Samuel Mulliken (1761-1847) Haverhill, Massachusetts. A cherry cased tall clock. XX31.

Samuel Mulliken made this important clock while working in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Haverhill, Massachusetts town records town are somewhat sparse. Interestingly, there are five Samuel Mullikens born in this town. They were born on the following dates, 1695, 1720, 1743, 1765, and 1777. The Samuel born in 1761 is the clockmaker who made this rare Haverhill signed example?

This early example was most likely made in the early 1780s. This case is constructed in cherry and retains an older finish that has been cleaned and waxed. The result was the resurrection of a pleasing color that is warm and inviting. The case stands up off the floor on a double-stepped bracket foot that is applied to the base section. The design features four feet that support the case and a fancy drop apron that hangs between them. These elements are original to the cabinet. A complex waist molding transitions the base section to the waist of the case. The molding features many profiles that include steps, a couple of coves, and a quarter round. This molding design is far more complex than those moldings found on many other tall case examples. A long tomb-stone-shaped access door is located in the waist section of the case. It is trimmed with a simple molded edge. Through this door, one can access the weights and the pendulum. The hood or bonnet features a solid wood decoration that is mounted above the molded arch. The front section is a variation on the swan’s neck theme. The arched moldings are somewhat compressed, and the design incorporates a central plinth. This solid wood fret design continues along the sides of the hood and to the back wall. Two fluted finial plinths secure the front corners. A brass finial is mounted atop each plinth. The center plinth was never fitted for a finial. The evidence of having one is nonexistent since the plinth is not drilled. The molded arch is hand-carved, as is evident by the remaining tool marks. This is visually supported by the turned and shaped hood columns, of which there are four-two in the front and two in the back. The bonnet sides are fitted with large tombstone-shaped sidelights that are fitted with glass panels. The hood door is hinged and fitted with glass. It opens to access the dial.

This single sheet brass dial has been skillfully engraved and, as is the tradition, treated or finished with a silvered wash. Arabic five minutes markers are located on the outside of this hour ring. The minute ring separates them from the large Roman-style numerals. A subsidiary seconds dial and a calendar date display are within the time track. The clockmaker’s signature is located in the lunette. It reads in script lettering, “Sam Mulliken / Haverhill.” Additional decorative engravings frame the area around the signature and also in the center section of the dial. Interestingly, the spandrel areas are not decorated.

The movement is constructed in brass. The two rectangular-shaped cast brass plates are secured with four ring turned brass posts. Steel shafts support the brass gearing. The pinions are hardened steel. The movement is weight-driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. The weight cords are wound onto grooved drums. The strike train is a rack and snail design, thus striking each hour on a bell. The bell is mounted above the plates on a bell stand. The works are mounted to a wooden seat board. The pendulum hangs from a bridge that is secured to the backplate. The long metal rod supports a brass-faced lead bob.

This clock stands approximately 7 feet 9.5 or 92.5 inches tall to the top of the finials. The bracket feet measure 21.25 inches across and 12.25 inches deep. This clock was made circa 1787-1788.

This clock is inventory number XX-31.

About Samuel (II) Mulliken of Haverhill ,Newburyport, Salem and Lynn Massachusetts.

Samuel Mulliken II was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of mariner John Mulliken, a Captain in the state militia during the American Revolution, and Susanna Huse (1735-1820) on September 22, 1761. He is a member of a very important family of American Clockmakers. Samuel was apprenticed as a clockmaker and as an engraver by his distant cousin Jonathan Mulliken (1740-1782) in nearby Newburyport. Samuel may have completed his apprenticeship and first worked as a journeyman in the town of Salem only to return to Newburyport after his uncle Jonathan died in 1782. It seems likely that he took over Jonathan’s shop and courted his widow, Susannah (Pearson) Mulliken. Samuel and Susannah were married a year later, on August 20, 1783. Samuel’s Newburyport shop was located on State Street. Here he continued to manufacture clocks, engrave clock dials, repair watches, and light metalwork. He also developed a business relationship with the Willards from Roxbury, agreeing to sell Simon’s Patented Clock Jacks. Samuel returned to Haverhill and opened his shop in 1787 through October 1788. He lost his wife Susanna in 1787 to yellow fever. By the end of November 1788, Samuel re-established himself in Salem, MA, on the corner of Court Street. He was busy doing various tasks for his cousin through marriage, the Sanderson brothers, Elijah and Jacob. By March of 1789, Samuel has married his second wife, Sarah Newhall, daughter of Colonel Ezra Newhall. His watch repair business begins to take off, taking in over 20 watches a month to service. In 1796 he moved back to Lynn and bought property. He buys a tenement house and opens a tannery. He is still involved with making clocks and casting brass. He later became the town’s postmaster in 1803. Samuel died in Lynn in 1847.

Examples of brass and white dial shelf clocks are known. One brass dial shelf clock is currently in the Peabody Essex Museum Collection in Salem, Massachusetts. A similar example to the Peabody Essex clock is pictured in “The Old Clock Book” written by N. Hudson Moore. It is pictured between pages 142 and 143 in Black and white. It is figure no. 85. In 1911 it was owned by Mrs. H. P. Brownell of Providence, Rhode Island. It is reported that she owned approximately 50 antique clocks at this time. This is one she admired, and it received special attention.

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