Samuel Mulliken (1761-1847) Haverhill, Massachusetts. A cherry cased tall clock.

This important clock was made by Samuel Mulliken of Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Haverhill, Massachusetts town records town are somewhat sparse. Their are 5 Samuel Mullikens born in this town. They were born on the following dates, 1695, 1720,1743,1765 and 1777. The Samuel born in 1761 may be the maker of this rare Haverhill signed example?

This is an early example and was most likely made in the early 1780’s. This case is constructed in cherry and retains an older finish that has been cleaned. The result is a pleasing color that is warm an inviting. The case stands up off the floor on a double stepped bracket feet that are applied to the base section. The design features four feet that support the case and a fancy drop apron that hangs between them. These elements are original to the case. The base section transitions to the waist with a complicated molding. From the bottom it is designed with a step to a cove, a step to a quarter round, a step to an second cove and a step to the waist. This molding design is far more complex than those moldings found on other tall case examples. The waist section is fitted with a long tomb-stone shaped waist door. This is trimmed with an applied molding. Through this door one can access the weights and the pendulum. The hood or bonnet features a solid wood decoration that is mounted above the molded arch. The front section is a variation on the swan’s neck theme. The arches are somewhat compressed and the design incorporates a center plinth. This solid wood fret design continues along the sides of the hood to the back wall. All of this is supported by the two fluted finial plinths. Both plinths are very tall and positioned at each of the front corners. Each is surmounted with brass finial that is original to this clock. The design of which is excellent. The center plinth was never fitted for a finial. Evidence of a mounting hole for one is nonexistent. The molded arch is hand carved as is evident by the remaining tool marks. This is visually supported by the turned and shaped hood columns of which there are four. Two in the front and two in the back. The bonnet sides are fitted with large tomb-stone shaped side lights. These are fitted with glass. The hood door is hinged and fitted with glass. It opens to access the dial.

This single sheet brass dial has been skillfully engraved and as is the tradition, treated or finished with a silvered wash. The hours are marked with large Roman numerals. The large Arabic five minutes markers are located on the outside of this hour ring. A subsidiary seconds dial and a calendar date display opening are located inside the time track. The Maker’s name and working location can be found in the arch of the dial. It reads in script lettering, “Sam Mulliken / Haverhill.” Additional engravings can be found framing the area around the signature and also in the center section of the dial. The spandrel areas are not decorated.

The movement is constructed in brass. The cast brass plates are supported by four ring turned brass posts. The gearing is also brass and the pinions are hardened steel. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. This mechanism will strike each hour on a bell that is mounted above the plates. The strike train is a rack and snail design. The winding barrels are grooved. The movement is supported by a seaboard. The pendulum features a metal rod and a brass faced lead bob.

This clock stands approximately 7 feet 9.5 or 92.5 inches tall to the top of the finials. Measured at the feet, this case is 21.25 inches wide and 12.25 inches deep. It was made circa 1780.

About Samuel (II) Mulliken of Haverhill ,Newburyport, Salem and Lynn Massachusetts.

Samuel Mulliken II was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts the son of mariner John Mulliken, a Captain in the state militia during the American Revolution and Susanna Huse (1735-1820) on September 22, 1761. He is a member of a very important family of American Clockmakers. It is thought that he was trained as a clockmaker and as an engraver by his distant cousin Jonathan Mulliken (1740-1782) in nearby Newburyport. Samuel may have completed his apprenticeship and first worked as a journeyman in the town of Salem only to return to Newburyport after his uncle Jonathan died in 1782. It seems likely that he took over Jonathan’s shop and courted his widow, Susannah (Pearson) Mulliken. They were married a year later on August 20, 1783. Samuel’s Newburyport shop was located on State Street. Here he continued to manufacture clocks, engrave clock dials, repair watches and light metal work. He also developed business relationship with the Willards from Roxbury agreeing to sell Simon’s Patented Clock Jacks. Samuel returned to Haverhill and opens his shop in 1787 through October 1788. He lost his wife Susanna in 1787 to yellow fever. By the end of November 1788 he re-established himself in Salem, MA on the corner of Court Street. He was busy doing various tasks for his cousin through marriage, the Sanderson brothers, Elijah and Jacob. By March of 1789, Samuel has married his second wife Sarah Newhall daughter of Colonel Ezra Newhall. His watch repair business begins to take off taking in over 20 watches a month to service. In 1796 he moves back to Lynn and buys property. He buys a tenement house and opens a tannery. He is still involved with making clocks and casting brass. He later becomes the towns postmaster in 1803. Samuel dies in Lynn in 1847.

Examples of brass and white dial shelf clocks are known. One brass dial shelf clock is currently in the Peabody Essex Museum Collection in Salem Massachusetts. A similar example to the Peabody Essex clock is pictured in “The Old Clock Book” written by N. Hudson Moore. It is pictured between page 142 and 143 in Black and white. It is figure no. 85. In 1911 it was owned by Mrs. H. P. Brownell of Providence, Rhode Island. It is reported that she owned approximately 50 antique clocks at this time. This is one she admired and it received special attention.

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