William Crawford of Oakham, Massachusetts. Tall case clock.
This very good example stands a mere 7 feet 4 inches tall to the top of the center finial and exhibits good narrow proportions. The case is constructed in cherry and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The cherry surfaces currently retain an older and possibly and original finish. This example stands on a simple cut out bracket base. This large molding is applied to the three sides of the base panel. A relief cut in the front forms the feet the pattern for the feet. The base section is compressed. This stylistic feature follows the early form. The waist section is long and narrow. It is fitted with a large tombstone shaped waist door that is trimmed with a molded edge. In the arch of this door is a carved fan or ray that includes six petals. These are three dimensionally formed. The hood or bonnet features a swan's neck pediment design. The arches exhibit good height and are unusually narrow. Three large brass ball and spike finials are fitted to the top of the hood. The bonnet door is an arched form and is fitted with glass. Four smoothly turn columns support the arch molding. These are mounted in brass capitals. The side of the hood are fitted with tombstone shaped side lights. They are fitted with glass and provided visual access to the interior of the case.
This style of this dial predates the painted dial. It is composed of a brass base sheet that is decorated with applied spandrels and a chapter ring. In the arch of the dial is the Maker's name boss. It is signed in script engraving, "William Crawford / Oakham." The large chapter or time ring is also applied to the dial. This ring displays the hours in Roman numerals and the five minute markers are indicated in an Arabic style. The center of this section is nicely matted. This was most likely done to aide in ones ability to located the hands while reading this dial. A brass dial will tarnish making it somewhat difficult to read in a room lit by candles. The steel hour and minute hands are skillfully made. This dial also features the subsidiary seconds dial which is engraved and countersunk into the surface of the dial. It is decorated with a compass star and the edges of the opening are scalloped. The calendar date is display in the traditional location and can be viewed through the access square.
Behind the dial, is a brass weight driven movement. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It will also strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The plates are supported with five turned posts. All of which is mounted to seat or a saddle board. The winding drums are grooved to accept the weight cord. The pendulum features a wooden rod and a brass faced lead bob.
This fine clock was made circa 1785.This clock is inventory number RR-59.
About William Crawford of Oakham, Massachusetts.
William Crawford was born in Rutland, Massachusetts on October 23, 1745. It is reported that he moved to Oakham in 1750 at the age of five. His father Alexander, was one of the founders of this town. William Crawford was a soldier of the Revolution at the rank of Captain. He married Mary Henderson in 1773 and fathered 11 children. He lived the rest of his life in Oakham and died on June 30, 1833. He was 87 years old. His house is still standing today. Reportedly, with the “Clock room” still intact.
Oakham is still a very small town located in central Massachusetts. It is just North of the town of Spencer and to the West of the town of Rutland. Oakham was Incorporated in 1762. Originally it was called “Rutland West Wing.” Some of it’s first settlers are reported as coming from Oakham, England and hence took the name. Very little information is listed regarding this Maker. Several other tall clocks have been found. We have owned at least two other examples and have seen two examples sold at public auction. In addition, their are at least two on public display. One is in the collection at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Another example can be found in the Massachusetts Room at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum located in our Nations Capital, Washington, DC. It seems that many of Crawford existing clocks are design in a diminutive scale.
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