Birge & Fuller Four Candlestick Steeple on Steeple Clock
This is a very good example of a four candlestick steeple clock manufactured by the firm Birge & Fuller of Bristol, Connecticut. This is a highly collectable example due to the fact that it is powered by a "Wagon spring mechanism." The movement in this clock is constructed with brass and steel. It is quite typical in that it is designed to run eight days on a full wind and strike the hour on a wire gong. Where it differs is in the manner in which it is powered making it a very desirable model. The most common method for a clock such as this to be powered is with a coil spring. When one winds this clock, cords pull on levers which tension the leaf springs located in the bottom of the case. This added mechanical feature must have been very costly to produce as compared to the standard coil spring driven movement. The wagon spring example incorporated several cast iron parts which include leaf spring, lifting levers and hoists and pulleys. This would have been an added cost to the clockmaker and would have made this clock more expensive than the standard coil spring model. As a result, this clock probably didn’t sell very well. Today, because of the limited number of clocks made and survivability of those that did, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good examples such as this one.
The clock case is veneered with mahogany and retains a good finish and lovely brown color. The reverse painted tablets are original to this clock and are in excellent condition. They are decorated with delicate painted design. As a result, one can see through them enabling one to just make out the brass chains and some of the iron tooling use in the powering of the movement. You would also be able to see the motion of the brass pendulum bob. The dial on this clock is painted on tin and features the traditional Roman numeral time ring. The Clockmaker's label is pasted onto the backboard. It is in very good condition. Standing on four bun feet, this clock measures 26 inches tall by approximately 13.75 inches wide. This choice example was made circa 1845.
John Birge and Thomas Fuller shared a successful partnership in Bristol Connecticut from 1844 through 1848. They made many steeple clocks with a large variation of movements.
About Birge & Fuller Bristol, Conn.
John Birge (1785 -1862) and Thomas Franklin Fuller (1798 – 1848) shared a successful partnership in Bristol Connecticut from 1844 through 1848. They made many steeple clocks with a large variation of movements. This firm is probably best known for making steeple on steeple clocks powered by wagon spring movements.
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