Walter Durfee 8 Tube Mahogany tall or Hall Clock retailed by J.E. Caldwell & Co., in Philadelphia. This clock was sold to George & Laura Holl as a 25th wedding anniversary present.

This very impressive case is constructed in mahogany and retains an older finish that has been recently rubbed out. This case design incorporates a very unusual case form. numerous carved moldings and architectural patterns as well as a number of stepped panels in it’s design. These decorations are artfully displayed throughout the case form.

The presentation plaque mounted to the base panel reads, “George & Laura Holl, June 25th, 1875-1895.” George Holl built hundreds of houses in Camden, New Jersey. This clock was a 22nd anniversary present to his wife. George Holl served with in the Union army during the Civil War, and was noted for distinguished service. He enlisted as a Sergeant on April 25, 1861, on the 27th he was assigned to Company G, 4th New Jersey Infantry New Jersey Regiment. George Holl mustered out from Company G, 4th New Jersey Infantry Regiment on July 31, 1861 in Trenton, NJ. He appears on the roster as a Lieutenant 2nd Class, commissioned on June 17, 1863 with the Independent Company, 1st New Jersey Militia Infantry Regiment and his Civil War pension record also indicates service in the 6th New Jersey Infantry Regiment.

The waist is fitted with thick beveled glass. Through this, one can view the motion of the brass faced pendulum bob while the clock is in operation. Eight nickeled plated tubular chimes hang in the back of this case and at times, the three brass covered weights that power the movement are visible through the glass in the door. (All eight tubes are stamped by Durfee.) All of these components are highly finished. The arched bonnet door is also fitted with thick beveled glass. Through this one views the brass composite dial.

This dial is very complex and is skillfully designed. It features the Durfee die stamp on the back. Applied details such as the engraved hemispheres, selector rings, engraved lunar calendar date, a chapter or time ring measuring twelve inches in diameter and a subsidiary seconds dial are all finished in a silver wash. The Arabic style hour numerals are raised in brass. The spandrel areas and the center field inside the time ring are skillfully engraved. This dial is signed in the center section by the Retailer, “J. E. Caldwell & Co., / Philadelphia, Penn.” This dial also displays a painted rolling moon and actuating mechanism, a subsidiary seconds dial and both a silent / strike and Westminster Chimes / Bow Bells selectors. The depiction of the hemispheres are also excellent quality.

This fine brass constructed movement is weight driven. The four turned pillars are substantial and support the two large damascened decorated brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. This movement is fitted with maintaining power. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is a Dead beat arrangement. This clock is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a three train design striking the hour and quarter hours. The striking is actuated by rack and snail striking system. The quarter hour sequence is progressive and can be played on as many as eight tubular chimes that hang in the back of the case. Each of the tubes are die stamped with Walter Durfee’s die stamp and patent dates of 1892 & 1896. The operator has the choice of listening to two selections. They are Westminster Chimes and Bow Bells. The Westminster chime sequence on four chimes was made popular by the installation of the House of Parliament clock in London. This clock is better known as Big Ben. Bow Bells is the tune that St Mary-Le-Bow plays on the quarter hours. This historic church is located on the main east-west thoroughfare in the Cheapside district in the city of London. Tradition states that a true Cockney, a city dweller, must be born within earshot of the sound of Bow Bells.

About James Emmett Caldwell of Philadelphia, PA.

James Emmett Caldwell was trained in the silver trade and worked in it as early as 1839 on his own. From about 1860, the J. E. Caldwell & Co. focused on being retailer of silver rather than a manufacturer. Soon this company became one of the major jewelry and silver retailers in Philadelphia. James E. Caldwell himself ran the business until he died in 1881. He was succeeded by his son, J. Albert Caldwell who ran it until his death in 1914. At that time he was succeeded by his son J. Emmett Caldwell.


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