Enoch Burnham of Paris, Maine. A mahogany cased tall clock.

The form of this case is common to the New England region. The case exhibits excellent narrow proportions. This fine example is somewhat unusual in that it features mahogany construction. White pine is used as the secondary woods. Mahogany would have been a difficult wood to come by in this rural community in the early 1800’s. This case was surely special ordered for a wealthy client. It has been recently refinished so the grain pattern exhibited in the wood is highlighted and easy to see. Overall, it is in excellent condition. This fine example stands on cut out feet. The feet are nicely formed and have excellent height. The design incorporates a very subtle drop apron that drops from the base section. The base panel is trimmed with a beaded molding that frames the perimeter. The panel is wonderfully figured. The rectangular waist door is fitted into the waist section. It is also trimmed with an applied beaded molding that is a bit more robustly made than the one used in the base section. The sides of the waist are fitted inset quarter columns. They are finely reeded and terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. At the bottom, these are supported on veneered blocks. The veneer appears to be maple and is lightly finished for contrast. The bonnet features a traditional New England style fret work top. The pattern is unusual and original to this clock. The frets are original to this clock and are supported by three finely reeded and capped chimney plinths. Three brass finials are mounted on top of these plinths. The bonnet columns are also reeded and are mounted into brass capitals. These flank the veneered bonnet door which is arched and fitted with glass. This door opens to access the painted iron dial.

This colorfully painted iron dial was dial was manufacture in Boston by Spencer Nolen. It is an iron dial that is attached directly to the movement with out a false plate. It is skillfully decorated featuring traditional themes for this period. The four spandrel areas are decorated with geometric patterns, garland and leaves. The colors are robust. Dotted gesso patterns frame these details. In the arch, one will find colorfully painted swags. This dial is signed by the clockmaker below the calendar aperture. It reads, “Enoch Burnham / Paris,” in script lettering. The time track is displayed in an traditional format. The hour are scheduled with Roman hour numerals. Each of the five minute markers are indicated in an Arabic form. This dial also shows the seconds on a subsidiary dial and the date of the month in an aperture located below the center arbor.

The movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. It is weight driven and features a rack and snail strike system and a recoil escapement. The pendulum features a brass faced bob.

This case measures 7 feet 10 inches (94 inches) tall to the top of the center brass finial. At the feet, this case is 9.5 inches deep and 16.75 inches wide. This fine clock and was made circa 1805.

About Enoch Burnham of Paris and Westbrook, Maine.

It is not currently known where Enoch Burnham was born. It is now assumed that he was born in the Paris area sometime around 1770.The town or village of Paris is located approximately 50 miles northwest of Portland in Oxford County. It is the county seat. It is a charming village having wonderful views of both Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Washington. Both of which are in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The town is known for its excellent pastures and its orchards have thrived for years. It also benefits from having the Little Androscoggin River which provided water power for the industrious minded. Burnham was well established as a clockmaker in Paris prior to 1800. It is recorded that Burnham owned a considerable amount of land in this small farming community.

Enoch Burnham was the first clockmaker in Paris. He taught the trade to Augustus Bemis (q.v.) who in turn taught his brother Jonathan, born in Paris Hill – 1788, who died in Biddeford in 1851. (From the History of Paris, Oxford County, Maine: Wm. B. Lapham & Silas P. Maxim, 1884.) Burnham is later recorded as living in Westbrook, Maine in the 1820s until his death sometime before 1850.

Very few clocks by Burnham are known. Examples of signed Burnham clocks are difficult to come by. Most of the tall case clocks reported are signed on the dial. The place location is almost always listed as Paris. Two Westbrook examples are known. For a more complete listing of Maine clockmakers, please review Clockmakers & Clockmaking in Maine 1770 — 1900, written by Joseph R. Katra Jr.

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