J.J. Beals & Co.s / Birge & Fuller Bristol, Connecticut. Steeple clock. -SOLD-

This is a sweetheart of a clock. It is a very good example of a four candlestick steeple clock manufactured by the firm of Birge & Fuller located in Bristol, Connecticut and retailed by J.J. Beals of Haymarket Square, Boston. This is a highly collectable example due to the fact that it's movement is powered through a detached fusee mechanism.

The movement in this clock is constructed in brass. It is quite typical in that it is designed to run eight-days on a full wind and strike each hour on a wire gong. Where it differs is in the manner in which it is powered. The most common method of powering a Connecticut clock is with a coil spring. That power is usually transferred directly to the movement as it uncoils. As a result, more power is supplied when the clock is newly wound. As the spring uncoils, the power weakens or diminishes until it can no long power the movement. The result is that a standard coil spring clock will slow down as it looses power. This may translate to the loss of a couple of minutes over a weeks time. As a result, this clock is fitted with fusees. This is an invention of the French that the English perfected. A taper cone is introduced to the power train. When the clock is fully wound, it will pull from the small side of the cone. As it looses power, the pulling point works it's way up the cone provided a more consistent power due to the shape of the cone. The cone provides a mechanical advantage. When one winds this clock, a cord winds down on the cone which tensions the coil spring. This device would have been an added cost to the clockmaker and would have made this clock more expensive than the standard coil spring model. As a result, this clock probably didn’t sell very well. Today, because of the limited number of clocks made and the survivability of those that did, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good examples such as this one.

This is an outstanding example of a mahogany veneered steeple on steeple clock. The grain patterns in the selections of veneers are very good. One can see them clearly through the mellow patina. The case form is unusual in that it features what we now call four candlesticks that are fitted to the sides of the case. Making this a very collectible form. The dial is painted on tin and features a Roman numeral time ring. Both doors are fitted with their original painted tablets. The tablets are in wonderful condition. The style of these painted designs is most often associated with the painter, William Fenn. They are original to this clock. The Retailer's label is applied to the inside of the backboard in the lower section of the case. It is also in excellent condition. This clock measures 25.25 inches tall by approximately 13.75 inches wide.

The firm J. J. & Beals & Co.s was in business at the Haymarket street address in 1849 – 1861. This firm was comprised of Joseph J. Beals and Amos W. Southwick. In 1861 Southwick leaves and Beals takes on Alexander K. Adams as a partner. They were clock dealers for primarily Connecticut made clocks. This example was made circa 1850.


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