William Cummens clockmaker working in Roxbury, Massachusetts. An inlaid mahogany tall case clock with exceptional proportions.
This is a fine inlaid mahogany case tall clock that exhibits excellent narrow proportions and is fitted with a moon phase painted dial signed by the Roxbury, Massachusetts Clockmaker, William Cummens.
This is a tall very narrow example having traditional Roxbury proportions and construction characteristics. The case is constructed in mahogany and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. We should also point out that it is decorated with line inlay and quarter fans. The current shellac based finish is an older finish and is appropriate. The color and depth are excellent. This example stands on four nicely formed applied ogee bracket feet. These are applied to a double stepped molding that is attached to the base. The base panel is line inlaid. This delicate string detail forms a box or conforms to the square shape of the base. This pattern is repeated in the long tombstone shaped waist door and hood door. In the base, the corners of the line inlaid box are fitted with inlaid quarter fans. The fans are comprised of seven individual petals. They alternate in light and dark selections of wood. This is a very attractive detail. The base panel features a grain pattern with long sweeping vertical lines. The waist section of this clock case is fitted with a long line inlaid tombstone shaped waist door that is trimmed with an applied molding along it perimeter. Through this door, one can gain access to the interior of the case. Here you will find the original tin can weights and pendulum. Brass stopped fluted quarter columns flank the sides or front corners of the waist. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet columns are also stopped fluted with brass and are fitted into brass capitals. These are free standing and visually support the molded arch. A pierced and open fretwork design surmounts the top of the bonnet. It incorporates three brass ball and spiked finials that are mounted on fluted chimney plinths. The arched bonnet door is also line inlaid and is fitted with glass. It opens to access the painted iron dial.
This painted dial is signed by the clockmaker below the calendar aperture. It reads, "Wm. CUMMENS.” This signature is original to this clock. A moon phase mechanism is featured in the arch of this dial. This mechanism tracts the lunar calendar which is constant at 29.5 days. The time is displayed in a traditional format. Roman numerals mark the hours and Arabic numerals are used to indicate the five minute markers and ten second increments on the seconds dial. The four spandrel areas are decorated in one color. This design is somewhat different from the more commonly found floral themed tall clock dials. The steel hands are hand filed to a wonderfully form.
The movement is constructed in brass. It is weight powered, wound with a crank key and designed to run for an eight-day duration. It is good quality. This clock will also strike each hour on a bell which is mounted above the movement.
This clock was made circa 1795 and stands an impressive 8 feet 4 inches tall. It is inventory number OO-2.
About William Cummens of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
William Cummens was born 1768 and died on April 20, 1834 at the age of 66. He worked in Roxbury as a clockmaker as early as 1789 through 1834. He was trained by Simon Willard and along with Elnathan Taber, Cummens stayed in Roxbury and made many clocks for his own clients while maintaining a close working relationship with the Willard family. In this Roxbury location, Cummens had direct access to the same suppliers, such case makers and dial painters that the Willards used. As a result, his clocks are very similar in form. He was one of the first persons authorized by Simon Willard to manufacture the new patent timepiece. Over the past 45 plus years in business, we have owned and sold many tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and wall timepieces signed by this important clockmaker. Very few tall case examples are found with his original set up label.
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