Aaron Willard of Boston, Massachusetts. This tall case clock is fitted with an alarm. 214012

This inlaid mahogany tall case clock is signed by the Boston, Massachusetts Clockmaker, Aaron Willard.

This inlaid mahogany case tall clock stands on four nicely formed ogee bracket feet. The feet are applied the bottom of double step molding which is mounted to the base. The base panel features good vertically positioned grain. This panel is also inlaid with a delicate line border. The line is designed with light and a darker shape of wood in an alternating pattern In each of the four corners is a quarter fan composed of four petals. This inlaid design element is repeated in the long rectangular waist door with the exception that the line is now solid. The waist door is also fitted with an applied molding that frames the outside edge. One would open this door in order to gains access to the inside of the case where the pendulum and weights are located. The sides of the case are fitted with the traditionally formatted brass stop fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet is surmounted with a pierced and open fret work design that incorporates three finial plinths and three brass ball and spike finials. Fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns visually support the upper bonnet molding. They are mounted in brass capitals and are free standing. The arched bonnet door is fitted with glass and opens to access the painted iron dial.

This dial is signed by the Clockmaker below the calendar aperture. It reads, "Aaron Willard." The spandrel areas and the arch of this dial are decorated with traditional floral themes. This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in the traditional locations. This is an English dial having an Osbourne flaseplate.

This 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 movement is also fitted with an alarm. The mechanism for which is mounted to the right side of the movement. It is wound independently of the main mechanics of the clock. This is done by pulling on a cord inside the case in order to raise the alarm weight. The alarm is set by moving the brass alarm hand, seen on the dial to the desired time. When set up, this clock will strike multiple times on the hour bell until the alarm weight is exhausted. This very unusual feature is not often found on tall case clocks. One starts to see Aaron Willard incorporate it into a number of banjo clocks. The first version are set up just like this example. The latter improved versions are designed to be in between the plates of the movement.

This clock was made circa 1805 and stands approximately 90 inches tall or 7 feet 7 inches to the top of the center finial. It is 19.5 inches wide and 9.5 inches deep. It is inventory number 214012.

About Aaron Willard of Grafton, Roxbury and Boston, Massachusetts.

Aaron Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, on October 13, 1757. Little is currently known of his early life in Grafton. His parents, Benjamin Willard (1716-1775) and Sarah (Brooks) Willard (1717-1775) of Grafton, had eleven children. Aaron was one of four brothers that trained as a clockmaker. In Grafton, he first learned the skills of clock making from his older brothers Benjamin and Simon. It is recorded that Aaron marched with them in response to the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775, as a private under Captain Aaron Kimball’s Company of Colonel Artemus Ward’s Regiment. Aaron re-enlisted on April 26 and was soon sent by General George Washington as a spy to Nova Scotia in November. By this time, he had reached the grade of Captain. He soon returned to Grafton to train as a clockmaker. In 1780, Aaron moved from Grafton to Washington Street in Roxbury along with his brother Simon. Here the two Willards establish a reputation for themselves as fine clock manufacturers. They were both responsible for training a large number of apprentices. Many of these became famous clock makers in their own right. The Willards dominated the clock-making industry in the Boston area during the first half of the nineteenth century. Aaron worked in a separate location in Roxbury from his brother and, in 1792, relocated about a quarter-mile away from Simon’s shop across the Boston line. Aaron is listed in the 1798 Boston directory as a clockmaker “on the Neck,” His large shop employed up to 30 people, while 21 other clock makers, cabinetmakers, dial and ornamental painters, and gilders worked within a quarter-mile radius by 1807. We have owned many tall case clocks made by this important Maker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks and numerous Massachusetts shelf clock forms.

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