Nathaniel Mulliken (I) of Lexington, Massachusetts.

Nathaniel was a member of a very important family of American clock makers extending in two family lines for three separate generations. He was born in Bradford, Massachusetts on August 8, 1722. His parents were John and Mary (Poore) Mulliken of Bradford, Massachusetts. It is thought that he served his clockmaking apprenticeship to his uncle Jonathan Mulliken (b. circa 1701) who was working in Bradford as early as 1735. Nathaniel also worked in Bradford until approximately 1751 when he married Lydia Stone. She was the daughter of Deacon John Stone of Lexington who lived near the town line of Lincoln. It is said that Nathaniel left a clock with the Deacon “on trial.” When he returned for payment, the courtship began with his daughter. Together, Nathaniel and Lydia bought a small house and shop on the main road now called Massachusetts Avenue. It was locatedon the rise of ground across the street from the lower entrance of the cemetery and just above the Muntoe Tavern. Nathaniel was also a blacksmith and was proud of the andirons he made. They had at least seven children. Two of which also made clocks. Nathaniel Jr., was born on March 30th, 1752 and Joseph was born in on April 9th, 1765 in the same town. Nathaniel live and worked in Lexington until his death in 1767. It is thought that he trained other clockmakers besides his sons including Benjamin Willard. Willard moved to Lexington to learn how to make brass works clocks. He is also thought to have trained Daniel Balch of Newbury, Massachusetts. Nathaniel’s son John, (born 1754) was a cabinetmaker and is recorded as making clock cases. Nathaniel Sr died on, Monday Decemeber 3, 1767. He fell at the door of his house and expired a few moments later. The business in Lexington was continued on by Nathaniel Jr. and Benjamin Willard. Nathaniel II maintained this business until the shop and the house were burned to the ground on April 17, 1775 by British troops while retreating back to Boston from Concord. A signed Mulliken musical movement designed to play lively tunes during the week and a Psalm tune on Sunday was reportedly found in the knapsack of a wounded British soldier lying on the Boston Road in Malden or Medford. Nathaniel Jr. died the next winter at the age of 24.

Several tall-case clocks with movements by Nathaniel Mulliken are known. One eight day example having a dial engraved with an American eagle is illustrated in Lester Dworetsky and Robert Dickstein, Horology Americana, 1972, on page 2. Brooks Palmer also documents in The Book of American Clocks, 1950, p. 246. a Mulliken clock from the collection of J. Cheney Wells with a brass dial and maple case that was exhibited at the Harvard Tercentenary. This clock is now on display at Old Sturbridge Village. Another is illustrated in “Living with Antiques: The Brick House, New Hampshire of Mrs. Thomas C. Dunnington”, The Magazine Antiques (July 1964) page 75. Another example is in the collection of the Concord Antiquarian Society and is illustrated in The Magazine Antiques (December 1974).

Nathaniel Mulliken (1722-1777) Lexington, Massachusetts. A pre-revolutionary American tall case clock.

A most important and handsome butternut case tall clock made by Nathaniel Mulliken of Lexington, Massachusetts. Very few Clockmakers lived and… read more

Nathaniel Mulliken (1722-1777) of Lexington, Massachusetts. A maple cased pre-revolutionary tall clock. YY7.

An important maple cased tall clock made by Nathaniel Mulliken in Lexington, Massachusetts. He was a member of a very important… read more