Simon Willard's Patent Timepiece. A wall clock commonly called a "Banjo" clock.

Simon Willard timepiece. It is this very form that Simon Willard famously patented in 1802. This U.S. Patent provided Simon a period of fourteen years to produce this form exclusively. President Thomas Jefferson signed this document. Simon’s wall hanging timepiece was a revolutionary design. This clock is compact, reliable and an accurate eight-day time keeper.

This clock case is constructed in mahogany and exhibits excellent early proportions. Characteristics one likes to find in the construction of these cases are exhibited in the following details. This case features the compressed finial plinth, the uniformly cut-out head, identifiable glue blocking placement in the interior of the lower box, extension blocking for the door hinges, splined joinery in the corners of the frames and a rabbited throat frame to fit onto the throat section. The flat frames are cross banded with rosewood veneer. This detail is bordered with a light line inlay on both sides. The throat frame is secured to the case with four screws. Brass side arms flank the throat section of the case. They are lightly formed and pinned to the case in three locations. The center pinning is through the center diamond. The finial and bezel are also cast in brass. The bezel is fitted with a convex piece of glass and opens to access painted iron dial.

The enameled dial features and open time track that incorporates Roman style hour numerals. The hour and minute hands are made of steel. They are expertly hand filed and have been blued.

Both of the cross banded frames are fitted with paint decorated glass tablets. These egloimise tablets are paint decorated in multiple colors. The white field suspends a number of gilt designs and or patterns. These designs are executed in an expert hand. The lower tablet is signed by the Maker, ‘S. Willard’s Patent.’ Both tablets are original to this clock and are in excellent condition.

The time only weight driven movement is an eight-day brass construction design. It features large brass plates and step train gearing. The teeth in the gear train are deeply cut. The pendulum is supported from a T-bridge suspension. The movement is mounted to the back of the case with the original through bolts.

The cast brass eagle finial surmounts the case and is mounted on a mahogany chimney plinth.

This is very attractive Federal Massachusetts Timepiece or ‘Banjo clock’ was made circa 1807. This clock measures approximately 34.25 inches long.

About Simon Willard of Grafton and Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Simon Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on April 3, 1753. It is in Grafton that Simon learned and began a successful career as a Clockmaker. On April 19, 1775 Simon answered the Lexington alarm along with his brothers. It is thought that by 1780 he moved from Grafton and took up residence in Roxbury. Simon was a Master Clockmaker as well as an Inventor. Some of his designs or inventions include “The Improved Timepiece” or Banjo clock, a roasting jack patent that rotated meat as it cooked in the fireplace, and an alarm clock patent. In addition, he trained many men to make clocks who intern became well known Clockmakers once their apprenticeships were served. Some of which include William Cummens, Elnathan Taber, and the brothers Levi and Able Hutchins. Some of the more notable public clocks Simon built include the clock that is in The United States Capital, the one located in the U. S. Senate, and the one located in the House of Representatives. As a result, his clock were searched out by many affluent New England citizens of his day. Simon died on August 30, 1848 at the age of 95.


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