Daniel Munroe & Co., of Concord, Massachusetts. Tall case clock.
This fine Roxbury style tall clock was made by Daniel Munroe & Co., of Concord, Massachusetts (1798-1804).This wonderful mahogany cased example is nicely proportioned and features delicate line inlay patterns in the base, wasit and in the hood door.. This case retains what appears to be an original finish. The base stands on four ogee bracket feet which are applied to the bottom of this case. The base panel features good grain figure and is line inlaid around the perimeter. This pattern features cut out corners. The waist section is long and narrow. The sides of this case are fitted with brass stop-fluted quarter columns and brass quarter capitals. The waist door is rectangularly shaped and is also line inlaid. An applied molding frames the outer edge of the door. The bonnet is topped with a New England style fret work pattern that incorperates three ball and spiked brass finials. They sit on fluted plinths in this design. Fully turned bonnet columns are fluted and stopped with brass rods. These terminate in brass capitals that flank the line inlaid bonnet door. This door is fitted with glass and opens to allow one access to the painted iron dial.
This twelve inch dial was made and painted in Boston and is attributed to the ornamental artist and dial manufacturer Spencer Nolen. The dial design is well executed and is signed on the front in script lettering "Daniel Munroe & Co." The four corner areas are decorated with a lacy patterns that are raised off the surface of the dial with gesso. This decoration is then highlighted with gilt paint. A colorful medallion is centered in each pattern. In the arch, this dial is fitted with a moon phase or lunar calendar. This is also colorfully paint decorated. The time track is formatted with Roman style hour figures. Each of the five minute markers are indicated in an Aribic form. The subsidary seconds dial and month calendar are located in their traditional locations. This dial exhibits a fair amount of crackleture in the surface paint. It is stable and provides an interesting texture when viewing.
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 1803 and stands approximately 7 feet 10 inches tall to the top of the center finial.This clock is inventory number 214023.
About Daniel Munroe & Company of Concord, Massachusetts.
It is recorded that the firm of Daniel Munroe & Co., was comprised of Clockmakers Daniel Jr., and Nathaniel Munroe and their younger brother William Munroe was the cabinet or casemaker. This partnership began in 1798 and lasted until 1804.
Daniel Munroe Jr. was born in Roxbury on July 13, 1775. He learned clockmaking from Simon Willard and served a successful seven year apprenticeship under him. Simon wrote in a letter dated July 13, 1796 that described Daniel as, “ … one of the best workman in America.“ After serving his apprenticeship, Daniel worked for a short time as a journeyman clock maker in Roxbury in Willard’s shop before moving to Concord, Massachusetts sometime before 1798. Here he kept a shop opposite the Clothing Mill and worked as a clockmaker and silversmith. On November 29, 1804 he married Sarah Dakin in Concord. In 1839, he moved to New York City. He then moves back to Boston in 1841 through 1856. Daniel Died in Boston on October 21, 1859.
Nathaniel was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on June 21, 1777. It is recorded that he learned clock making from Abel Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire. Abel was an early apprentice of Simon Willard’s. Nathaniel was in business with his brother Daniel between 1800-1807. He is listed as a Clockmaker and a Brass Founder. In 1808, he joined Samuel Whiting and from the partnership Munroe & Whiting. In 1817 he moved south to Baltimore and continued to make clocks in what appears to be small numbers.
William Munroe was also born in Roxbury on December 15, 1778. He served his apprenticeship to Nehemiah Munroe a cabinetmaker who worked in Roxbury. About 1800, his two brothers convinced him to move to Concord in order to build cases for their clocks. They formed a partnership and he was given a contract in 1801 as a full partner in their business. In 1805, he married Patty Stone and took up residence in her mother’s house. William made clock cases and furniture. During the War of 1812, cabinetmaking became a hard way to make a living. William began to make pencils. In just two shorts years he was making upwards of 175,000 pencils a year. By 1840, he was the leader in the American pencil industry. William died in Concord on March 6, 1861.
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