Elnathan Taber of Roxbury, Massachusetts. A fine tall case clock. 215015

This is a classic New England tall clock. This inlaid mahogany case exhibits very good proportions and measures approximately 8 feet or 98 inches tall to the top of the center finial. At the upper hood or bonnet molding, this clock is approximately 20 inches wide and 10 inches deep.

This line inlaid mahogany case stands on four boldly formed ogee bracket feet that support a double stepped base molding. These moldings are applied to the bottom of the base panel. The base panel features a figured selection of mahogany wood that is laid out vertically. This panel is also decorated with an intricate line inlaid pattern. The pattern emulates a herringbone design. It is very successful. (Interestingly, there is a Massachusetts shelf clock made by E. Taber in the Old Sturbridge Village Collection that features a similar inlay design.) The waist section of this case centers a rectangular shaped waist door that is fitted with an applied molding. The mahogany veneer selected for this prominent location features a long subtle lines. This panel is also line inlaid in the same manner exhibited in the base section. The sides of this case are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a traditional New England style fret work pattern being supported by fluted and capped plinths. These are fitted with brass finials. The bonnet columns are also brass stop fluted and terminate in brass capitals. The bonnet door is an arched form and is line inlaid. This door opens to access the wonderfully painted iron dial.

This dial is colorfully painted and is of English origin. It was painted by the Osbourne Manufactory in England. The four spandrel areas feature colorful floral designs. In the arch is the symbol of the Prince of Wales. It is comprised of three ostrich feathers rising through a blue coronet. It is interesting to speculate why this symbol is painted on a tall clock dial. The hours, minutes, seconds and calendar day are all displayed with in the time ring. This dial is signed by the Maker, “WARRANTED / E.* TABER” in large block lettering.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.

This beautiful clock was made circa 1795. It is inventory number 215015.

About Elnathan Taber Roxbury, Massachusetts

Elnathan Taber was born in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on February 14, 1768 and may have died there in 1854 at the age of 86. It appears that his grave was moved from Dartmouth to Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain on October 29th, 1870. His parents were Thomas and Elizabeth (Swift) Taber. Elnathan is the older brother of Stephen Taber who’s fortune help found Taber Academy in Marion, MA. Both brothers traveled to Roxbury and were trained as clockmakers by the Willards. Elnathan was just 16. After serving his apprenticeship, Elnathan stayed and worked in Roxbury. His shop was located on Union Street. Union Street was renamed Taber Street in April of 1868 in his memory. Elnathan maintained a close working relationship with his mentor Simon became one of Simon Willard’s most famous apprentices. He was authorized by Simon to make is patent timepieces during the patent period. He was also a prolific repairman. His name can be found engraved on numerous Boston area made clocks as a service record. Elnathan married Catherine Partridge in January of 1797. They had four children between the years of 1797 and 1811. Catherine had three sisters who also married clockmakers. Her sister Elizabeth married Abel Hutchins and Mary (Polly) married Aaron Willard. A third sister married Samuel Curtis. Over the years, we have owned and sold numerous tall case clocks made by this fine clockmaker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks and coffin clocks as well as several of the Massachusetts shelf clock forms.


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