Old Fashioned Timepieces
( Originally Published 1905 )
INSTRUMENTS for marking time may be included under a few great heads : sun-dials, hour-glasses, and clocks. The origin of the earliest time-keeping device is lost in antiquity, but among the first clocks composed of an assemblage of wheels, of which there is no doubt as to age, are the clock in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, which was put up in 1286 ; one at Canterbury Cathedral, 1292; one at Exeter, 1300; and one in the Palace yard, London, of about the same period. All these were in England, but Froisart speak of one at Courtrai, France, which was taken to Dijon by Philip, Duke of Burgundy, in 1370.
Viollet le Due remarks that from the twelfth to the fourteenth century no space was arranged in church towers for dial plates. Still there were clocks in many towers, but they were without dials, and only struck the hours, the act of striking often being performed by a wooden figure, several feet tall, which beat upon a metal bell.
During the fourteenth century clocks with various mechanical devices became popular; puppets were arranged to perform little scenes at the hours, like " The Mystery of the Resurrection," " Death," etc. Nor was skill in clock-making confined to England and France. Saladin, of Egypt, in 1232 presented to Frederick II of Germany a clock run by weights and wheels, showing figures which represented the sun, moon, and other planets and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. In 1358, in the palace of Abu Hammon, Sultan of Thencen, was a clock ornamented with figures carved from solid silver.
The first of the celebrated Strasburg clocks, which were placed in the Cathedral there, was begun in 1350. From that time to the present there has been no interruption in the wonderful mechanical clocks which have been made in various countries.
One of the strangest of all clocks is the " Resurrection " clock in India. It has no dial, a gong being suspended in its place. Beneath this gong lie scattered on the ground skulls and bones enough to form twelve complete skeletons. At one o'clock the number of bones needed to form one entire skeleton come together with a snap ; the skeleton springs up, seizes a mallet, and strikes the gong one blow. This done, it returns to the pile and again falls to pieces. When it is two o'clock, two skeletons strike two. At the hours of noon and midnight, the entire twelve spring up and strike, each one after the other, a blow on the gong, and then fall to pieces as before.
In the charming, old, mediæval city of Rouen in France, time seems to move more slowly than in many other places. Still, as long as one does not live there, it is sad to see the narrow streets without sidewalks, traversed by a gutter in the centre, being replaced by the ordinary walks which while comfortable are far less picturesque, and necessitate the pulling down of many curious old buildings, past which, no doubt, the lovely Agnes Sorel and poor Joan of Arc once passed. In this same city, in the cathedral, is buried the heart of Richard Coeur de Lion, and some of his companions lie near him. One of the most famous streets is called Rue de la Grosse Horloge, and it is still most picturesque. The clock which gave it its name is shown in Figure 240, and is placed in a round-arched gateway surmounted by a tower, which it is said was finished in 1527, and was not the first structure which held the clock. The clock was made by Jehan de Féalins in 1389. It has been carefully looked after, and with some slight modern modifications is still an excellent timekeeper. It shows the hours, the days of the week, and the phases of the moon. The handsome dial is about six feet square, and surrounded by a circle of fine ornament. It is still the chief clock of the city, nothing modern having been allowed to usurp its place.
Even uncivilised nations have ways of telling time, some of them quite elaborate, and in the flowery islands of the South Pacific, they use means which Nature sets ready at their hands, and make a time-marker by taking the kernels from the nuts of the candle-tree and washing and stringing them on to the rib of a palm leaf. The first or top kernel is then lighted. All the kernels, being of the same size and substance, burn a certain number of minutes, and then set fire to the next one below. The natives tie pieces of bark cloth at regular intervals along the string to mark the division of time.
More like the hour-glass is a device which is used by the natives of Singar, in the Malay Archipelago, who make use of a peculiar device; two bottles are placed neck and neck, and sand is put in one of them, which pours itself into the other every half hour, when the bottles are reversed. There is a line near, on which are hung twelve rods, marked with notches from one to twelve. A regularly appointed keeper attends to the bottles and rods, and sounds the hour upon a gong.
