Samuel Abbott of Boston, Massachusetts. A gilded framed mirror clock. XXSL4

This is an excellent example of a signed mirror clock made by Samuel Abbott of Boston, Massachusetts.

This is an exceptional example of a clock form that is often found in rough condition. This clock has been very well preserved. This case is constructed in white pine and features a large gilded door that fronts clock. The top of the case is surmounted with a large cornice molding. The door or frame is designed like a wall mirror of the same period. Square blocks from the corners. Decorative circular carvings are applied to the front surfaces of the blocks. The four side of the frame are a convex form. Inside the hollow is a half of a turned and shaped column. All of this decoration is gilded and retains most of the original surface. The door is divided into two sections. The lower section features a period mercurial mirror that appears to be original to the clock. The upper section is fitted with a wonderful painted tablet. This tablet is painted decorated from the back and frames the dial. This tablet is in excellent original condition. This door will open to allow one access to the dial and the mechanism which is positioned behind it. The painted iron dial is slightly convex in form and is signed by the clockmaker, “Samuel Abbot / Boston.” The weight driven movement is framed with “Grand piano” shaped plates. Abbott is reportable the only clockmaker that used this distinctive design. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. The cast iron weight slides up and down on the steel rods that are mounted inside the case.

This clock is nicely proportioned measuring 34.75 long, 20.25 inches wide at the cornice molding and 6 inches deep in the same location. This clock was made circa 1830.

Mirror clocks that share this basic form are often called New Hampshire Mirror clocks. That is not to say that they were all made in New Hampshire,but the vast majority of them were. In fact, I have heard it said many time over the years that more were made in New Hampshire than in all of the other Northeastern States all combined. Let us exclude the Munger and Ives examples. The vast majority of these NH versions were designed to hang on the wall. There are a small number that were fit up with a base board that allowed the door swing open providing the clearance to do so if sitting on a shelf or a piece of furniture. These clocks generally consisted of cases that were designed in the following manner. The case are shallow. The presentation side or front is formatted in the shaped and the design of a wall mirror. They vary in that many feature mahogany veneers, some are paint decorated and others are finished in gilding. They are often divided into two sections. The lower section is almost two thirds of the case length. This area is fitted with a mirror. The upper section displays a round dial. This is framed with a painted tablet that is decorated from the back. Movement construction can vary greatly based on the Maker. For example. Iron plated examples are often made by the Berwick, Maine group of clockmakers. A large percentage of the striking examples seem to have been made in Concord, NH by Abiel Chandler. The clocks that feature a wheel barrel movement where the gearing is laid out in a horizontal fashion have roots with the Boscowan, NH clockmakers. Of coarse there are exceptions to every rule.



About Samuel Abbott of Dover, New Hampshire, Boston, Massachusetts and Montpelier, Vermont.

Samuel Abbott was born May 14, 1791 in Concord, NH. He was the son of Stephen Abbott and Mary Giles. Samuel is first listed as a clockmaker in 1812 in the town of Dover, NH. It is in this small southeastern New Hampshire town that Samuel began his career as a clockmaker, watchmaker, silversmith, and jeweler. On March 5, 1813, Samuel married Jane Day of Concord, New Hampshire. Together they had two sons. Their son John Sullivan Abbott worked in Montpelier, Vermont in similar trades. The Abbott family moved from Dover to Boston, Massachusetts in about 1827. Here he is listed in the Boston Directories as a clockmaker in 1827 through 1830. In Boston, he is listed at several addresses: first at 11 Pitt Street, then 64 Hanover Street and lastly 33 Merrimack. In 1830, Samuel left Boston and moved North to Montpelier, Vermont. He first advertises himself as clock and watchmaker there in January 1830. In 1831-32 he formed a partnership with a Mr. Freeman as Abbott & Freeman. While in Montpelier, Samuel trained J. G. Hall as a clockmaker. Abbott was again listed in the New England Business Directories as watchmaker and jeweler at Montpelier in 1849 and in 1860. He lived there until his death on May 4, 1861 at the age 70. He is buried in the Green Mountian Cemetery in Montpelier, VT.

Examples of tall clocks, shelf clocks, New Hampshire mirror clocks, lyre wall clocks, and patent timepieces have been found. He is noted for his distinctive three-pillar, “grand piano” shaped timepiece movements. Many of these clocks are found with a teardrop shaped pendulum keystone. A watch paper also survives. It is in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA.


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