A & C Edwards of Ashby, Massachusetts. No. 211.
This country case is constructed in New England white pine and retains an old scrubbed surface. This surface is consistent throughout the case construction and shows some areas of light crazing. The coloring is often described as "Pumpkin pine." The case is supported by applied bracket feet. They are simply formed and are original to this clock. The waist section is long and is fitted with a large tombstone shaped waist door. It is trimmed with a molded edge. Open, it provides access to the interior of the case. The molded arched bonnet features a pierced and open fret work design, three fluted chimney or finial plinths and three ball and spike brass finials. The fretwork pattern is excellent. The bonnet door is an arched form and is fitted with glass. Fully turned and wonderfully shaped bonnet columns are positioned on either side of the hood door. They are free standing support the upper bonnet molding.
The arched dial is interestingly constructed. The backplate is tin and the decorations are applied to it. The front side of this dial plate is painted in a gold paint in order to make it look like brass. The four cast spandrels are cast in pewter and are nicely detailed. They are also painted in gold paint. The two cast pewter spandrels that frame the name boss are decorated with figures of skeletons. This morbid decoration must have been located here to remind us that we humans are mortal and that time forever moves forward. The name boss located in the arch of the dial is engraved with the Maker's name, working location and the numbering of this clock as 211. The time ring is formatted with Roman hour numerals and Arabic numerals indicate each of the five minute locations. This clock is also fitted with a calendar. The center mat area is painted in a contrasting color of orange. This aides in one ability to see the hour and minute hands. The dial is attached to the movement with two wooden applied to the back of the dial which accept the four wooden dial feet.
The wooden geared movement is weight powered and designed to run 30 hours on a full wind. The winding of this example is done by opening the waist door and pulling a cord that in turn raises a weight. The weights with this example are made from soapstone and are original to this clock. The winding barrels are divided as one might expect from these Ashby Makers. The movement is a time and strike design and of fine quality. It features a count wheel striking system that will strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The count wheel is located on the outside of the movement on the back plate. The pendulum rod is wood and supports a lead bob. This movement is supported on the rails by a full seatboard.
This clock was made circa 1794. The overall height of this example is approximately 7 feet 6 inches tall.
This fine example is in very good condition. Very few brass dial wooden gear clocks were made. Finding one in the marketplace today is a real treat.
About Abraham & Calvin Edwards of Ashby, Massachusetts.
Abraham Edwards is believed to have been born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1761. His younger brother Calvin was born two years later in 1763. Both were the sons of Samuel Edwards and Huldah Easterbrook of Concord. The family moved from Concord to Ashby, Massachusetts sometime in 1777. Ashby was then and still is today a small village located in Massachusetts on the New Hampshire boarder due North of Worcester. Both Abraham and Calvin were hard workers and owned everything in common including several pieces of land in the town of Ashby. They entered a partnership in 1792 and made wooden gear clocks. These clocks are signed on their dials A & C Edwards. This partnership lasts approximately four short years before Calvin’s death at the age of 33. While alive, the partnership appears to have produced in excess of 530 plus clocks. Often times the production number is listed at greater than 600, but the highest number that I have personally seen recorded is in the upper 530’s. It is assumed that all the clocks made after the partnership ended are signed by Abraham only. Of which, many such examples have been found. Early examples of the A&C partnership features composite metal dials. The later examples, sometime after the number 211, feature the use of a painted wooden dial. Abraham and Calvin were responsible for training other clockmakers. Some of which include Abraham’s son John, Calvin’s sons Calvin Jr. and Samuel, Alexander, Jacob and Philander Jacob Willard of Ashburnham, Wendell and his brother Whittear Perkins and possibly John Barker of Worcester. This list of names is still growing.
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