Passing from these primitive constructions to some of the wonders of modern clock-making, one may marvel at the great clock at St. Petersburg, which has ninety-five faces. It indicates simultaneously the time of day at thirty places on the earth's surface, besides the movement of the earth around the sun, the phases of the moon, the signs of the Zodiac, the passage over the meridian of more than fifty stars of the northern hemisphere, and the date, according to the Gregorian, Greek, Hebrew, and Mussulman calendars. It is said that it took over two years to put the works together, and get them into running order.
Notwithstanding their bulkiness there are more col-lectors of clocks than one would at first imagine. It is probable, however, that King Edward has the greatest number in any one collection, either public or private, since at Windsor alone there are over five hundred, and he has in all about two thousand. They are all carefully inventoried in many great volumes, which are in the care of the Lord Chamberlain's department, and this department is also responsible for the care of the collection.
The collecting of clocks seems to be a royal hobby, since Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Queen Victoria, and King Edward all have had it. Indeed King Edward's most valuable clocks came to him by inheritance from his mother, and, perhaps, of them all the one which has the greatest " human interest " attached to it is the one which belonged to the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. This clock, which was given to her on her wedding day by Henry VIII, is a small affair, — four inches deep and ten inches high. It has passed through several hands since the beheading of poor Anne, the last to own it before Queen Victoria being that prince of collectors, Horace Walpole. It was bidden in at the sale of his effects for the queen, for about six hundred dollars. After four centuries it still goes, though she for whom it was made was permitted but four years in which to enjoy it. The weights are beautifully engraved with "H. A." with a true-lover's knot on one, and the initials only on the other. Did the Bluebeard Henry ever call Anne to mind when he heard it strike? Perhaps it was not a striking clock after all, which must have been comfortable for him. It is of the style known as " bird-cage," and stands on an ornamental shelf.
The greatest curiosity in the King's collection is at Buckingham Palace, and is a clock made by Lepine, a protégé of Voltaire, and is made in the shape of a negress' head. In this clock the hours are shown in one of the eyes of the negress and the minutes in the other. The figure is two feet and a half high, of ormolu, richly decorated.
He has also several clocks by Lepaute, a celebrated French clockmaker, born in 1709, and died in 1789. He improved the pin-wheel escapement by putting pins on both sides of the wheel, and he was also noted for his turret clocks, of which he erected five for the Louvre alone. They were wound by means of an air-current and a fan, a method which has been recently revived. Many of his clocks were put into superb ormolu cases, and one of these is shown in Figure 241 and is dated 1760. It is seven feet twenty-six inches tall, and, be-sides the rich inlay and metal mounts, has on the top a charming figure, and it may be seen that the clocks of that period assumed almost the colossal proportions of the beds.
The clocks in which we are chiefly interested are those for household use, and the earliest which we had came from England. By 1600 there were clocks made for a moderate price, and for the use of the average house-holder. These clocks were known by the names " bird-cage," "lantern," or "bed-post " clocks. They were put on shelves or brackets attached to the wall, and were wound by pulling down the opposite ends of ropes on which the weights were hung. Some of these were striking clocks; others were furnished with an alarm, and none of them was expected to run for more than thirty hours.
Samuel Pepys mentions in his diary such a clock belonging to Catherine of Braganza in 1664. He says :
" Mr. Pierce showed me the Queen's (the Portuguese Princess, wife of Charles II) bedchamber . . . and her holy water at her head as she sleeps, with a clock at her bedside, wherein a lamp burns that tells her the time of the night at any time."
In fact small portable clocks were mentioned nearly two hundred years earlier than Pepys' note, and in the "Paston Letters," which are such valuable repositories, I take the following extract. The letter is from Sir John Paston, and is dated 1469:
" I praye you speke wt Harcourt off the Abbeye ffor a lytell clokke whyche I sent him by James Gressham to amend and yt ye woll get it off him an it be redy, and send it me, and as ffor mony ffor his labour, he bath another clok of myn whiche St. Thorns Lyndes, God have hys soule, gave me. He maye kepe that tyll I paye him. This clok is my Lordys Archebysshopis but late hym not wote of it."
