Joseph Loring. A cherry case clock made in Sterling, Massachusetts. (MM-121)

This clock case is constructed in cherry and retains a honey brown finish. The case stands up off the floor on and applied bracket base that features four feet that incorporate subtle returns. The waist is long and centers a nicely shaped waist door that is trimmed with a simple molded edge. This door shape is found frequently in clock cases constructed from this Central Massachusetts region. The front corners of the waist feature a subtle beaded edge detail. The hood or bonnet is surmounted with an open fret work pattern, three fluted finial plinths and three brass finials. The bonnet columns are smoothly turned and are mounted in brass capitals. The bonnet door is arched in form and fitted with glass. This door opens to access the painted dial.

This iron dial was paint decorated by a local ornamental artist. His identity is currently unknown. We speculate that he may have worked in the Worcester area due to the fact that the style of decoration is repeated frequently on other local clocks by Maker's such as Benjamin Willard of Grafton, Luther Goddard of Shrewsbury, Abel Stowell of Worcester and others. The technique has a New England charm about it. It is not as polished as the painted dials that were available from overseas or even from Boston. This dial is signed in the arch. The signature simply reads, "JOSEPH LORING / Sterling / FECIT." The signature is surrounded by strawberries and various other forms of foliage. The four spandrel areas are decorated with gilt themes. These center a red medallion. This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in the traditional format.

The movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. It is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.

This charming country clock was made circa 1795. It stands approximately 88.5 inches or 7 feet 4.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. This clock is inventory number MM121.

About Joseph Loring of Sterling, Massachusetts.

Clockmaker and Chairmaker.

Joseph Loring was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts on July 19, 1768 and died in Sterling, Massachusetts on January 31, 1846. He was 78 years of age. Joseph is listed in the Sterling town histories as a clockmaker as early as 1792. He also ran a general store which was located on the corner of Main Street and Kendall Hill Road. This general store later purchased by the Estabrook family who continued to operate the business for many years to follow. Joseph is said to have trained Daniel Holmes as a clockmaker and it appears that he worked for him as a journeyman in 1801 – 1802. Loring’s account book covering the years 1791-1812 is in the Collection at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. It reveals a variety of activity including business relationships between Benjamin Willard, Gardner Parker and Able Stowell.

Joseph Loring made tall case clocks and shelf clocks. He purchased a number of tall clock cases from John Hill of Leominster. We have also seen a Massachusetts shelf clock that has a cabinetmakers label pasted inside the case that reads, “C. Simmons / Cabinetmaker.” By the early 1820’s, chair production in the town of Sterling took off and soon 70,000 chairs were made there annually. Loring became very much involved in chair production. By 1845, Joseph’s estate near Sterling, MA contained about 70 acres of first rate land that was equally divided into mowing, pasturing and tillage with the buildings theron. The buildings included a large two story house, a 20 by 30 barn and two sheds. Water was provided by a never failing spring piped to the house via lead pipes. A chair and paint shop with small dwelling house was adjoined.

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