Samuel Ranlet of Monmouth, Maine. A red washed birch case tall clock. VV128.

This fine red washed birch case tall clock features a painted dial that is signed by the Monmouth, Maine clockmaker Samuel Ranlet.

This example is well proportioned. It stands on a base that features cutout bracket feet. The return or spur is aggressively formed. The waist is long and fitted with quarter columns. These are turned smooth and terminate at the brass quarter capitals. A rectangular waist waist door provides access to the interior of the case. This is trimmed with a simple molded edge. The bonnet is fitted with a pierced and open fret work pattern. Three finial plinths support the frets. Each plinth has a brass finial mounted on top of it. The bonnet columns are turned smooth and mounted in brass capitals. They are positioned on either side of the hood door.

The Boston painted iron dial is colorfully decorated. This dial was most likely painted by the Willard & Nolen firm. In the arch of this dial is a gilded urn that is decorated with bright red and gold swags. Holley, having green leaves and red berries are a nice local touch. The four spandrel areas are decorated with fruit. I am guessing they are apples. The time ring is formatted with Roman numerals. The quarter hours are marked in Arabic numerals. It is signed below the calendar opening “Samuel Ranlet / Monmouth.”

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned brass pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved to accept and guide the weight cord. Each holds approximately eight days of winding cord. The escapement is a recoil format. T he movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a 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 which is mounted high above the movement on a bell stand.

This example was made circa 1810. Overall height 7 feet 9 inches tall to the top of the center finial.


About Samuel Ranlet of Monmouth, Maine.

Samuel Ranlet was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, on March 28, 1780. In 1800 he moved his family to Augusta where it is thought he learned clock making from Benjamin Snow. In 1809 he moved to Monmouth where he settled on a farm and set up his clock business. He made tall clocks as well as banjo clocks, both styles skillfully made. His brother in law Jacob Miller, is thought to have made the wood cases for him. Samuel held the rank of Captain in the Maine Artillery and was in command of a company of men at Fort Edgecomb during the War of 1812. Samuel died at the age of 87.

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