David Blasdel of Amesbury, Massachusetts.

The Blasdel name is spelled many ways. We have seen it spelled “Blaisdell” and “Blaisdel” in the past. This example is signed with the spelling “Blasdel.”

David Blasdel was born in 1712 and worked in Amesbury until his death is 1756. He was killed near Lake George at Fort William Henry while serving in the last French and Indian War as a blacksmith. He was responsible for keeping the troops arms and armor in good repair. He had an older brother Jonathan (1709-1802) who worked in East Kingston, New Hampshire. Both boys were clockmakers and metalworkers. David was perhaps the more successful clockmaker in that more examples of his tall clocks have been recorded to date.

David had sons who also work in the trade. David Jr was born 1736 and died in 1794. Isaac was born in 1738 and died in 1791. Nicholas was born in 1743 and was at work in 1800. He was a Captain in the Revolutionary War with the First Co. out of Maine. In 1770, he settled in Portland, Maine. David Senior also had a grandson named Richard who made clocks. Richard was Isaac’s son. Richard made clocks in Amesbury, MA, Chester and Newmarket, NH and then finally in Falmouth, Maine.

The Blasdels may have been the earliest blacksmiths, silversmiths, woodworkers & clockmakers working north of Boston. The vast majority of the tall clocks made by this pioneering family are easily identifiable. The tall clocks feature one day iron framed and brass geared movements. These works features posted frames. The posts are often tapered in the middle and as a result, are referred to as a “dog-bone” post. The top and bottom were fitted with cast iron plates. This set up format has the look of a cage. The trains are positioned in tandem, ie the strike train is located behind the time train. This makes it possible to use the endless rope arrangement that will power both trains. The count wheel,usually as much as 3 1/2 inches in diameter is located on the outside of the rear plate.

Many of the Blasdel dials are follow the same form and are somewhat distinctive. The are generally composed of a tin or thin brass sheet that is arched in form and undersized measuring approximately 10 inches across an 13.5 inches tall. The time rings are approximately 9 inches in diameter. They are engraved with Roman style hour numerals, Arabic style five minute markers, a closed minute track. Inside this ring is a small window that displays the calendar day. The cast spandrels and usually pewter and lack detail. The Maker’s name is engraved in the boss located in the arch. This is usually crudely done.

David Blasdel of Amesbury, Massachusetts. The patriotic of three generations of clockmakers. A pre-revolutionary tall clock made in 1755.

This Queen Anne form is constructed in pine and is stained with a mahogany finish. The case is very well preserved.… read more