Ebenezer Sargent of Newbury, Massachusetts. A Pre-Revolutionary clock made circa 1750.

This is a very rare and important mahogany case tall clock made by Ebenezer Sargent of Newbury, Massachusetts.

Very few clockmakers lived and worked in the Colonies during this early time period of our country’s history. Pre-Revolutionary clocks made in this country are quite rare and very few exist. The majority of the clocks that would have been available would have been from English sources.

This rare clock is typical of the early tall case form. It is a diminutive size and must have been made for a specific room in the original owners home. The case is constructed in cherry and has been recently refinish to a warm pleasing tone. This case sits flat to the floor on a large single step molding. The base is somewhat compressed and transitions quickly to the waist section which is comparatively long. The waist door is tombstone shaped and fills the waist or middle section of the case. The perimeter of the door is trimmed with a simple molded edge. Through this door, one can access the drive weights and brass faced pendulum bob. The bonnet or hood features a full pagoda or bell top design. This would have been the latest London fashion for the period in which this case was made. This decorative element is trimmed with blocked ends. Each block supports a single finial that features and cast eagle over a ball. This pagoda is positioned above a break arch molding. Large tombstone shaped side lights are fitted with glass and positioned in the sides of the hood. The wooden bonnet columns are turned smooth and free standing. These terminate in brass Doric style capitals and they flank the arched formed bonnet door. This door is fitted with glass and opens to access the dial.

This style of dial predates the painted dial form. It is composed of a brass sheet and is decorated with applied brass spandrels, silvered time or chapter rings, and name plaque. The four cast spandrels around the time dial are the Indian and headdress version. The two spandrels in the arch are the popular dolphin form. These center the Clockmaker’s name boss. His name and working location are engraved in this convex surface. The interior of the time ring is matted for contrast. The hours are indicated with large Roman style numerals. The five minute makers on the outside of the time dial and around the subsidiary seconds dial are displayed in an Arabic form. The hands are wonderfully hand filed. The skill exhibited here is very high.

The two train movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. Five ring turned pillars or posts support the two large 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 count-wheel 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 clock was made circa 1750 and stands approximately 78.5 inches tall to the top of the eagles wing, 77 inches tall to the top of the pagoda, 19.75 inches wide and 10 inches deep.

About Ebenezer Sargent of Newbury, Massachusetts.

Currently, very little is known of this Clockmaker. There is recorded an Ebenezer Sargent who was born in Newbury on April 18, 1717 to Ebenezer Sargent I (1685-1724) and Ann (Sawyer) Sargent (1687-1753). They were married on October 15, 1708. Ebenezer II is recorded as marring Patience Philips of Lynn, MA in 1753. They had a son Ebenezer in 1756 and a grandson Ebeneezer born in 1788 that are listed as gunsmiths. This makes his name difficult to trace. Ebenezer II died on October 1797. His death is recorded in the Vital Records of Lynn, MA. At the time of his death, he is listed as a gunsmith. At least three other clocks have been recorded. One 30-hour brass dial example is signed “No. 2.” An 8-day example that is signed, “Made for Ensign Sanborn” is known. A third example is also an eight day clock with a rack striking system. This example, now the fourth has a count-wheel striking system.


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