Whittier Perkins of Wendell (Now Sunapee), New Hampshire. A primitive form. OO41.

This unusually simple or primitive tall case clock was made by Whittier Perkins of Wendell, New Hampshire. This small town no longer exists. It has become part of the town of Sunapee. This clock was recently purchased out of a house from that area. It was said to have been located there for many generations.

This case is constructed in New England white pine and retains its original surface. The original brown wash includes dark streaks of black paint that resemble the pattern of a long linear grain format. The design of this case suggests that it was locally made by a cabinetmaker who was unfamiliar with the construction process of assembling a tall clock case. This may add to the rustic charm of this example?

The base section rests flat on the floor. The waist section is long. A simple and narrow rectangular shaped waist door is fitted into the center of this section and opens to access the interior of the case. Inside the case one will find a pendulum that features a wooden rod and the two original tin can weights. The hood or bonnet features a large and boldly formatted cornice molding. This exhibits a very overhang. The bonnet door is simply constructed and is fitted with glass. The shape of the door aperture conforms to the arched shape of the dial.

This wooden dial is nicely decorated with paint and displays the time in a traditional format. The hours are displayed in Roman numerals and Arabic five minute markers are positioned above each hour. Interestingly shaped pewter hands are used to indicate the time. On this example, the Clockmaker’s name is signed within the time track below the center arbor. This clock is signed in block lettering, “W. PERKINS / WENDELL.” The decoration on this dial incorporates very little diversity in color. The artistic designs are drawn out in black and then highlighted with red. Florals are displayed in both the arch and spandrel areas. In the arch is also a nice depiction of a colonial home.

The wooden geared movement is the construction one expects from the Ashby School of clockmaking. Perkins must have been trained in Ashby due to the similarities of movement construction and design. These types of wooden geared movements are designed to run 30 hours on a full wind and strike the hour on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement on an iron bell stand. This movement is constructed with two large beech wood plates. Five turned posts support the plates and are secured with pins. The wooden gearing is robust and fitted between the plates. The winding drums are divided. The count-wheel is mounted on the back of the movement. Please pay close attention to the bits of iron work. They are nicely formed.

This fine clock was made circa 1805.

The overall height of this example measures approximately 7 feet 3 inches tall.

Inventory number OO-41. It is pictured and discussed in “American Wooden Movement Tall Clocks 1712 – 1835” written by Philip Morris on page 96. This wonderful clock is now on display at the Sunapee New Hampshire Historical Society.

About Whittier Perkins working in Wendell now Sunapee, New Hampshire.

Whittier Perkins was born the son of Captain Icabod and Sara (Whittier) Perkins on April 7, 1764. He was born in Methuen, Massachusetts. He was the first cousin of Robinson Perkins, a clockmaker that was working in Jaffery, NH and was trained in the Ashby, Massachusetts School of clockmaking. Whittier’s clock movements share many of the Ashby construction characteristics. They differ slightly. Please read “American Wooden Movement Tall Clocks 1712-1835” written by Philip Morris for a more in depth discussion about construction variations. It is not known when Whittier moved to Wendell. He and his family are listed in the 1790 census. Whittier died in Wendell on August 16, 1813. Very few clocks are known.


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