William Sherwin of Buckland, Massachusetts
This is a very good example of an unusual transitional shelf clock attributed to William Sherwin of Buckland, Massachusetts.
This example is unusual in a number of ways. The case can be described as a short case shelf clock in that is measures approximately 33 inches to the top of the center finial, 15 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep. The primary wood appears to be maple and it is heavily constructed. This case stands up on four turned feet that feature bold ring tunings. The front of the case is fitted with a large door. Each corner is fitted with a block that is decorated with a floral stencil. Turned finials are have been cut in half and applied to the door framed ina decorative manner. The door is visually divided in two by a thin wood bar. The lower section is fitted with a mercurial mirror. The upper section is fitted with clear glass and is puttied in place. The crest over hangs the case on all three sides. This is also decorated with stencils. The front facade’ is nicely shaped. It also supports three turned wooden finials.
The dial is wood. The spandrel areas are decorated with gilt designs. Thick gesso work adds a third dimension to this design. Large Arabic numerals are used on the time track to indicate the hours. Please note the American eagle depicted in the center section of the dial. It is a symbol for the Patriotic phase, E Pluribus Unum. The eagle is decorated in gilt. An American shield covers it's breast. The shields with it’s 13 stripes is symbolic for the New Nation's thirteen states joined together as one.
This example has a non traditional thirty hour time and alarm wooden geared movement. The fact that the alarm mechanism is fitted between the plates where the strike train normally is placed makes this a very unusual wooden geared clock. The alarm strikes on a cast iron bell which is mounted inside the case on to the backboard. This movement is powered by cast iron weights and is designed to run thirty hours on a wind.
This clock was made circa 1830.
Inventory number QQ-52.
About William Sherwin of Buckland, Massachusetts
William Sherwin was born in western part of Franklin County in the small town of Ashfield, Massachusetts on October 26, 1787. It is not known when he moved approximately 5 miles north to the town of Buckland. Buckland was organized on April 14th, 1779 from the plantation then called Notown and a part of Charlemont. It is recorded in the town history that he became very active in town affairs serving for a time as the town clerk, an assessor, a school committee member, a selectman, and an overseer of the poor. He was elected multiple times as Buckland’s representative to the General Court of the Massachusetts Legislature. Due to his business of manufacturing and selling clocks, his cutting engine is now in the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut, the neighborhood around his home and shop was called “Clock Hollow” by the locals. It is thought that he purchased his cases from a Daniel Warner. A tall case clock attributed to Sherwin and Warner remains in the Wilder Homestead collection in that town. The town of Buckland had an industrious center due to the power provided from the Clesson river. Various wooden wares were made in great quantities. William Sherwin died in 1877.
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