Tall Case Clock, Peter Stretch

Peter Stretch, a Quaker immigrant, made the movement of this tall case clock in the first decade of the eighteenth century. Stretch (1670-1746) moved with his wife and four children from Leek, England, to Philadelphia in 1703. Initially focused on building up his own craft business in clocks and instruments, he eventually became an active member of the local Quaker community, an engaged citizen of the city who served on the City Council and a land owner. A respected and talented craftsman, he trained three of his sons—Daniel, Thomas and William—as clockmakers.
The plain walnut case for this clock was constructed by an unknown craftsman. Stretch made the brass movement, which runs for thirty hours on a single weight and strikes a bell on the hour.
Its dial features a single hour hand and Stretch’s signature. Although critical technical improvements in the 1660s had permitted the best clocks to keep time to the second, clockmakers at the end of the 17th century were still making some domestic timepieces with only the hour hand. These clocks were usually reliable to the closest quarter hour, rather than to the minute and second.
See also: Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Stretch: America’s First Family of Clockmakers ([Winterthur, DE]: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc.; [New York, New York]: Hohmann Holdings LLC, 2013.
Currently not on view
Currently not on view
date made
Stretch, Peter
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
overall: 84 in x 19 in x 10 in; 213.36 cm x 48.26 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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