Frederick Wingate of Augusta, Maine. No. 123. A Maine Clockmaker. A Maine tall clock.

This is a well proportioned mixed woods case tall clock made by Frederick Wingate of Augusta, Maine circa 1813.

This is a very good example of his work. This case is constructed in a number of indigenous woods. The vast majority of which is birch and retains it’s original red wash. This is a process that was common to clocks of this region. Many speculate that it helped disguise the local wood to look more like imported mahogany. Interestingly, the waist door is constructed in figured maple. The lighter coloring of the maple contrasts sharply with the darker red wash. In addition, the grain pattern exhibited in the light maple wood exhibits good tiger striping. This quite nice and is eye catching. The secondary wood is New England white pine. This case stands on a cut out bracket feet that retain excellent height. They are visually separated from the base section with a simple applied molding. The maple waist door is rectangular and is trimmed with a molded edge. The sides of the waist section are fitted with turned quarter columns. These are nicely formed having some shaping and additional ring turned designs. Both of these terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. The bonnet features a New England style fretwork pattern. This is a pleasing design. Three period brass finials are mounted on top of the finial plinths. The bonnet columns are smoothly turned and subtly shaped. They are free standing and secured in brass capitals. The arched shaped bonnet door is fitted with glass. This door opens to access the clock’s dial

The iron dial is colorfully painted and is of Boston origin. It exhibits many design elements and the coloring of dials painted by Spencer Nolen. Nolen rented shop space from his father-n-law Aaron Willard in Boston. This dial is also signed by the clockmaker in script lettering, “Frederic Wingate”. This signature area also includes his working location, “Augusta” and is numbered “No. 123.”

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 1813. It is inventory number UU-73.

About Frederick Wingate of Augusta, Maine.

Frederick Wingate, silversmith, watch and clockmaker was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on January 11th, 1782 and died in Augusta, Maine on November 16th,1864. His parents were William Wingate (1745-1821) and Mehitable Bradley (1747-1796). He had an older brother, Paine Wingate (1767-1833) who was working in Boston as a clockmaker as early as 1789. He may have trained Federick. Frederick married Hannah Page of Haverhill on January 17th, 1806. In 1814, he served as a soldier during the War of 1812.

Frederick worked as a silversmith, watch and clockmaker and became one of Maine’s most prolific clockmakers. He may have been trained in Massachusetts before he moved north to Augusta, Maine by 1803. As a clockmaker, he made many tall clocks, banjo clocks, and mirror clocks. It appears that his efforts were mostly in the production of tall case clocks of which many are numbered. Examples have been reported from number 15 to a high of 287. He apprenticed Benjamin Swan of Augusta in 1808 and their work is often very similar in form. Many of the cases are quite similar and share unique characteristics such as the use of contrasting woods (almost always figured maple) in door and base panel, unusual turned and often shaped waist and hood columns, colorfully painted Nolen dials from Boston, and many Wingate clocks retain their original set up labels. If present, these can be found pasted inside the waist door.

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