The form was doubtless similar to the bird-cage clocks, though it is known that some of the early clocks had revolving dials. In the South Kensington Museum there is on an inlaid wooden panel the representation of a clock with a revolving ring, on which the twenty-four hours are marked, the current hour being indicated by a pointer. The date of the panel is certainly not later than 1500, and of course the date of the clock is older. In 1544 the Master Clockmakers of Paris were incorporated by statute, and, in 1627, a proposal to grant letters patent to allow French clockmakers to carry on their trade in London, caused such an agitation in London, that a committee of clockmakers was formed, and a petition for a charter was presented to Charles I, which he granted on the 22d of August, 1631.
The pendulum, which was introduced about 1661, superseded the balance. The first form was known as the bob pendulum," which by 1680 was followed by the " royal " or long pendulum. The clocks of the lantern or bird-cage variety were small, ranging in size from three and one-half inches to five inches square. One of unusual size was eight and one-half inches by sixteen inches high. The rounded top seen in Figure 242 is the bell upon which the hours are struck; and one peculiarity of these clocks is that the dial face often projects an inch or two beyond the sides of the frame. They are not uncommon in England yet, for they were made continuously till about 1825, and as the works are of brass and well made, they are excellent timekeepers. The little ornaments which stand up in front of the clock are known as " frets," and they are quite a sure indication of when the clock was made. The design of crossed dolphins came into use about 1650, and was a favourite pattern; and there were other frets, generally of geometric design, which also became well known.
Another style in use about this period was known as the " bracket " clock, and these clocks had either the handle on top, like that in Figure 243, or on the sides. Such clocks as these were luxuries, however, and cost what would be equivalent to seven hundred dollars.
There are records showing that a popular clockmaker of the period, Henry Jones, of Inner Temple Gate, London, charged £150 for a similar clock which he furnished to Charles II in 1673. This style of clock continued in use for one hundred years and more, and with them the fret, which was now placed in the corners of the dial plate, became, as in the lantern clocks, indicative of their age.
A fine example of the bracket clock is shown in Figure 244, and is owned in White Plains, New York. It shows that it is a veteran, but it still goes, and it has beautiful spandrels and an engraved face. It has been in the possession of the family for over one hundred years, and in the upper circle has, in black enamel, William Buttock, Bradford. The spandrels or brass ornaments in the corners of the face point to the first half of the eighteenth century, as being the time when it was made. The case is of mahogany and there are brass screens at the sides to permit the sound of the striking to be distinctly heard. This clock is very similar to one at Windsor Castle, made by Justin Vulliamy, who came from Switzerland and settled in London in 1730. He became noted for the beauty and accuracy of his timepieces, and was appointed clockmaker to the King during the reign of George II. The succeeding members of the family held this office in the different reigns till the death of Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy in 1854. Specimens of his work abound in the royal palaces, and many of the clocks of Queen Victoria that were in active service were by him. In the presence chamber was one of them set into a splendid piece of white marble sculpture by J. Bacon, R.A., which was made in 1790. Under the clock on a marble shield is an inscription by Cowper:
" Slow comes the hour, its passing speed how great ! Waiting to seize it — Vigilantly wait."
The long-case or " grandfather " clocks were developed from the brass chamber clock with a wooden hood, which had to be entirely removed before the clock could be wound. Cockscrew or twisted pillars at each corner of the hood were characteristic of this period and that of Queen Anne, and frequently the cases were splendidly decorated with marquetry, which was the work of some of the numerous Dutch cabinet-makers at that time settled in England. Many of the early tall clocks were very narrow in the waist part, where the weights and pendulum hung, and the swing of the pendulum was allowed for by the addition of " wings " or extra width in the case at the sides.
There were many variations of the hour circles on the dial. Before the minute hand came into use there were double circles where the numerals were, dividing the hours into quarters, the half hours being indicated by an ornament of extra length, like an arrow-head or fleur-de-lis. The engraving on clock faces and on the brass plates at the back was very beautiful, and artists were frequently employed to make them. Borders, intricate rings about the winding holes, birds and flowers, were all introduced into the decoration, and the spandrels or ornaments at the corners still further ornamented them.
On many of the clocks of the seventeenth century the maker's name will be found engraved on the edge of the dial plate below the circle with the numerals. Later it was engraved on the dial plate between the figures V and VII. Sometimes two names are found, particularly in the earliest clocks, and in this case the name engraved in the centre of the di 1 surrounding the hands is the name of the maker, wile the name at the foot of the dial is the name of the seller of the clock.
