Benjamin Morrill of Boscawen, New Hampshire. A New Hampshire Mirror Clock.
This is a fine example of New Hampshire Mirror clock made by Benjamin Morrill of Boscawen, New Hampshire. The case is constructed in New England indigenous woods including white pine as a secondary wood. This case retains an older finish.
This form gets its name from its similarity to that of a wall hanging mirror made popular during the same time period. The front of this case is actually a door. Fully turned columns are split and applied to the outside edge of the door. They are decorated with gilding and painted various shades of paint. The corner blocks are applied and feature brass rosettes. The door is divided in two sections. The lower section features a mirror. The upper section features a reverse painted tablet which is original to the clock. The colors are quite good featuring reds, greens, and gilt designs. TEach of the corners features a harp design. This tablet centers a painted iron dial. The hands are simple design and appear to be original to this clock. The door will open to allow one access to the dial and the mechanism which is positioned behind it. The movement layout is very distinctive. It is referred to as a Wheelbarrow movement. Many examples of this type of clock have been found with this unusual movement. The gears are laid out from left to right. Is is weight driven and is designed run eight days on a full wind. The pendulum swings behind the door from the right side of the mechanism. The weight will descend down the left. This clock retains its original cast iron weight which is signed by the Maker.
This clock is nicely proportioned measuring 30.5 inches long, 14.5 inches wide and 3.75 inches deep. This clock was made circa 1835.
Inventory number LL-92.
About Benjamin Morrill of Boscawen, New Hampshire.
Benjamin Morrill was born on January 16, 1794 and died April 21, 1857. He was one of six children born to Samuel Morrill and Sarah Atkinson, Benjamin was their fifth child. It is summarized that he was a practical man and that he was educated. His work demonstrates a creative skill in mechanical matters. It is not presently know who trained Benjamin as a clockmaker and 1816, Benjamin is recorded as setting up his shop. Benjamin’s oldest sister Judith, married Joseph Chadwick. He was also a clockmaker from the same town and was seven years older than Benjamin. On November 22, 1818, Benjamin marries his first of two wives, Mehetable Eastman. She was the daughter of Simeon and Anna (Kimball) Eastman of Landiff, New Hampshire. They had two children before she died on July 6, 1828. Benjamin remarried six months later to Mary Choate of Derry, New Hampshire. Together, they also had two children and lived in a plain house that was built by his grandfather. His grandfather, the Reverend Robie Morrill, graduated from Harvard College in 1755. Benjamin Died April 21, 1857.
As a Clockmaker, Benjamin made numerous clocks. These included tall case clocks, shelf clocks, banjo clocks and mirror clocks. Interestingly, he is credited with developing the New Hampshire clock form. Many of the mirror clocks found today, feature his “Wheel Barrel” style movement. Benjamin is also thought to have made at least four tower clocks. Interestingly, none of these examples are signed but, all are similar in style. The documented examples are as follows. One example was installed in the tower in the First Parish Meeting House located in Dover, New Hampshire. A second clock was installed the tower of the Congregational Church in Henniker, New Hampshire in 1835. This clock is now on display at the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut. A third clock is reportably located in its original location in Orford, New Hampshire. Later in life when clockmaking became less profitable, Benjamin developed an interest in music. He then began to manufacture various musical instruments and scales.
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