Joseph Loring of Sterling, Massachusetts.

This is a fine inlaid cherry case Massachusetts Shelf Clock with kidney shaped dial made by Joseph Loring of Sterling, Massachusetts.

This fine example stands on simple bracket feet. Their lines continue to the middle of the case and form a nicely shaped apron. The base panel features a horizontally formatted selection of cherry that exhibits subtle grain pattern. It is nicely framed with a delicate line inlay. The hood is surmounted a wonderful fret work design. A single line inlaid finial plinth is centered in this location and supports a decorative cast brass finial. The bonnet or hood door is also line inlaid on the outside border. The aperture is fitted with glass and the door opens to access the dial. The paint decorated dial is iron. It features a time ring that is formatted with Roman numerals and a gilt outer ring. Below this is the signature of the Maker, "Joseph Loring." This is framed in a raised gesso pattern that is highlighted with gilt paint. Please note the wonderful form of the steel hands. The time only movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. It is powered by a cast iron weight. This clock was made circa 1810 and stands approximately 35.5 inches tall.

About Joseph Loring of Sterling, Massachusetts.

Joseph Loring was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts on July 19, 1768 and died in Sterling, Massachusetts on January 31, 1846 at 78 years of age. Joseph is listed in the Sterling town histories as a clockmaker as early as 1792. He also ran a general store which was was located on the corner of Main Street and Kendall Hill Road. This general store later purchased by the Estabrook family who continued to operate the business for many years to follow. Joseph is said to have trained Daniel Holmes as a clockmaker and it appears that he worked for him as a journeyman in 1801 – 1802. Loring’s account book covering the years 1791-1812 is in the Collection at AAS. It reveals a variety of activity including business relationships between Benjamin Willard, Gardner Parker and Able Stowell. Joseph Loring made tall case clocks and shelf clocks. He purchased a number of tall clock cases from John Hill of Leominster. We have also seen an Massachusetts shelf clock that has a cabinetmakers label pasted inside the case that reads, “C. Simmons / cabinetmaker.” By the early 1820’s, chair production in the town of Sterling took off and soon 70,000 chairs were made there annually. Loring became very much involved in chair production. By 1845, Joseph’s estate near Sterling, MA contained about 70 acres of first rate land equally divided into mowing, pasturing and tillage with the buildings theron, a large two story house, 20 by 30 barn and two sheds. Water was provided by a never failing spring piped to the house via lead pipes. A chair and paint shop with small dwelling house was adjoined.

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