Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
This is a fine inlaid mahogany Roxbury case tall clock made by Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts.This line inlaid mahogany case is nicely proportioned standing 7 feet 8.5 inches or 92.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial.
This case stands on four nicely formed ogee bracket feet. These are applied to a double stepped molding. The base panel features a line inlaid box that is stepped in from the perimeter of the front panel. In the center of this panel is an inlaid pattera. This features twenty individual pedals. These alternate in light and dark shading. The waist section is long and narrow. It is fitted with a tombstone shaped door that is trimmed with an applied molding. This door is also line inlaid. Open this door and one can access the original tin can weights and brass faced pendulum bob. The bob is supported by a wooded rod. The waist section is flanked by brass stop fluted quarter columns which terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features the traditional Roxbury fretwork design. The three fluted chimney plinths support the three brass ball and spike finials. Fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns ending in turn brass capitals flank the line inlaid bonnet door. The line inlaid bonnet door is an arched form and it is fitted with glass. This opens to a painted iron dial.
This painted iron dial is decorated with floral themes. These are located in each of the four spandrel areas as well as in the arch of the dial. This dial is signed by the clockmaker Simon Willard in script lettering below the calendar aperture. The time ring is formatted with Roman numeral hour markers. Arabic numerals are used to mark each of the five minute positions. A subsidiary seconds dial and calendar dial can be viewed inside the time ring in their traditional locations. This dial was imported from England and was painted by the Wilson firm of Birmingham.
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 was made circa 1800.
About Simon Willard of Grafton and Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Simon Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on April 3, 1753. It is in Grafton that Simon learned and began a successful career as a Clockmaker. On April 19, 1775 Simon answered the Lexington alarm along with his brothers. It is thought that by 1780 he moved from Grafton and took up residence in Roxbury. Simon was a Master Clockmaker as well as an Inventor. Some of his designs or inventions include “The Improved Timepiece” or Banjo clock, a roasting jack patent that rotated meat as it cooked in the fireplace, and an alarm clock patent. In addition, he trained many men to make clocks who intern became well known Clockmakers once their apprenticeships were served. Some of which include William Cummens, Elnathan Taber, and the brothers Levi and Able Hutchins. Some of the more notable public clocks Simon built include the clock that is in The United States Capital, the one located in the U. S. Senate, and the one located in the House of Representatives. As a result, his clock were searched out by many affluent New England citizens of his day. Simon died on August 30, 1848 at the age of 95.
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