Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. An alarm banjo clock or wall timepiece.

This is a fine Federal Massachusetts Banjo Clock was made by Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts circa 1830. This example features an alarm.

The case is constructed in mahogany and features half round mahogany frames. The half rounded mahogany frames are fitted with glass panels or tablets. These are paint decorated from the back and are in very good original condition. They are decorated with traditional themes. This subject matter was quite popular and we have seen many clocks with very similar tablets. The colors are black, gilt or gold leaf and gold paint. The lower tablet depicts an American Eagle with its’ claws clutching oliver branches and arrows. The center of the tablet is not decorated. This way one can view the motion of the pendulum bob through the glass. The throat tablet depicts an urn with a floral vine that runs the length of the glass. Both tablets form a pair. This case never had sidearms. The dial bezel is also mahogany and is fitted with glass. This opens to access the painted iron dial. This dial is signed in script by the Maker, “A. Willard Jr / BOSTON.” This signature is in excellent original condition. The time ring is marked out in Roman numerals. One should notice the extra hand. This hand is used for setting the alarm. This example features an alarm.

The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. The movement is constructed in brass. The brass plates are secured by four brass pillars. The gearing is also brass and the shafts and pinions that support them are hardened steel. The escapement is design as a recoil format. The pendulum bob is lead and covered with brass. It swings in front of a long rectangular shaped tie-down. This is die-stamped “A. WILLARD JR. / BOSTON.” This mechanism also features an alarm. This is wound with a key through the front of the dial. The alarm mechanism is incorporated between the plates of the movement and requires a separate drive weight. This weight is a sliver of lead and is guided through a narrow cannel in the throat of the case to the left of the time weight which is standard size. The alarm strikes a bell which is mounted above the case. It is supported by a mahogany plinth and replaces the finial. Overall, the movement is excellent quality which is quite typical of this Maker.

This attractive clock measures approximately 31 inches long and was made circa 1830.

About Aaron Willard Junior of Boston, Massachusetts.

Aaron Willard Jr. was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on June 29, 1783. He had the good fortune of being born into America’s leading clockmaking family. His father Aaron and uncle Simon had recently moved from the rural community of Grafton and began a productive career of manufacturing high quality clocks in this new ideal location. Based on the traditions of the day, it is thought that Aaron Jr. probably learned the skill of clockmaking from his family. We have owned a large number of wall timepieces or more commonly called banjo clocks that were made by this talented maker. Based on the numbers seen in the marketplace, it is logical to assume he was one of the most prolific makers of this form. We have also owned a fair number of tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and gallery clocks. Aaron Jr. retired from clockmaking sometime around 1850 and moved to Newton, Massachusetts. He died on May 2nd, 1864.


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