Martin Cheney Windsor, Vermont. Number 18. Clockmaker & Silversmith.
This is a wonderful inlaid mahogany case. The painted dial is signed by the "Windsor, Vermont" clockmaker "Martin Cheney." This example is also numbered "18" on the dial.
This is an outstanding inlaid mahogany cased tall clock. A formal case of high style and workman ship considering it is of Vermont origin. The case is well proportioned. It is supported by nicely formed flared French feet. A wonderfully shaped apron drops down from the center section. The base panel features a nicely veneered panel. This is framed with a crossbanded mahogany boarder that is trimmed with line inlay. The waist is long and narrow. It features a large rectangular waist door that is fitted with an applied molding. The center of this door also features a figure selection of mahogany veneer. This is also framed with a cross banded boarder and line inlay. Open this door and one can access the inside of the case. The side of the waist are fitted with fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a New England style pierced and open fret work pattern. It is supported with three inlaid plinths. Each are surmounted by a brass ball and spiked finials. The molded arch is supported by fully turned and fluted bonnet columns. They are mounted in brass capitals. These columns flank the sides of the arched bonnet door. This door is line inlaid. It is fitted with glass and opens to access the dial of the clock.
The dial is iron and is colorfully painted decorated. It appears to be an American dial due to the fact that it does not have a false plate and the painted decoration lacks the Imported formality. The four spandrel areas feature depictions of strawberries. In the arch are two red breasted birds. This dial features the traditional time ring formatting. It does not display the calendar. It is signed by the clockmaker and numbered in that traditional location. It reads, "M. CHENEY WINDSOR VERMONT NO. 18." The time and strike movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. It is weight driven and will strike each hour on a cast iron bell. The plates of the movement are somewhat skeletonized.This clock stands 7 feet 2.5 inches tall. It was made circa 1805.
About Martin Cheney
In 1778, Martin Cheney was born into a well known and established clockmaking family. He was one of four clockmakers born to Benjamin Cheney 1725-1815 and Elizabeth Long Cheney in East Hartford, Connecticut. Benjamin most likely trained all four of his boys in the art of clockmaking. Asahel was the oldest and was born in 1759. He moves on into Vermont. Elisha was born in 1770 and died in 1847. He settled in Berlin, Connecticut. Russell was younger. It appears he moved North to Putney, Vermont. Martin also had an uncle Timothy 1731-1795. He becomes a well known clockmaker in East Hartford and works closely with Benjamin. By 1803, Martin moved up the Connecticut river to Windsor, Vermont. In 1804 he advertises that he has for sale fine English Watches, watch keys, chains and seals. He moves to Montreal in 1809. Here he remained for some twenty years. In 1827, Martin places an advertisement in Burlington, Vermont newspaper for a journeyman clockmaker to work with him in Montreal. In 1817 he forms a partnership with J. A. Dwight and advertised this business as Cheney & Dwight. Several clocks have been recorded by this Maker. Pictured in “The Best the Country Affords: Vermont Furniture 1765 – 1850” is a signed brass dial tall clock by Asahel Cheney. On the seat boat of the clock it is written, “This clock made by Martin Cheney.” This implies that the two work with it other on occasion. There is also a Massachusetts Shelf clock form with an engraved kidney style brass dial in the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. This clock is signed by “Martin Cheney Windsor.” This clock has a strong Boston influence.
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