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Tall Case Clock
1800-1815
Aaron Willard
USA: Massachusetts, Roxbury
Mahogany, brass, steel
overall: 98 1/2 x 20 x 11 in.; 250.19 x 50.8 x 27.94 cm
Gift of the Estate of Reginald L. Winchester
87.34a-j

Tall Case Clock; brass, 8-day key wind weight driven dead beat escapement; tin clad sand (possibly) weights, hours strike; painted iron dial plate with moon phase aperture, seconds dial alone above main arbor, pierced steel hands, inscribed "Aaron Willard/ Boston"; the arched mahogany bonnet with pierced Roxbury-style freted crest; 3 plinths with brass ball finials, string inlay, side windows, with brass half-topped fluted columns; the trunk with solid door, string inlay, brass half-stopped, fluted quarter columns; the base with string-inlaid paint and ogee bracket feet; the inside trunk door inscribed in pencil "Clnd by E. H. Fairbanks/ Sept 11, 1874" with various cleanings through 1906; a: hood; b-c: weights; d: pendulum; e: movement; f-h: finials; i: trunk key; j: winding key.


Aaron and Simon Willard—brothers to Benjamin Willard (1743–1803), whose work is displayed nearby—each brought innovation to the clockmaking business. Efficiencies, such as standard-sized parts and using specialized laborers, lowered the Willards’ costs without diminishing their clocks’ quality or attractiveness. Their fashionable, accurate tall case clocks cost $50–$60. This price range, comparable to six month’s wages for a farm worker, put the Willards’ products out of reach for many, but was attractive to people of means.