Made in the Flemington area of New Jersey circa 1810, this is an inlaid mahogany case tall clock. 218041.

This finely inlaid mahogany case tall clock was made in the Flemington area of New Jersey circa 1810. The design of the case exhibits narrow proportions and features excellent woods selections. The mahogany is finished in a darker tone. It sharply contrasts with the light wood inlays, which are complex. This format commands one’s attention.

This example stands on delicate flared French feet. A shaped apron below the base panel smoothly transitions from foot to foot and up to the base section. The base panel is formatted with a center circular inlay of figured mahogany. A second line inlaid pattern frames the perimeter of the panel. Quarter fans are fitted into each of the four corners of this framing. The waist section is long and narrow, typical for this region. The waist door is nicely shaped at the top. This door is trimmed with light line inlay. Please note the use of figured veneers in the oval panel found in the center of the waist door. This oval is fitted into the design of the door and is trimmed out with four additional panels of mahogany. An additional oval is incorporated in the Irish panel, located below the waist door. Fluted quarter columns are fitted into the sides of the waist. These terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. The blocking is framed in line inlays. Bookend line inlays are used in the upper section of the waist and the hood’s design. The bonnet features a swan’s neck pediment. These arches are pretty tall and delicately shaped. They terminate in inlaid pinwheels of two alternating colors. The hood is surmounted by three brass finials which are mounted on plinths. Fully turned and fluted columns are mounted in brass capitals. These flank the arched glazed door. This door opens to a colorfully painted iron dial.

This painted dial is of Boston origin. It features automation in the arch in the form of a lunar calendar. The lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism is a mechanical almanac. This feature was most likely made on special order due to the extra work involved in producing it. This display would have been valuable to several occupations during the colonial era. Farmers at the time were known to track the moon phase so they could anticipate the days that offered the most available moonlight. A bright night would be more beneficial to them in scheduling the tilling and harvesting of their fields. Sailors and merchants tracked the lunar phases to know the high tide cycles for shipping and fishing. Numerous religious groups had an almost superstitious litany of rituals best performed by lunar events. The actual lunar month represents an inconvenient interval of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds. A clock’s lunar calendar is set constant at 29.5 days, representing a complete cycle. As a result, a 9-hour setback is required to keep the lunar display current at the end of a single year. The four spandrel areas are decorated with floral patterns. These are depicted as growing out of a gilt urn. This dial displays the hours, minutes, seconds, and month calendar in their traditional locations.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is of good quality. Four turned, and slightly shaped pillars support the two brass plates. The brass plates feature a cutout at the bottom. The shape of which is attractive. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are smooth. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight-driven and designed to run for eight days. It is a two-train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell mounted above the movement.

This clock was made circa 1810 and stands approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall. It is approximately 20.25 inches wide and 9.5 inches deep.

218041

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