Thomas Crow of Wilmington, Delaware.
This handsome walnut case tall clock was made by Thomas Crow of Wilmington, Delaware. This clock was made circa 1790 and this example has a strong Philadelphia influence.
This case stands on four boldly formed ogee bracket feet. All four feet have been restored. The base is fitted with and applied panel. This panel features decoratively formed corners that extend beyond the frame of the square. The front corners of the base are fitted with fluted quarter columns that terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. This same detail is repeated in the waist section. The waist section is also fitted with a nicely shaped waist door which is trimmed with a simple molded edge. Through this door one can access the two cast iron weights and the brass faced pendulum bob which is supported on a wooden rod. The bonnet or hood features a bold swan's neck design. The deep molding or arches terminate in turned wooden rosettes. These moldings have been cut and reapplied. Three fluted finial plinths support turned wooden finials in the form of urns. It is interesting to note that the front corners of this hood are dovetailed and they are exposed. This is a nice construction detail. Four fully turned bonnet columns are located on the four corners of the hood. The two located in the back are smoothly turned. The front two columns are deeply fluted and flank the arched glazed door. This door is fitted with glass and opens to a painted iron dial.
The dial appears to have been painted locally. It is fitted directly to the movement with out the use of a false plate. In the arch is a lunar calendar or moonphase mechanism. The moons are painted over a blue field that is also decorated with stars. This dial is signed by the clockmaker in the traditional location. This signature, located below the center arbor reads, "Thomas Crow / Wilmington." The spandrel areas are paint decorated in a simple gilt design. This design is raised off the plain of the dial with applied gesso. The dial displays the hours with Roman numerals. The five minute markers are an Arabic form. Interestingly, this dial does not incorporate the traditional subsidiary seconds dial. The calendar date is displayed inside the time ring and is indicated with a sweep calendar hand mounted to the center arbor. This dial is in excellent condition.
This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.
This clock stands and approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall.
About Thomas Crow of Wilmington, Delaware.
Thomas Crow was the son of George Crow who was also a Wilmington, Delaware clockmaker. Thomas appears to have been involved in clockmaking as early as 1770. He becomes one of Delaware’s most prolific and best known clockmakers. He is recorded to have served the public in several local government positions. In 1805, he moves through Philadelphia and later to West Chester, Pennsylvania during the period 1808 to 1810. One can find examples of his work in the collections of Winterthur Museum and the Briggs Museum of Art.
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