Cheney

This is a signed Putney, Vermont Example.

This fine cherry case tall clock is well proportioned. It stands on nicely formed ogee bracket feet which are applied to the bottom of a double stepped molding. The waist is long and narrow. It is fitted with a rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with a simple molded edge. The bonnet is fitted with a variation of a whale's tails fret work pattern and three brass ball and spike finials that are supported on fluted finial plinths. The bonnet columns are free standing and mounted in brass capitals. Tombstone shape side lights are cut into the side panels of the hood. These are fitted with glass. So is the arched bonnet door which opens to access the dial.

This sheet brass dial is skillfully engraved. This engraved dial form was very popular in the Connecticut Valley region of New England. This may be due to the clockmaking teachings of Thomas Harland and his apprentices. This includes Daniel Burnap of East Windsor, Connecticut who is reported to have engraved dials for other Clockmakers. This dial is constructed from a thin sheet of brass. The decoration is skillfully engraved into the front surface. The engraving is then filled with wax and a silver wash would have been applied. The silver wash has been removed 75 plus years ago. This dial features a traditionally formatted time ring. Roman numerals are used to mark each of the twelve hours and large Arabic numerals are used to mark each of the five minute markers up to sixty. The time is indicated by the nicely formatted steel hands. A calendar aperture is positioned below the center arbor. Here the date of the month is indicated on a disk that is designed to rotate. A subsidiary seconds dial is located above the center arbor. The Clockmaker's name is boldly engraved in a central location. In the arch is an engraving of a lion. This dial is also decorated with long leafy vines and florals which are featured in the spandrels areas.

The time and strike movement is constructed in brass. The plates have a high content of copper. The movement is designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is good quality. It is weight driven and will strike each hour on a cast iron bell. Please note the bulbous posts that support the plates.

Under to seat board it is written in ink, " This clock was made by Martin Cheney, June 28…."

This very clock is pictured on page 108 in "The Best Country Affords. Vermont Furniture 1765 – 1850." written by Kenneth Joel Zogry.

This clock stands approximately 7 feet 10 inches tall and was made circa 1790. It is pictured in

About Asahel Cheney

Asahel Cheney was born in 1759 in Hartford, Connecticut. He was the oldest son of the Hartford clockmaker Benjamin Cheney and Deborah Olcott. Many examples of Benjamin’s work have been recorded. A large number of which have movement constructed of heavy wooden gearing. Asahel and his two brothers Martin and Russell were most likely trained by their father. By 1790, Asahel had moved to Northfield, Massachusetts and was a property owner. He lived in what is now known as the Joseph Byrt house. Here he continued to manufacture mostly tall case clocks. We have owned several examples of his work over the years. Some of which are constructed with brass movements. Another Example of his work can be found in the Mabel Brady Garvin Collection at Yale University.

By the mid 1790’s, Asahel moved to Windham County Vermont to the town of Putney. A shelf clock which is now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum is signed on the kidney shaped engraved brass dial, “Asahel Cheney / Putney” It is form this clock that we speculate that Asahel trained his brother Martin in the clockmaking trade. On the seat board of this clock it is inscribed, “This clock was made by Martin Cheney.”

Soon after 1800 the brothers parted company. Asahel moves North and by 1809 his name is listed in a land transaction in the town of Royalton.

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