Some of the most famous English clockmakers were: Bartholomew Newsam, who was established in London as early as 1568; Rainulph great clock in 1617; clockmaker, in 1600; Alcock, in 1661; and Daniel Ramsay, in 1610. The Clockmaker's Company was chartered in 1631, and was a trade guild for protecting the trade in London, or within ten miles thereof. Edward East, one of the most noted of English makers, was at work by 1620, and became watchmaker to Charles I. Henry Jones was at the height of his fame about 1673, and Samuel Betts about 1640. Thomas Tompion, known as the " Father of English watchmaking," had by 1658 attained much renown. He was succeeded by Daniel Quare, who had a shop at St. Martin's le Grand, London, in 1676. Then came George Graham, an apprentice of Tompion, and much beloved by him, nd who succeeded to his business in 1713.
As I have said, the spandrels or corner ornaments are important indications of the age of a clock. Very early dials have a line of verse in the corners, like the following :
"Behold this hand,
The clock from which this rhyme was taken is dated 1681, and was made by John Ogden, Bowbrigg, England. Then came the angels' heads, which design was later elaborated ; then two cupids holding a crown, which lasted through the reign of Queen Anne. After this came the Rococo during the eighteenth century, and then the period of George III, where the design became degenerate, and the spandrels were cast, with-out even being retouched with a chasing tool.
Drawings of spandrels are shown in the next figure, number 245, and from them the approximate date of the clock can be told.
Oak has always been a favourite material for the cases, and walnut, both inlaid and plain, was particularly favoured from about 1675 to 1725. Very elegant cases of Dutch marquetry were made as early as 1665, and specimens of Oriental lacquer were by no means unusual from 1740 onward. From 1750, when Chippendale began to work and design, mahogany, both solid and veneered, became popular, and has continued so ever since.
The clock shown in Figure 246, besides being remark-ably elegant in its case of Oriental lacquer, has an interesting history as well. It was imported from London in 1738 by Thomas Hancock, and then descended by inheritance to John Hancock. It was made by Marmaduke Storr, foot of London Bridge, who was a famous maker in the day. The order reads that the et long, " the price 15 not to as it is for my own use, I beg buying of it at the Cheapest apply to one Mr. Marmaduke ondon Bridge."
Another interesting timepiece is shown in the following this clock belonged to George Wade by the well-known French-curious looking affair. It was r there are no keyholes on the face, and the keys mayr be seen lying on the stand. It was covered with a gl ss case, is made of brass, and has a handsome brass ngraved wreath about the dial. It is now in the National Museum at Washington. It must have been a good timekeeper for one of General Washington's characteristics was promptness. He gave away more than one watch to his friends as keep-sakes. One of these is now to be seen among the half-buried treasures at th New York Historical Society. The watch is of gold, with a clearly marked dial, and on the back is this inscri tion: " Trenton, N. J., Dec. 10, 1777. Presented to m friend Colonel Thomas Johnson, of Md. as a mem nto of my great esteem. Geo. Washington."
That Colonel John4on and his descendants made good use of this gift is plainly visible from the scratched condition of the dial around the keyhole; but the case is in good order, showing the inscription very plainly.
Another famous man, Napoleon Bonaparte, was almost as punctual as General Washington. It has often been told that he had the power of going to sleep at any time when it was convenient, and that he could wake at any given moment. Only recently has it been discovered that he depended on a little alarm clock. This was found among the effects of the Princess Mathilde, who died recently, and who was his niece. The clock was made by Abraham Bréguet, a French-man of rare attainments and inventive power, and the most famous clockmaker of his time. This clock, so evidence shows, was carried by Napoleon on his campaigns. The case is of gilded bronze, richly engraved. There are eight dials, indicating the true time, mean time, phases of the moon, seconds, minutes, hours, days and months, and date of the year.
It strikes the hours and the quarters, and has a small metallic thermometer attached to it. Bréguet also made for Napoleon a self-winding watch on the principle of the pedometer, but whether on his own invention or that of Recordon's patent is not established.
