Captain Jabez Fitch of Windham, Connecticut. Clockmaker, watch and clock repairman, retail store owner. A wooden geared tall clock. NN107

Wooden geared clocks are traditionally formatted as a thirty hour design. This example is constructed in wood having large oak plates that are joined together with four turned and shaped wooden posts. The pendulum is actually supported by a post, centrally located at the top of the movement. The strike train is actuated by the large count wheel that is mounted on the backplate. The lifting arm is mounted on the front plate. This clock will strike each hour on a cast iron bell that is mounted above the movement on a stand. Please note the size and shaping of the robust gearing. It is fun to compare the the size and shape to the standard thirty-hour wooden geared clock movements made some 60 years later in Connecticut. This version is a gear heads dream machine. This movement is powered by two weights that hang from strings. The winding drums are divided. This clock is also fitted with a simple calendar that is displayed above the hour numeral VI.

The arched dial is wonderfully constructed. A thin brass sheet is applied or tacked to a thick wooden pine board for support. The center area, the area within the time ring, is matted or textured. Here, one will also find a small square opening that displays the calendar day. The time ring, name boss and decorative spandrels are applied to the brass sheet. In the center of the spandrels is a bust of an Indian wearing his headdress. The time ring is formatted with Arabic style five minute markers around the perimeter, a closed minute ring and large Roman style hour numerals. The time is displayed by the two country style hands. A name boss is mounted in the arch of the dial. It is engraved with the Maker’s name, “Jabez Fitche.” This is executed in a script format. His working location of “WINDHAM” is written in large block lettering. “Fecit” is written in script and is located in the bottom half of the boss. This dial measures approximately 10 inches wide and 13.5 inches tall. 

This cherry case exhibits classic Queen Anne style moldings and excellent narrow proportions. This case is supported on multiple applied moldings. The lower molding that rests flat to the floor. The base section is some what compressed by today’s standards. The waist section is fitted with a long tombstone shaped waist door. This door is trimmed with a simple molded edge. A lenticle is positioned in this door at the height of the pendulum bob. This allows one to view the motion of the pendulum bob when the clock is operating. The bonnet features a pagoda top cornice. The moldings are excellent. The bonnet door features an arched opening that is fitted with glass in order to protect the dial.

This clock was made circa 1770.

NN-107.

About Jabez Fitch of Windham, Connecticut. Clockmaker, watch and clock repairman, retail store owner.

Jabez Fitch was born April 2, 1748 the son of Reverend John and Alice (Brown) Fitch in Windham, Connecticut. You might be surprised to learn that name Jabez Fitch in Windham was once a popular name. As a result, it is very difficult to discern which Jabez is which. A probate record exists that lists his inventory after his death on June 23, 1789. He was 41 years old. One listing has him recorded at the rank of Captain. This makes sense since his estate lists a white Regimental coat, jacket and breeches and a gun with a bayonet. The other items listed suggest that he may have owned a retail shop of some kind. A wooden clock and case, wooden clock making tools and parts as well as watch tools are also listed. He may have also been chosen to represent the town at the meeting of the Mercantile and Landed Interests of the Colony. He may have also served some time as a deacon in the First Society of Canterbury. Jabez married Olive Ripley in 1773. He died June 23, 1789.

Jabez Fitch was a wooden geared clockmaker. This movement in this clock is robustly made in the manner that is consistent with the Cheney’s in Hartford. Very few clocks are known.

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