Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. An Alarm Banjo.

This is a fine Federal Massachusetts timepiece made by Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts circa 1825. This example features an alarm.

This case is constructed in mahogany and features ½ round frames that are decorated with a stencil design or pattern. This decroartion is in very good original condition. Both frames are fitted with reverse painted tablets. These tablets are original to this clock and are in excellent condition. The throat tablet is a traditional format. Gilt decorations are painted over a white field. A banner reads “Patent” in the ceneter. An American shield having an eagle above it decorates the lower section. The lower tablet is also painted on a white field. The colors in the border match those found in the throat tablet. The scene depicted is a pastoral setting which includes some of the following details, a mountain range, the setting of the sun, trees, boats individuals and families. The colors used in this painting are very good. The sides of the case are fitted with brass side arms. The dial bezel is also brass. It is secured to the case with a hinge on the right and a push button latch on the left. This bezel is fitted with glass and opens to a painted iron dial. This dial is signed by the Maker in a script format. The working location “Boston,” is signed in block lettering. One might notice the extra hand. This is for setting the alarm. The hour and minute hands are wonderfully hand filed. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. The movement is constructed in brass. The plates are secured by four brass pillars. The original steel through bolts mount it to the backboard. This mechanism also features an alarm. This is wound with a key through the dial. The alarm mechanism is incorporated between the plates of the movement. A separate lead weight drives this feature of the clock and is guided through a narrow cannel in the throat of the case aside 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 32 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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