Phinehaus Bailey of Hanover, New Hampshire and Chelsea, Vermont.

A clockmaker, jeweler, silversmith, traveling tinker, teacher, printer, and minister. Inventor of Phonography.

Phinehaus or Phinehas J. Bailey was born on November 6,1787 in Landaff, NH. He was the son of Asa and Abigail (Abbott) Bailey and was the fourteenth of seventeen children. In 1793, his parent recently separated, Phinehuas was sent to live with his older sister Abigail and her husband Stephen Bartlett in Bath. Here he received some schooling from his brother-in-law and eventually find work in his uncles workshop making sleds, carts, crossbows, windmills, etc. In 1801, he was apprenticed to John Osgood in Haverhill, NH. Osgood was a prolific clockmaker and was also a silversmith and jeweler. Bailey,s apprenticeship lasted seven years. In 1809, Bailey found work as a Methodist minister and journeyman in Hanover, NH with the clockmaker, watchmaker, silversmith Jedidiah Baldwin. This lasted approximately 7 months. Bailey did not like Baldwin so he moved approximately 20 miles northeast to Chelsea, VT. Here he struck a deal with Nathan Hale to use his tools and to make clocks. This partnership prospered. In August of 1810, he married Janette McArther and together they bought a house. By 1816, his clock business had began to fail. Competition from the wooden clock industry in Connecticut had devastated the brass clock business. The introduction of cheap wooden geared clocks put the Makers of brass geared clocks out of business. Bailey became a traveling repairman fixing for people what ever he could. He also became interested in shorthand and mastered the art. He made some improvements of his own on the process and called his version phonography. This was a form of stenography. He developed and continued to revise his own system over the following years. In doing so, he taught numerous people. This became for a time his major source of income. He was also a member of the Congregational ministry. In 1823, after years of study he was licensed to preach. He began a new career in Richmond, VT. A year later he moved to East Berkshire to preach. He also opened a school to teach shorthand, astronomy and grammar. In 1833, he moved across Lake Champlain to preach in Beekman, NY. Troubled times in 1839 including the death of his wife forced him to move south to Ticonderoga, NY. Eighteen months later he was preaching in Hebron, NY. He resigned from Hebron in 1845. In 1852, he moved back to Vermont to the town of Albany with his wife Hannah Edwards of Morrisville. He retired from the pulpit in 1860. Phinehuas died on December 14, 1861.

Several tall clocks are known to exist. A portrait Phinehuas Bailey and a daguerreotype are in the collection of the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont. A watch paper is in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Phinehaus J. Bailey. Chelsea, Vermont. An inlaid cherry cased tall clock. No 6. 219117

This important clock was made by Phinehaus J. Bailey of Chelsea, Vermont circa 1810. This is Phinehaus’s 6th clock and is… read more