But long before this there were many watches and clocks in this country, though I doubt if anything but sun-dials, portable or stationary, and perhaps a watch or two, found their way over here in the first ship loads. A post in the ground gave the noon-mark with sufficient accuracy, and as for the hours of the rest of the day, they could be guessed nearly enough. By 1628, however, one Joseph Stratton, of the Massachusetts Colony, had both a clock and a watch; and Henry Parks, of Hartford, who died in 1640, left by will to his church a clock.
In inventories before 1677 I find many records of " striking clocks," " watches," and also " larums. These early clocks must have been of the bird-cage or lantern variety, though some large clocks seem to have found their way over here. In October, 1688, " ye 4th year of the Reigne of our Sovereign Lord, King James the second," a commission was appointed to examine into the condition of the Fort at New York. The report is long and interesting. They discover that the Fort and " Stockadoes " are in a ruinous condition and need many repairs. In a room over " ye Guard are cabbins and a standyn bed stead with two Albany beds." There is a " great old clock in ye Armourer's room." There are many other items of interest in this report, but they cannot be given here.
Joseph West, of New York, in an inventory dated May 6, 1691, leaves, among other items of value, to his " loving kinsman Edward Hastings, of Ship-ton, in Oxfordshire, Gentleman, my Diamond watch, one hundred pounds, and thirty French pistoles in gold."
The word " clock " was not applied as we now use it till the time of James I, but horologue was what the clock was called. Clock " referred only to the bell upon which the hour was struck. Even at the present day a church or other large public clock is called hoorologue, and in remote parts of England the name clings to the ordinary household timepiece.
The first pendulums in long-case clocks were thirty-nine inches long, and that style known as the " grid-iron " is still used in many foreign regulators. This pendulum was invented by John Harrison, about 1728, and was composed of nine parallel rods, five of steel and four of brass, fastened together by frames, by which the effects of heat and cold acting on the pendulum were neutralised by the different expansion of the two metals.
After such elaborate timepieces began to find their way over here repairs had to be made, and by 1712 there were clockmakers prepared to either make or keep in order any kind of clock or watch.
In old newspapers like the " Boston News Letter " there are advertisements like this of a man who " per-formed all sorts of new Clocks and Watch works, viz.: 30 hour clocks, week clocks, month clocks, Spring table clocks, chime clocks, quarter clocks, quarter chime clocks, Terret clocks, etc." A few years later, in 1716, there were advertised " lately come from London, a Parcel of very Fine Clocks. They go a week and repeat the hour when Pull'd. In Japan cases or Wall Nutt."
The long-case clocks of early manufacture had a square face to the dial. Then the top of the clock-case and the top of the dial rose in an arch; and above the dial were inserted the phases of the moon, moving figures such as ships in motion, Father Time, etc., the moving figures being preferred by the Dutch makers, who were very proficient in this style of work.
Two clocks are shown in Figures 248 and 249. The first is of English make, the second American, and both are of about the same age, being made about 1800. Figure 248 has brass works, and solid mahogany case decorated with lines of inlay. The phases of the moon and days of the month are shown above the painted face, and the clock is in fine condition and an excellent timekeeper. There is no name upon it anywhere, and its history is obscure; but some of the details are that the clock was brought from England in 1810, was owned in Hingham, Massachusetts, then changed hands and was taken to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and now belongs to a collector in Montpelier, Vermont.
Figure 249 has on its face the name Luther Smith, Keene, New Hampshire. This is no indication that he made the clock, since it was the custom, if the owner desired it, to paint his name on the face of the clock. This face is very prettily painted with flowers and medallions, and the brass hands are beautifully pierced. Like its English mate it shows the phases of the moon and days of the month. Its case, too, is solid mahogany, without inlay, however, but the brass mounts on the pillars of the case are unusually handsome, and the pillars themselves as well as those on the hood are fluted.
Another American-made clock is shown in Figure 250. The top is unusual from its plainness, the only ornamentation being the slender turned pillars. This clock is marked, " Owen, Philadelphia." The face is painted prettily, the case mahogany, some of it veneered, and the phases of the moon are shown above the dial. It is still a good timekeeper, and has a very agreeable striking tone for the hours, halves, and quarters.
