Daniel Munroe Junior of Boston, Massachusetts. A tall clock case signed by his brother William Munroe. NN63.

This is a very interesting tall case clock made by Daniel Munroe Jr. of Boston, Massachusetts. In fact, it may be the only Daniel Munroe example known to be signed with the working locations as "Boston." A second interesting aspect of this example is that the case is stamped by his brother William Munroe. Very few New England tall clock cases are signed by their cabinetmaker. This is a very unusual combination.

If you collect Munroe clocks, this example has it all.

This superb inlaid mahogany-cased example features excellent Concord proportions. The case is signed with a die-stamp in several interior locations by Daniel's brother William Munroe. His stamp simply reads, "W*M." The format and construction of this case illustrate that William was a very talented joiner. The wood and veneers selected for this case are first-rate. The veneers are exuberantly figured, and the modern finish highlights the grain-rich patterns. The base stands on four ogee bracket feet applied to the bottom of the double-stepped molding located at the bottom of this case. The base panel is framed with a cross-banded border. Multiple line inlay patterns define the interior panel, which features an exuberantly grained selection of crotch veneer. The front corners of this waist are fitted with brass stop-fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The rectangularly shaped waist door is also cross-banded and line inlaid in a pattern that is borrowed from the base section. The veneers selected for this location are also quite special. An applied molding frames the outer edge of this door. This door opens to access the interior of the case. Inside, one will find the two tin can drive weights and the pendulum. The bonnet features a traditional New England-style fretwork. Three line inlaid and paneled finial plinths support the three ball and spike brass finials. Fully turned and fluted bonnet columns are stopped with brass rods. These columns are mounted in brass capitals and positioned on either side of the door. The two shaped columns located at the back of the bonnet are neatly fitted into the corners. The sides of the hood are fitted with tombstone-shaped sidelights. The arched bonnet door is veneered, line inlaid and is fitted with glass. The dial mask is painted black, and the interior edge of this mask is trimmed with brass piping. The brass decoration here was initially added at an additional cost. The door opens to allow one access to the skillfully painted iron dial.

This large iron dial measures 13 inches across and was manufactured and painted in Boston. The artwork is identifiable and is attributed to the Boston Artist Spencer Nolen. The artwork is well-executed, and this dial is signed in the arch "Daniel Munroe / Boston." The spandrels or four corner areas are decorated with lacy patterns raised on the dial’s surface with gesso. This decoration is then highlighted with gilt paint. A medallion featuring a flower is centered in each pattern. The time track is formatted with Roman-style hour figures. Each of the five-minute markers is indicated in an Arabic form. The subsidiary seconds dial and month calendar are located in their traditional locations.

The works or movement is constructed in brass and is of good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight-driven and designed to run for eight days on full wind. It is a two-train or 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 mounted above the movement.

This clock was made circa 1808 and stands 7 feet 10 inches tall to the top of the center finial.


About Daniel Munroe Jr. of Concord and Boston, Massachusetts.

Daniel Munroe Jr. Clockmaker and silversmith was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on July 13, 1775. Daniel Munroe senior and his wife Abigail Parker had a total of five sons. All five boys were raised in Roxbury. The Munroe family is well connected to American History and to the clock trade. Daniel senior’s father, Jedediah Munroe died in the Battle of Lexington, Daniel’s mother, Abigail Parker of Roxbury was the eldest daughter of Jonathan Parker. Jonathan a farmer living in Roxbury was one of the 13 Patriots who participated in the Boston Tea Party. This act of defiance against the British rule and their taxation policies took place on Griffin’s Wharf on December 16, 1773.

Daniel Jr., was trained in the art of clockmaking by America’s most famous clockmaker, Simon Willard in Roxbury. Daniel served the traditional seven year apprenticeship. Simon wrote in a letter dated July 13, 1796 that described Daniel as “… one of the best workman in America.” After serving his apprenticeship, Daniel worked for a short time as a journeyman clockmaker in Willards Roxbury clock shop before moving to Concord, Massachusetts sometime before 1798. Here he kept a shop opposite the Clothing Mill and worked as a clockmaker and as a silversmith. In 1798 through 1804, he forms a partnership with his brothers Nathaniel and William as Daniel Munroe & Co. William was a cabinetmaker and left the partnership in 1804. On November 29, 1804, William married Sarah Dakin (1781-1856) in Concord. The clockmaker partnership of Daniel and Nathaniel lasts another three years when in 1807, Daniel moves back to Boston and opens a shop located on 51 Newbury Street. While in Boston, he advertises being located at a number of different Boston addresses which include, No. 51 Ann Street in 1809, in 1811 he is at No. 35 1/2 Cornhill Street and in 1813 and 1814 he forms a partnership with Ezekiel Jones as Munroe & Jones. By 1816, Daniel is working at No. 47 Cornhill Street and then in 1823, he has moved to No. 38 Congress Street. In 1839, he moved to New York City. He then moves back to Boston in 1841 through 1856. Daniel died in Boston on October 21, 1859.

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