Belding D. (BD) Bingham Nashua, New Hampshire. A wall regulator of the finest quality designed for use by watchmen or installed in banks, public offices of large rooms.

A relatively small number of clockmakers are known to have made regulator clocks that share this very popular form. This is partly due to the fact that the form was introduced during the transition from people made clocks to clocks that were made by companies. The first to have introduced this large banjo form, measuring approximately 4 feet 2 inches long, was the partnership of Simon Willard & Son in the early 1830’s. Based on the numbers of clocks that appear in the marketplace today, they made a relatively small number of examples. Interestingly, it appears that they made them with two different grades of mechanisms. The most basic of which was weight power with a dead beat escapement. This simple mechanism did not incorporate a seconds hand or retaining power. This is the example that appears most often today. Soon their competitors also made their own versions. The examples that we see today in very limited quantities were made by B. D. Bingham in Nashua and Joesph N. Dunning of Burlington, VT. These clockmakers made their clocks in the 1835-1850 time period. In the 1850’s the game changed. The Howard & Davis firm and then the E. Howard Clock Co., made and sold hundreds of examples. It is their clocks that most collectors today are familiar with. These examples are made to a very high standard. The cases were constructed in cherry and decorated with graining. The movements are robust and are excellent quality. They are also excellent timekeepers.

In my opinion, this B D Bingham example is the best of the group. The cases are mahogany and the movements are the finest made. This is an outstanding example and is signed both on the dial and also on the works.

The case is constructed in mahogany and retains and original surface. The rich nut brown coloring is excellent. The wooden frames are subtle shaped with veneer. The rounding of the front of the frames creates visual depth. The veneer is oriented so that the grain is positioned in a perpendicular orientation to the sub frame. As a result, the mahogany veneer has experienced shrinkage cracks which in my opinion, add to the character of this wonderful case form. The frames are fitted with their original reverse painted tablets or glasses. As is the tradition of these early regulator examples, the colors featured are the traditional black and gold. The centers of both decorated glasses are left undecorated so one can see the motion of the pendulum. In the throat section, the wooden pendulum rod is covered in brass and would be visible through the center. You may also be able to get a glimpse of the brass covered weight and the brass pulley which hang behind the pendulum. The painted decoration is this throat location is original. The gilt work is in excellent condition. The black has experienced some losses. The lower glass frames the brass faced pendulum bob. This decorated glass is also in excellent original condition. The gilt pattern is unusual and nicely presented. The turned wooden mahogany bezel is fitted with clear glass. This protects the dial.

The heavy iron dial measures 12 inches in diameter. The time ring is composed of a closed minute ring and large Roman style hour numerals. A subsidiary seconds dial and hand are located below the hour numeral XII. This dial is signed by the Maker, “B. D. BINGHAM” above the Roman hour numeral VI. You may also notice that this clock also winds in this somewhat central location.

The form is very impressive. This B D Bingham example features a mahogany case that measures approximately 4 feet 2 inches long. The dial measures 12 inches in diameter and is painted on iron. The time ring is composed of a closed minute ring and large Roman style hour numerals. A subsidiary seconds dial and hand are located below the hour numeral XII. This dial is signed by the Maker, “B. D. BINGHAM” above the hour numeral VI. You may also notice that this clock winds in this location. The mahogany frames feature subtle shaping. These are fitted with glass. The upper bezel if fitted with clear glass that protects the dial. The throat tablet is paint decorated for the back. The outside border is black and a gilt framing conforms to the shape of the case. The center of this is not decorated so one can view the brass covered pendulum rood, the brass covered weight and unusual brass pulley. The lower glass is also paint decorated in black and gold. The gold is the dominant color and forms a frame for the pendulum bob. This is an unusual design. All three glasses are original to this example. Paint loss is evident in the black field of the throat tablet.

The weight driven movement is constructed in brass and is excellent quality. It is designed to run eight days on a full winding. Four turned and shaped pillars support the two heavy brass plates. These are a trapezoidal form. The movement is mounted inside the case to the backboard with tabs that catch the backplate. The front plate is die-stamped with the Maker’s name. This jewelers stamp reads, “B.D.BINGHAM.” A separate stamp below it reads, “NASHUA.” Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and the fine brass gearing. The winding drum is grooved in order to accept the weight cord. A dead beat escapement and maintaining power are incorporated into the movement design. The works are powered with a brass covered lead weight that descends through the center of the case. The pendulum is mounted to the front of the movement and hangs from a T-bridge and suspension. The wooden rod is cherry and decoratively covered in brass supports a large and heavy lead nine inch bob. As a result of the construction of these movement, clocks like this vary only seconds a month and are excellent time keepers.

This clock was made circa 1840. It measure 4 feet 2 inches long, 20.25 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep.

About Belding (BD) Bingham of Nashua, New Hampshire.

Belding Dart (BD) Bingham worked primarily as a Watchmaker in Nashua, New Hampshire for most of his life. He is also reported to have worked briefly in the cities of Lowell, Waltham and in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It appears he had a working association with Leonard W. Noise, and for a short time with Fisher Thayer and J.S. Warner. The quality of his clock work is outstanding.

Bingham was born in Shoreham, Addison, Vermont on July 5th 1812. His parents were Ira Bingham and Jane (Dart) Bingham. Sometime in the early 1830’s, BD appears in Nashua, NH and is working with Leonard W. Noyes as a clockmaker. A timepiece is known that has a dial signed, “Warranted by L. W. Noyes” and the movement is inscribed “B. D. Bingham, maker 1834.” BD married Mary Brown on November 15, 1836. In 1838, BD advertises in the Nashua Gazette that he has taken the store of L. W. Noyes in the Long Block, Main Street. Here he is selling clocks, watches, jewelry, etc. He is also servicing or repairing all sorts of items. In 1850, it appears he took a residence on Pearl Street. In 1852, he moves with his family to San Francisco, California. He stays there approximately a year before he returns to Nashua. In 1859-1862, the Nashua Watch Company is being formed. BD is one of the founding members. In 1865-1866, BD serves as the superintendent of the Tremont Watch Company. This is during the absence of A. L. Dennison. During this time, BD is reported to have been living on Eustis Street in Roxbury. In 1868, he moves back to Nashua and remains there until he dies on October 4, 1878.

A small number of Bingham clocks are documented. These include: floor model astronomical regulators, large wall (Banjo Style) regulators and gallery clocks. The large regulators appear more commonly. An example seems to be offered for sale publically once every 5 or more years. For the period of 1834 to approximately 1842, the Nashua directories, documented examples, and numerous advertisements indicate or state that B.D. Bingham is a clockmaker. After 1842, the directories and advertisements do not include the word clockmaker, but continue to use the word watchmaker. It would appear that he had ceased making clocks after 1842.

Sale Pending

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