Tall Case Clock

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By the end of the eighteenth century when this clock was made, the most common style of domestic clock came to look like a piece of household furniture. A wooden case enclosed the movement, weights and pendulum. Through a glass window, the dial was visible.
The dial of this clock is signed “Simon Willard,” one of the most prominent clockmakers in the Boston area of his era. With his brother Aaron, he coordinated an extensive network of independent artisans for building clocks. They set up two separate workshops in Roxbury, close to the Boston market and shipping routes, and employed more than a score of workmen. They also attracted to the locale additional independent craftsmen with related skills. More than twenty clockmakers, cabinetmakers, dial painters and gilders worked for the Willards in Roxbury by 1807. To meet customer demand for things with English style and quality, they provided English-made clocks under their signatures, assembled English clock kits and made clocks from English components. They even made clock parts of their own.
Robert C, Cheney, “Roxbury Eight-Day Movements and the English Connection, 1785-1825,” Antiques (April 2000), 606-615.
Philip Zea and Robert C. Cheney, Clock Making in New England, 1725-1825 (Sturbridge, MA: Old Sturbridge Village, 1992).
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1799
Willard, Simon
overall: 94 1/4 in x 20 in x 10 in; 239.395 cm x 50.8 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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