Curtiss and Clark Shelf Clock, about 1825

image for Curtiss and Clark Shelf Clock, about 1825
Made about 1825, this clock represents an effort to incorporate imported springs, instead of falling weights, to drive the movement. At the time of its manufacture, there was no spring-making industry in the United States. The brass time-and-strike movement runs for eight days. The white-painted metal dial has Roman numerals, with separate seconds under numeral 12, and decorative shell spandrels. The mahogany case has front paw feet and a two-part front door. The door is inlaid with two brass strips; the ivory keyhole escutcheon is missing. The door’s upper glass covers the dial and the lower glass has a reverse-painted scene featuring two structures within a gilded border. There is also a gilded border encircling a clear opening to view the pendulum. The pendulum bob is brass-covered lead.
Inside the case is a printed label that reads: “Eight Day Brass Clocks Made by Curtiss & Clark, Plymouth, Con. This Clock combines advantages over any other Clock made in this country, for convenience. It is made of the best materials, the springs imported from Geneva. All the directions necessary for this Clock are, when the Clock is oved, take off the pendulum ball, and tie down the rod; when set up, set it in a perpendicular position, in order to its having an equal beat. Printed by P.B. Goodsell, printer. Hartford."
Heman Clark, once an apprentice to Connecticut clockmaker Eli Terry, designed this type of clock. Clark’s brother Virtue Clark manufactured about a hundred of these clocks with Garner Curtis(s) for about a year beginning in 1824.
Bailey, Chris, and Blackwell, Dana. “Heman Clark and the Salem Bridge Clocks.” NAWCC Bulletin Supplement 13 July 1980.
Vernimb, Bryan, and Taylor, Snowden. “The Hopkins Clockmakers of Litchfield and Harwinton, CT: Part 1B. Asa Hopkins, Litchfield.” NAWCC Bulletin 393(August 2011): 421-433.
Currently not on view
National Museum of American History
Curtiss & Clark
Physical Description
brass (movement material)
wood (case material)
overall: 22 1/2 in x 12 7/8 in x 4 3/4 in; 57.15 cm x 32.7152 cm x 12.065 cm
base: 3 3/4 in x 12 3/8 in x 4 1/2 in; 9.525 cm x 31.4452 cm x 11.43 cm
glass door, top: 6 3/4 in x 6 3/4 in; 17.145 cm x 17.145 cm
glass door, bottom: 7 1/4 in x 6 1/4 in; 18.415 cm x 15.875 cm
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Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Measuring & Mapping
place made
United States: Connecticut, Plymouth
ca 1825
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