James Perrigo Sr, of Wrentham, Massachusetts. A primitive tall case clock. Wooden gears. AA77.

Wooden geared clocks are traditionally formatted as a thirty hour design. This example is constructed in wood having large oak plates that are joined together with six turned and tapered wooden posts. The pendulum is actually supported by a post, centrally located at the top of the movement. The strike train is actuated by the large count wheel that is mounted on the backplate. The lifting arm is mounted on the front plate. This clock will strike each hour on a cast iron bell that is mounted above the movement on a stand. Please note the size and shaping of the robust gearing. It is fun to compare the the size and shape to the standard thirty-hour wooden geared clock movements made some 60 years later in Connecticut. This version is a gear heads dream machine. This movement is powered by weights that hang from ropes. These are set up as a direct drive. It is a two train design. This clock is also fitted with a simple calendar.

The arched dial is wonderfully constructed. A thin brass sheet is applied or tacked to a thick wooden pine board for support. The center area, the area with in the time ring, is matted or textured. Here, one will also find a small square opening that displays the calendar day. The time ring, name boss and decorative spandrels are applied to the brass sheet. The spandrels are cast from pewter and remnants of the original gilding is present. The time ring features Roman style hour numerals, Arabic style five minute markers and a closed minute ring. The time is displayed by the two country style hands. A name boss is mounted in the arch of the dial. It is engraved with the Maker’s name, “James Perrigo.” This is executed in a script format. His working location of “WRENTHAM” is written in large block lettering. “Fecit” is written in script and is located in the bottom half of the boss. This dial measures approximately 10 inches wide and 13.5 inches tall.

This cherry case exhibits classic Queen Anne style moldings and excellent narrow proportions. This case is supported on an applied molding that rests flat to the floor. The base section is some what compressed by today’s standards. The moldings that transition the base to the waist and the waist to the hood are robust and nicely shaped. The waist section is fitted with a long tombstone shaped waist door. This door is trimmed with a simple molded edge. A lenticle is positioned in this door at the height of the pendulum bob. This allows one to view the motion of the pendulum bob when the clock is operating. The bonnet features a flat top cornice. The moldings are excellent. The bonnet door features an arched opening that is fitted with glass in order to protect the dial. Fully turned bonnet columns are applied to the door.

This clock was made circa 1758. The overall height is 89 inches tall.


About James Perrigo Senior of Wrentham, Massachusetts.

James Perrigo Sr., was born in Wrentham, Massachusetts in 1737 and died there in 1808 at the age of 71. He may have been Massachusetts earliest clockmaker of wooden geared clocks and it is thought that he may have been at work as early as the late 1750’s.


For more information about this clock click  here .