This is a fine inlaid and cross-banded mahogany cased Shelf Clock with kidney shaped dial. It was made by Joseph Loring of Sterling, Massachusetts.

This is a very formal example. The case stands on flared French style feet. Their lines continue across the bottom of the case and form spurs and a nicely shaped double drop apron. The base is a rectangular shape. The panel is framed with a cross-banded border framed on the inside with a light line string inlay. The four corners of this panel are fitted with inlaid quarter fans. Each fan is constructed with four individual petals or separate pieces of wood. These are shaded on one side providing visual depth. The center panel is nicely figured. This fine selection of wood exhibits an excellent grain pattern and is oriented horizontally. A broad molding transitions the lower section of the case up to the hood. The top of the hood is fitted with a large three dimensional plinth. Incorporated into the design is an inlaid chimney that supports a single brass finial. Pierced fretwork is also worked into the design of this successful decoration. The bonnet or hood door aperture is fitted with glass and the door opens to access the dial.

The painted iron decorated dial is of Boston origin and is considered a “Kidney” form. It was most likely painted by the Nolen & Curtis firm. This dial is decorated with gilt circle around the perimeter of the time ring. The minutes are indicated with dots. The hours are formatted with Roman style numerals. In the lower section of the dial you will find the of the Maker’s signature. It reads “Joseph Loring” in a script format. The working location of “STERLING” (MA) is below it. A decorative pattern of swags is positioned above the Maker’s signature. Applied gesso is incorporated into the design. This is highlighted with gilt paint. Please note the wonderful form of the moon shaped steel hands.

The time only movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. Two brass plates are supported by four brass posts. The brass gearing is suspended on steel arbors that are fitted into the plates. The escapement is a recoil. The works are powered by a weight. This is a timepiece.

This clock was made circa 1810 and stands approximately 40 inches tall.

About Joseph Loring of Sterling, Massachusetts.

Clockmaker and Chairmaker.

Joseph Loring was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts on July 19, 1768 and died in Sterling, Massachusetts on January 31, 1846. He was 78 years of age. Joseph is listed in the Sterling town histories as a clockmaker as early as 1792. He also ran a general store which was located on the corner of Main Street and Kendall Hill Road. This general store later purchased by the Estabrook family who continued to operate the business for many years to follow. Joseph is said to have trained Daniel Holmes as a clockmaker and it appears that he worked for him as a journeyman in 1801 – 1802. Loring’s account book covering the years 1791-1812 is in the Collection at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. It reveals a variety of activity including business relationships between Benjamin Willard, Gardner Parker and Able Stowell.

Joseph Loring made tall case clocks and shelf clocks. He purchased a number of tall clock cases from John Hill of Leominster. We have also seen a Massachusetts shelf clock that has a cabinetmakers label pasted inside the case that reads, “C. Simmons / Cabinetmaker.” By the early 1820’s, chair production in the town of Sterling took off and soon 70,000 chairs were made there annually. Loring became very much involved in chair production. By 1845, Joseph’s estate near Sterling, MA contained about 70 acres of first rate land that was equally divided into mowing, pasturing and tillage with the buildings theron. The buildings included a large two story house, a 20 by 30 barn and two sheds. Water was provided by a never failing spring piped to the house via lead pipes. A chair and paint shop with small dwelling house was adjoined.

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