A variation from the grandfather's clock was the same shape in miniature. Such a clock is shown in Figure 251. It is not four feet tall, and such a specimen in a marquetry case is not often found. It was discovered in an attic in Rhode Island, where it had lain undisturbed for forty years or more, waiting for a fortunate collector. It has a painted face and wooden works, and has no maker's name. I have never seen more than six or eight of these little grandfather clocks, and it seems strange that more old clocks did not survive, since in " Historical Collections of Connecticut " it is stated that in 1836, at Bristol, Connecticut, there were sixteen clock factories at work, making one hundred thousand clocks, with brass or wooden works, each year.
In Figure 252 is a clock with a wooden face, painted with flowers, and with wooden works also. It is wound by pulling the weights, and is even yet an excellent timekeeper. It is supposed to have been made about 1800 or during the next ten years. The fine case is mahogany with satinwood inlay, and the only blemish is that the ornaments for the top are missing.
The clockmakers of the United States have contributed many valuable inventions to the science of clockmaking, the most important being steel springs which could be produced at a low price, and thus enable the production of cheap clocks. Another invention was the pendulum covered with goldleaf, which is a necessary part of a regulator clock, and which was made by Silas B. Terry, a son of Eli Terry, of Windsor, Connecticut, who was one of the early makers of American clocks.
James Harrison was another early maker, and the first clock he made was sold January 1, 1791, for £3 12s. 8d. This was at Waterbury, Connecticut, a town which still continues to be a centre for the watch and clockmaking business. In 1783 a patent was awarded to Benjamin Hanks, of Litchfield, Connecticut, to run fourteen years, for a self-winding clock. The Eli Terry previously mentioned started at Plymouth, Connecticut, in 1793, and made his first clock with a brass dial, silver washed. His tall case clocks were very often sold without the cases, which were made by local cabinet-makers or carpenters.
East Windsor was another clockmaking town in Connecticut, and here Daniel Burnap carried on the manufacture of clocks with brass works. William Tenny also began at an early date to make clocks with brass works, and he was established at Nine Corners, Dutchess County, New York. Eli Terry's earliest clocks were made with wooden works and long cases with royal pendulums. A clock was an expensive item in. those days, the prices ranging from $18 to $48 and $70. The highest priced ones had brass faces and works, and a dial for the seconds, the moon's phases, and a fine wooden case. The distribution of clocks during these stage-coach days was intrusted to pedlars, who carried them into even remote regions. This was the reason why many of them were sold without cases, as they were too bulky to carry great distances.
Some of the best known clockmakers prior to 1800 were Daniel Burnap, James Harrison, Silas Merriam, Thomas Harland, and Timothy Peck. During the next fifteen years the number of clockmakers increased rapidly, and Seth Thomas, the Willards, Silas Hoadley, Herman Clark, and Asa Hopkins were well-known manufacturers. It was Terry who invented the mantel or " short shelf clock," as it was called, in 1814. The pendulum was shortened, the weights made smaller and run on each side, and the works placed in a more compact form. At first the works of these clocks were wooden; but when rolled brass was invented, and wheels could be struck out with machinery and the teeth after-ward cut, also by machine, it became less expensive to make the brass clocks than the wooden; but this was not till about 1837.
In Figure 253 is shown a very handsome mantel clock, made with brass works which run eight days, and in an unusually choice rosewood case. The two sets of doors with paintings on them is not a common feature, and with the side pillars of polished wood with their large brass tops it makes a fine example of this style of clock. The pictures, although not named, seem to be a view of Mount Vernon and the " Constitution and Guerriere," both of them favourite subjects for patriotic Americans. One of the best known names among the clockmaking fraternity during the first half of the nineteenth century was Willard, and they manufactured a style of clock which was generally called by their name, the term " banjo " being of comparatively recent origin.
The Willards, for there were four of them at least, — Simon, Aaron, Benjamin, and Simon, junior, — were natives of New England, and Benjamin, who had workshops at Roxbury, Boston, and Grafton, took out patents for his inventions as early as 1802. Terry was a great rival of the Willards, and increased his business by using water-power, so that he flooded the market with clocks, and the price went down to $10. This was in the year 1807, when Terry made five hundred clocks. In 1814 he introduced the short shelf clock or mantel clock, of which another variety is shown in Figure 254.
In this example the wood is richly carved and has an eagle on the top, a fitting emblem to go with the portrait below, which is a much finer painting on glass than is usually met with, and to which the photograph does not do justice. Inside the case of this clock is pasted a paper which reads as follows :
Patented by Eli Terry
And made and sold by Seth Thomas,
Bristol, Conn. Warranted if well used.
