Jesse Emory of Weare, New Hampshire. A mechanic, farmer and an ingenious wooden geared clockmaker. The finest wooden geared Clockmaker in America. AAA-16

Jesse Emory is best known for the high quality of the wooden geared movements he made. They are considered superb machines and continue to perform above most expectations. They are framed with two large heavy plates. These are highly finished and are supported with five turned and shaped wooden posts. This framing is secured to the seat or saddle-board with a hand made wooden screw. This is over sized and threads through the seat-board into the center of the lower middle pillar or post that supports the movement. All of the gearing is considerably oversized as compared to other Makers of the day. The largest of the the wheels, the two great wheels are approximately and inch thick. The designs of these wheels also included three gravity clicks on each of the winding arbors rather than the typical spring click and or ratchet mechanism. The clicks are inset in the wheels and simply fall into place as designed as the arbor turns when wound. Each wheel in the gear train is finely finished. Many are designed with an undercut detail. The strike train features a count-wheel. This is positioned on the back of the movement. Like the vast majority of wooden geared clocks, this example is designed to run 30 hours on a full wind before running out. It will strike each hour on a cast iron bell mounted above the movement.

The dials of Emory clocks are hand made and skillfully painted on a maple blank. This dial is signed “Jesse Emory / WEARE” in the arch. The maple blank features two large battens that are attached to the back of the dial. These serve two purposes. The first is to prevent the dial from warping. The second purpose is to provide a convenient mounting point between the dial and the movement. The entire dial is treated with a red-wash. The front or display area is painted white. The paint is heavy and is nicely finished. The many of the painted decorative details are laid into the dial. In other words, Emory took the time to lightly engrave much of the dial decoration before he applied the colors. The incising of the dial was probably done in order to prevent the bleeding of the paint. The four predominant colors used includes black, red, pink and a blue / green. The time is displayed by two tulip formed pewter hands. These have been painted black. The time track is formatted with Arabic five minute markers along the outside edge. Dots are used to delineate the minutes. Large Roman style numerals are used to mark the twelve hour positions. Inside the time ring in the traditional location of the seconds registrar is a month calendar display. This is not an unusual detail for a wooden geared clock.

The case is formatted in the traditional woods and proportions that one would expected from the Concord, New Hampshire region circa 1790. This case is constructed in maple and retains much of its original red wash surface. The tones are excellent and the surface presents a soft and warm feel. This case stands on applied bracket base molding that rests flat to the floor. The base section forms a box. The front edges are dovetailed together. The dovetail joints are displayed on both sides. This is a fantastic construction detail which is time consuming to produce. The waist section is long and is fitted with a large tombstone shaped waist door. Through this one can gain access to the two soapstone drive weights and pendulum. The weights are eight sided. One winds this clock by raising these daily by pulling down on the free string. The pendulum retains its original wooden rod and cast iron bob. The pendulum swings into and out of a pocket that is constructed inside the case. This is a very unusual detail. I am not sure what purpose it serves? If you buy this clock, you may be the only person who has a clock with this unusual design feature. The bonnet can be easily described as a swan’s neck form. This example is better shaped than most. The moldings are heavily formed and terminate in carved rosettes. Three turned wooden ball and spire finials are mounted on plinths at the top of the bonnet. The finials are fantastic and original to this clock. The sides of the hood feature tombstone shaped side lights. These are both fitted with glass. The dovetail case construction is also on display here on the sides of the case. The dovetails are large and very well made. The bonnet columns are turned smooth and subtly shaped. The bonnet door is an arched form and is fitted with glass.

This New Hampshire masterpiece stands approximately 7 feet 2 inches tall to the top of the center finial. The case is 22 inches wide and 11.5 inches deep measured at the upper bonnet molding. This clock was made circa 1795. It is the Duesenberg of the American Wooden geared clock world.

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About Jesse Emory of Weare, New Hampshire.

Jesse Emory of Weare, New Hampshire. A mechanic, farmer and an ingenius wooden geared clockmaker. The finest Wooden geared made clocks in America.

Jesse Emory was born on July 17, 1759 on Craney Hill in Weare, New Hampshire. He was the son of Caleb Emory of Amesbury and Susannah (Worthley). His parents moved to Weare around 1758. Jesse is reported to be the first male born in the town of Weare and one of the first New Hampshire born Clockmakers. At the age of twenty, Jesse enlisted in Captain Lovejoy’s company for the defense of Portsmouth. He was discharged two months later. Jesse’s first marriage was to Hannah Corliss on 20 November of 1783. She bore him one daughter, Ruth. Hannah’s brother was James Corliss who would become a competitor of Jesse’s in the clock business. Jesse purchased 27 acres of land from Jeremiah Corliss on February 18, 1794, his father-in-law. This land and building was located on Mt. Dearborn Road in Weare near the Henniker town line. He operated a business here in a business friendly are section called Meadowbrook. Soon James Corliss and Abner Jones would also be making clocks nearby. Jesse stayed there until 1806 when he and his first wife sold some land in Weare and moved to Deering, NH. The Town Histories of Henniker and Weare and the deeds recorded for this land transaction listed him at this time as a mechanic, farmer and a yeoman. He is reported to have made spinning and flax wheels, measures, harnesses and clocks. It is speculated that he moved because of the competition from the two other clockmakers in that town. On July 19,1806, Jesse bought approximately 50 acres in Deering from Jonathon French. Twenty years later, on October 3, 1826, Jesse purchased 34 acres of land in Henniker from Jonathan Green. This land became the Emory farm on Peasley Road. Jesse’s second marriage was to Betsy Wyman of Hillsborough, New Hampshire in 1814. Jesse died on July 10,1838 and the age of 79. His grave site is not currently known.

Emory was a skilled cabinet and clockmaker. His designed and execution is that of legend. He made the entire clockworks and cases for each out of wood. The vast majority of the very limited number of clocks found are fitted with thirty-hour pull-up movements. (One eight-day key wind example has been identified.) The works are constructed entirely of maple. The large heavy plates are highly finished and are supported with a five turned and shaped posts. This framing is secured to the seat-board with a wooden screw which threads into the middle pillar post of the movement. The gearing is oversized. The largest of the the wheels, the great wheels are approximately an inch thick. The wide wheels allowed for large teeth that increased the surface area for each tooth. This made them stronger and added to the longevity of the works. These wheels are under cut and incorporate three gravity clicks on each of the winding arbors rather than the typical spring, click and ratchet mechanism. The clicks simply fall into place as designed. Each wheel in the gear train is finely finished. Many are designed with and undercut detail. The escapement is a recoil. The hour hand and the date hand are driven from the minute hand through gearing. The strike train features a count-wheel. This is positioned on the back of the movement.

The dials of Emory clocks are hand made and skillfully painted on a maple blank. This dial is signed “Jesse Emory / WEARE” in the arch. Other examples are signed “Jesse Emory / of / WEARE.” This dial formatting is typical of what has been found. The white background is nicely finished. The many of the painted details are laid into the dial. In other woords, Emory took the time to lightly engrave the dial before he applied the colors. The incising of the dial was probably down inorder to prevent paint bleeding. The four color decoration includes the colors of black, red, pink and a blue / green. Emory also constructed his own cases, which were typically made of birch or maple woods. A fair number of these have been found that have been grain painted. A number of his cases incorporate a unique door latch. Very few clocks have been found by this ingenious Maker. Approximately 12 clocks are recorded.

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