Jacob Morse of Westfield, Massachusetts
This birch case tall clock was made by Jacob Morse of Westfield, Massachusetts.
This case features typical New England proportions and is constructed in birch and New England white pine is used as the secondary wood. The birch retains much of its original red wash. This would have been applied to the surface in order to attain a warm inviting tone. Over the years it has meelowed to a wonderful subtle cherry color. The case stands on four somewhat compressed ogee bracket feet. These are applied to the bottom of a double step molding which is fitted to the base section. The waist is long and features a rectangular shaped waist door. This door is trimmed with an applied molding. The sides of the case are fitted with fluted quarter columns that terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet is surmounted by a New England style fretwork design. This is supported by three chimney or final plinths. These are capped and provide the base for the three brass ball and spike finials. Fluted bonnet columns flank the bonnet door and are mounted in brass capitals. The hood door is arched in form and fitted with glass. It opens to a colorfully painted dial.
The iron dial is paint decorated and features a lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism in the arch. The four spandrel areas are decorated with colorful floral designs. The time ring is formatted in a traditional fashion for the period. Roman numerals are used to mark each of the twelve hours. Arabic numerals are used to indicate the five minute markers, ten second intervals on the subsidiary seconds dial, the lunar day and the calendar day. This dial is signed by the Clockmaker in a wonderful variation of an old world script. It also lists his working location. The scale of this signature is such that can one can read the Maker’s name from across the room.
The movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. It strikes each hour on a cast iron bell that is mounted above the movement. This movement is weight driven and wound with a crank key. The movement is good quality.
This clocks stands a modest 7 feet 6.5 inches tall and was made circa 1795.
About Jacob Morse of Westfield, Massachusetts
Jacob Morse was born the son of Lt. Edmund Morse of Hempstead, New York and Rachel Rowell of Amesbury and Essex, Massachusetts on March 31, 1751. He died at the age of 68 in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1819. Jacob was married twice. His first wife was Naomi Sykes of Westfield. They were married sometime about 1774 and had 3 children. Clarissa was born in 1775, James in 1777 and Harvey in 1779. In 1780, Jacob married Metitable Williams of Westfield. They had six children. Elizabeth was born about 1781, Henry in 1790, Edmund in 1785, Theodore in 1787, Mary in 1789 and Naomi in 1791. Jacob is listed as working in Westfield, Massachusetts on the corner of Main Street and Broad Street about 1790 through 1800. Over the years, we have owned several other tall case clocks made by this Maker. Clocks, cases, a gear cutting engine and a lathe are all mentioned in his estate inventory.
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