David Blasdel of Amesbury, Massachusetts. The patriotic of three generations of clockmakers. A pre-revolutionary tall clock made in 1755.

This Queen Anne form is constructed in pine and is stained with a mahogany finish. The case is very well preserved. It sits on a large double stepped base. The molding are substantially formed and transition this lower section to a long narrow waist. Please note the use of a dentil molding at both ends of the waist. The waist is fitted with a tombstone shape waist door that opens from the right. This door is finished with a simple molded edge. The edges of the waist section are fitted with a quarter round molding. These are quite small and transition at each end in a simple lamb’s-tongue design. The hood is a flat top form. The upper molding is substantial and also features a dentil detail that ties in nicely with the other two like moldings. Quarter round moldings frame the bonnet. The dial door is a rectangular form and features an arched opening that is fitted with glass and frames the shape of the dial.

The dial is constructed from a thin brass sheet that is arched in form and undersized measuring approximately 10 inches across an 13.5 inches tall. The time ring is approximately 9 inches in diameter. It is engraved with large Roman style hour numerals, Arabic style five minute markers, and a closed minute track. Inside this ring is a small window that displays the calender day. The cast spandrels are pewter and lack detail. The Maker’s name is engraved in the boss located in the arch. This is crudely engraved and reads, “DAVID / BLASDEL / 1755.”

The clock works is weight powered. It is designed to be wound daily and to strike each hour on a cast iron bell mounted above it. The works are constructed with an iron frame. Four “dog-bone” shaped posts support cast iron plates that are fitted above and below the brass gearing. This set up format has the look of a cage. The trains are positioned in tandem, IE the strike train is located behind the time train. This makes it possible to use the endless rope arrangement that will power both trains. The count wheel is located on the outside of the rear plate.

The mahogany stained, pine case, is 7 feet 7.25 inches tall, 20.75 inches wide. The clock appears to be well preserved having few changes since it was made in 1755.

About David Blasdel of Amesbury, Massachusetts.

The Blasdel name is spelled many ways. We have seen it spelled “Blaisdell” and “Blaisdel” in the past. This example is signed with the spelling “Blasdel.”

David Blasdel was born in 1712 and worked in Amesbury until his death is 1756. He was killed near Lake George at Fort William Henry while serving in the last French and Indian War as a blacksmith. He was responsible for keeping the troops arms and armor in good repair. He had an older brother Jonathan (1709-1802) who worked in East Kingston, New Hampshire. Both boys were clockmakers and metalworkers. David was perhaps the more successful clockmaker in that more examples of his tall clocks have been recorded to date.

David had sons who also work in the trade. David Jr was born 1736 and died in 1794. Isaac was born in 1738 and died in 1791. Nicholas was born in 1743 and was at work in 1800. He was a Captain in the Revolutionary War with the First Co. out of Maine. In 1770, he settled in Portland, Maine. David Senior also had a grandson named Richard who made clocks. Richard was Isaac’s son. Richard made clocks in Amesbury, MA, Chester and Newmarket, NH and then finally inFalmouth, Maine.

The Bladels may have been the earliest blacksmiths, silversmiths, woodworkers & clockmakers working north of Boston. The vast majority of the tall clocks made by this pioneering family are easily identifiable. The tall clocks feature one day iron framed and brass geared movements. These works features posted frames. The posts are often tapered in the middle and as a result, are referred to as a “dog-bone” post. The top and bottom were fitted with cast iron plates. This set up format has the look of a cage. The trains are positioned in tandem, IE the strike train is located behind the time train. This makes it possible to use the endless rope arrangement that will power both trains. The count wheel,usually as much as 3 1/2 inches in diameter is located on the outside of the rear plate.

Many of the Blasdel dials are follow the same form and are somewhat distinctive. The are generally composed of a tin or thin brass sheet that is arched in form and undersized measuring approximately 10 inches across an 13.5 inches tall. The time rings are approximately 9 inches in diameter. They are engraved with Roman style hour numerals, Arabic style five minute markers, a closed minute track. Inside this ring is a small window that displays the calender day. The cast spandrels and usually pewter and lack detail. The Maker’s name is engraved in the boss located in the arch. This is usually crudely done.

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