period. The exceptional woods used in the construction of this case and the fine quality of the craftsmanship are first rate and command your attention.

This case stands on carved wooden paw feet. They are wonderfully executed and feature a bold muscular form. They are applied to the bottom of the base and are original to this clock. Interestingly, we have recently owned two other clocks that share a similar design. The base panel features a mahogany cross banded boarder. This frames a large crotch veneered center panel. The waist section is long and accentuates the cases proportions. It features a nicely shaped door, an applied Irish panel and richly veneered mounting blocks for the fully turned and heavily carved waist columns. The waist door is features a superior example of crotch mahogany veneer. This is trimmed in a cross banded boarder. The Crotch mahogany veneer located in the Irish panel is positioned in a horizontal format. The columns located on the sides of the case are skillfully carved. The bonnet is a swan’s neck pediment form which terminate in carved wooden rosettes. The arched pediment is supported by fully turned and carved bonnet columns. These are positioned on either side of the arched bonnet door. The door is glazed and opens to a colorfully painted dial which is signed by the Maker.

This colorfully painted dial is a local product. It is iron and measures 13 inches across. It is attached directly to the movement without the use of a false plate. In the spandrel areas, one will find floral decorations. The time ring is formatted with Roman numerals which mark the hour. Arabic numerals are used to mark the quarter hours. A calendar aperture and a subsidiary seconds dial is located with in the time ring. This dial is also signed by the Clockmaker in the center section. It reads in block lettering, “T. Hutchinson.” In the arch of the dial are a variety of colorful sea shells. Along the upper edge of this arch are the seven musical tunes. These are listed from left to right as, “Dead March, White Cockade, Soldiers Return, Robin Adair, McClouds Reel, Roy’s Wife (of Aldavalloch), March and (Auld) Lang Syne.” These tunes are selected by moving the large indicator hand located above the Roman numeral twelve. They also help indicate that this clock has a musical movement.

This musical weight powered movement is constructed in brass and is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a three train format. The time train is located in the center. The hour striking train is located on the left. This train will strike each hour on the hour. The hour is struck on a cast iron bell which is mount above the movement. The musical train is located on the right. This train is engaged on the hour after the hour strike. It then plays one of the eight tunes listed on the front of the dial. A pinned barrel rotates and lifts one of eleven hammers in sequence. The hammers then strike one of the eleven graduated bells. The sound is delicate. Musical movements were complicated to manufacture and as a result, are some what rare. Although a fair number of clock makers advertised making them. Few exist today. Their original cost was prohibitive. If a standard eight day movement sold for approximately $35 in 1800, a musical movement could cost as much as 7 times that amount. This clock was made circa 1830 stands 8 feet 1 inches tall.

About Thomas Hutchinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Thomas Hutchinson is a listed as a watch and clockmaker in several horological references. In truth, little is currently known about him. He is listed as working as a silversmith in Lancaster boro in 1773. In 1776, he is listed as maker of Dutch type clocks and is working in Washington, Washington, Co., PA. On February 1, 1800, he applied for membership in the Washington Mechanical Society. According to the tax records, he was active in Washington through 1824. In September of 1823, he advertised in The Washington Reporter that he again began his clockmaking business.

Notes: It is reported that a Thomas Hutchinson inlaid tall case clock is in the Carnegie Museum of Art. Late circa 1830.


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