J. C. Brown Ripple Cased Steeple Clock. 8-day time, strike and alarm. 221070

This is a very nice example of a steeple clock that features ripple moldings. Good clean ripple steeple clocks are difficult to find. They do not seem as common as the Beehive form. This is in excellent original condition. The case is veneered in rosewood and retains an older finish. The sides of the case exhibit the distinctive rosewood grain pattern. Long dark streaks of grain run through the lighter brown coloring of the wood. The front of the case is decorated with a series of fancy moldings. This three dimensional pattern has become known as a “ripple” pattern. It is one of several variations used on clocks made during this period. The two turned and shaped finials decorate the top of the case. Both are original to this clock and in very good condition. The front of the case is fitted with a door that is divided into two sections. The lower section is fitted with a paint decorated tablet. This is held in place with wooden stripes. This decorative tablet is original to this clock.

This is a tablet was painted William Fenn. The paint decoration is applied to the back of the glass. The gold background features an open oval on the center. Lacy silver patterns are painted in the gold fields. The four corners feature designs that are best described as spandrels. These are reminiscent of tall clock dial design. The oval in the center is framed with a silver weaved pattern. These silver details are now quite subtle. If you do not look closely, you may miss them. The center of the glass features the Fenn stylized eagle. The quality of work here demonstrates a high level of skill. The feathers of the bird are well formed. Several colors are used in the design. Thirteen stars are positioned above the eagle. The dial is painted on tin and features Roman style hour numerals. The hands are original to the clock and are a delicate form. The brass disk in the center of the dial is used for setting the alarm.

The eight-day, spring driven movement is constructed in brass. It is die-stamped by the Maker on the front plate. The works are a time and strike design and are good quality. This clock is designed to strike each hour on a coil wire gong. This is mounted on the backboard inside the case. You will notice that a cast iron bell is mounted to the left of the gong. This is used for the alarm. The brass made spring powered alarm mechanism is mounted below it. This needs to be wound when one wants to use this feature. This example also retains the original Manufacturer’s instruction label. This is pasted inside the case onto the backboard and is in very good original condition.

This clock was made circa 1840 and measures 20 inches tall, 10.25 inches wide and 4 inches deep. This clock is inventory number 221070.

Jonathan Clark Brown (b.1807 -d.1872) was born in Coventry, Connecticut and he came to Bristol in 1832. He was involved in many firms including the Forestville Manufacturing Co. and the Bristol Clock Co. As a clockmaker, he experienced many financial setbacks in Bristol. He was instrumental and a very influential figure in developing the Connecticut clock industry. An innovator, he was responsible for the Acorn clock as well as other interesting case designs. Brown Left Bristol broke in 1858 and moved to Nyack, New York. He died there in 1872.

About Jonathan Clark Brown of Forestville, Connecticut

Jonathan Clark Brown was born in Coventry, Connecticut on October 8, 1807 the son of Jonathan Clark and Sophia (Bingham) Brown. He came to Bristol in 1832. He was a case maker or joiner and over his life time was involved in many firms including The Forestville Manufacturing Co. and the Bristol Clock Co. He was an instrumental and very influential figure and developing the Connecticut clock industry. An innovator, he was responsible for the case design of the very collectible “Acorn” clock as well the octagon case with rounded corners and other interesting case designs. As a clockmaker, he experienced many financial setbacks in Bristol. He left Bristol broke in 1858 and moved to Nyack, New York. He died there in 1872.

For a more in depth over view of his life, please read Kenneth D. Roberts and Snowden Taylor’s book, Jonathan Clark Brown and the Forestville Manufacturing Company.

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