Ephraim Willard of Boston Massachusetts. An inlaid mahogany cased tall clock. (UU-26)

This inlaid mahogany case tall clock was made by Ephraim Willard of Boston, Massachusetts.

This fine inlaid mahogany case features good mahogany wood and mahogany veneers. The case is elevated on four ogee bracket feet that are applied to the bottom of the double step molding. The base panel is constructed with a selection of mahogany that features a long vertical grain pattern. This panel is also line inlaid. Quarter fans are positioned in each of the four corners. The fans consist of seven petals of alternating light and dark wood. The waist section is long and quite narrow. This accentuates the pleasing form of the case. The tombstone shaped waist door features and excellent grain pattern. It is fitted with an applied molding along its perimeter. This door is also line inlaid in a pattern that conforms to the door shape. The sides of this case are fitted with fluted quarter columns that are stopped with brass and terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a traditional pierced and open fretwork design and is surmounted with three brass finials. Each of the finials are mounted on fluted plinths. The bonnet door is also decorated with a line inlaid. It is an arched form and is fitted with glass. The two smoothly turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns are positioned on either side of the bonnet door. They are free standing and mounted into brass capitals. They provide the illusion of supporting the upper bonnet molding. Tombstone shaped sidelights are fitted into the sides of the bonnet. Each of these is fitted with glass and provide a view of the mechanism.

The eight-day time and strike movement is brass and is of fine quality. It is designed to strike each hour on the hour. It strikes the hour a cast iron bell that is mounted above the movement. This clock is weight powered and retains its original tin can weights.

The iron dial is colorfully painted. Floral patterns decorate each of the four spandrel areas and the arch of this dial. The arch is also decorated with a colorful bird. This dial is signed by the maker just below the calendar aperture. It is reads "E. Willard." This dial displays the time in a traditional format having large Roman numerals that mark the hours and Arabic numerals are positioned at the five minute marker locations. A subsidiary seconds dial is located below the Roman hour numeral XII and the calendar date is indicated on a separate dial mounted below the center arbor.

This clock was made circa 1795 and stands approximately 96 inches tall, 20.25 inches and 10 inches deep. It is inventory number UU-26.

About Ephraim Willard of Medford, Roxbury and Boston, Massachusetts.

Ephraim Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on March 18th, 1755. He parents, Benjamin Willard and Sarah (Brooks) Willard had twelve children. Four of the boys became clockmakers. Little is known of Ephraim’s early life in Grafton where he probably learned clock making from his older brothers Benjamin and Simon. Simon Willard (1753-1848) was to become America’s most famous clockmaker. It is recorded that Ephraim did march with his brothers in response to the Lexington Alarm on April 19,1775. His service lasted all of one week and five days. In 1777, he took up residence in Medford, Massachusetts and was listed as a clock and watchmaker. In 1784, a lawsuit identifies him a a trader living in Boston. In 1795 through 1801, he is listed as a Roxbury resident in the Roxbury Tax Records. In 1801, he purchased land and a house on Sheaf’s Lane in Boston. The deed for this transaction describes Ephraim as a “Merchant.” Financial difficulties followed over the next two years and Ephraim was then described as a Clockmaker. In 1804, he is listed in the Boston Tax Records as a clockmaker on Elliot Street. In 1805 Ephraim moved to New York City and is listed occasionally as a watchmaker until 1832. Ephraim, like his older brother Benjamin, was a bit of a wanderer. It seems his production as a Clockmaker was a fraction of what his three other brothers produced. A small number of tall clocks are know. The cases he selected to house his clocks range in form from very simple and reserved to what are considered the best the Boston area cabinetmaker had to offer.

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