Benjamin Willard is the oldest of four Willard clockmaking brothers. His younger brother Simon is considered by many to be America’s most famous Clockmaker. The two other younger brothers that also made clocks include Ephraim and Aaron. Benjamin was born March 19, 1743. As a New England Clockmaker, he never stayed in one location for an extended period of time. In December 1764, he advertised himself as a maker of shoe lasts and that he was located in East Hartford, Connecticut at the home of Benjamin Cheney. Because Cheney was and established clockmaker, it is logical to assume that he received some wooden geared clock training from him. In fact, two signed Benjamin wooden geared clocks are known and interestingly, both feature the Cheney construction form. Returning from Hartford to Grafton sometime in 1766 and by early 1767, Benjamin relocated to Lexington, Massachusetts. Here it is recorded that he worked with and then succeeded the brass clockmaker Nathaniel Mulliken. It is thought that Benjamin received some level of brass construction clockmaking training from Mulliken before he past in late 1767. Shortly there after, he hired a John Morris to teach himself and his brothers Simon and Aaron brass clockmaking. During this period, he advertised that he maintained separate shops in both towns until 1771 when it appears he moved the Lexington shop to Roxbury. The Roxbury shop then moved to Brookline in 1775. During the period 1777-78 he advertised being located in Medford. Benjamin moved back to Grafton and then later Worcester and then to Baltimore, Maryland where he died in September of 1803.
On September 3rd of 1789, Benjamin advertised in the Herald and Worcester Recorder that he had moved from Grafton to Worcester and that he had manufactured 359 clocks in the past 23 years. That works out to approximately 15 or 16 clocks per year during that period. He also states that he had left Roxbury in 1775. Current research suggests that somewhere shortly after clock number 239 he moved from Roxbury and these are perhaps pre-revolutionary.
This is a fine Chippendale mahogany case tall clock featuring an engraved brass dial that is finished with a silver wash.… read more