There was almost always one of these papers in these mantel clocks, but few of them are dated, a great mistake as we think who would like so much to know just how old our treasures are. Another style of paper runs like this :
Patent clocks invented by Eli Terry,
Warranted if well used.
N. B. — The public may be assured that this kind of clock will run as long without repairs and be as durable and accurate for keeping time as any kind of clock whatever.
A Willard or "banjo " clock is shown in Figure 255. The case is mahogany with inlay of satinwood round the door. The ornaments on top and sides are brass, the face is covered with a convex glass, and there is but one keyhole, these clocks generally being made without a striking attachment.
Another and very similar clock is shown in the next illustration, Figure 256, and this one has on the lower part of the case the name Willard. It also has but one winding hole, and is part of the Waters collection at Salem, Massachusetts. There are many of these clocks to be had; and so well were they made that even yet they are admirable timekeepers.
The very fine clock which is shown in the next illustration, Figure 257, seems a variation of the banjo design, and this case is also mahogany, handsomely carved. There is no name of the maker on the clock, but inside the door is a record of repairs. The first of these is dated 1808, showing that the clock must have been made some years previously. It has a striking as well as a winding keyhole. It tends somewhat towards the Iyre shape which was so much affected by Sheraton in his chair backs, and may have been made about 1800.
Another clock, probably of the same period, is shown in the next Figure, 258. It has a fine mahogany case with Empire decorations on it in gilt. The large dial is clearly marked, and there is but one winding hole. It has an uncommonly long pendulum for a clock of this style, but keeps excellent time.
In Figure 259 is shown an odd clock, made by the Forestville Manufacturing Company, of Bristol, Connecticut. It has a rosewood case, and is even more " banjo " than the banjo clocks of the Willards. It has a view of the Merchants' Exchange, Philadelphia, which was probably taken from one of Child's engravings, published in 1829. The dial is very clear, and there is handsome inlay on the upper part of the case. It has brass works, an eight-day movement, and the posts which support the case are tipped with a carved acorn, making in all a very handsome and unique clock.
A quaint little clock in an inlaid case, which is about a hundred years old, is shown in Figure 260. It is of Swiss manufacture, has brass works, and keeps time perfectly. It strikes not only at the hour but at the quarter-hour divisions, all except the hours being given in two tones. Like the older bracket clocks it has little screens at the sides to allow the sound to escape, and, as may be seen, it has quite ornate hour and minute hands.
There are to be found, also, in various parts of the country, French clocks of elegant design and workmanship. Many of these are covered with glass shades to protect them from the dust, and most of them are inlaid or have elaborate carved or alabaster pillars and fine gilt mounts. A very splendid example is given in Figure 261, and the clock has an interesting history. At first sight the eagle at the top would seem to indicate that the clock was for an American, but this is not a Republican but an Imperial eagle. The clock belonged to Jerome Bonaparte, and was brought by him to this country when he came in 1803. After these many years the clock is to be found at the rooms of the Antiquarian Society in Concord, Massachusetts, where it is surrounded by other relics of equal age but more democratic extraction.
The Empire clock shown in Figure 262 is almost a finer specimen than the one which belonged to Jerome Bonaparte. It is certainly in better proportion. As you may see, this one is still filling its function, the cloud about the pendulum showing that it was in motion when the picture was being taken. The alabaster columns are very ornamental, and all the brass work is of the highest order. Sometimes the pendulums of these clocks were in the form of a many-pointed star, and in addition were finely engraved.
America, as I have said already, has done much for the improvement of timepieces. And one can but smile at our eagerness to excel as far as in us lies. We cannot have the oldest things in the world, but we can have the biggest, and we do. For many years the clock with the largest faces in the world was that in the Westminster Tower, London. We were not content to have it so, and finally a clock was built in Minneapolis which exceeded the London clock in size by two inches, the dial faces of both clocks exceeding twenty feet. But even this was not enough, so a bigger one was built, and is now in the tower of the City Hall, Philadelphia. Its bell weighs more than twenty thousand pounds, and the dial is twenty-five feet in diameter, and the hour hand is nine feet long!