A RARE EARLY 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN PRECISION WALL REGULATOR BY AARON WILLARD JR. BOSTON, CIRCA 1830
the mahogany case surmounted with a turned brass steeple finial, with a solid mahogany hinged moulded bezel, hinged bottom door and removable middle panel, the same key for both locks, with original black and gold verre églomisé glass panels, the painted iron dial with signature at the centre, ‘A. Willard Jr. Boston’, with Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numerals for the 5 minutes increments, the upper subsidiary for the seconds and the lower for the 31 day calendar, the movement with truncated triangle brass plates and four turned pillars, maintaining power, the barrel with gutline, pulley and cast iron weight hidden behind a zinc panel inside the case, with heavy turned brass and lead weighed pendulum bob suspended by a steel suspension and a pinewood rod, all pivot holes in the movement plate with fine turned edge, very finely machined pinions and Graham type deadbeat escapement, of eight days duration, the backplate also signed,
142cm high x 49cm wide x 16cm deep
The movement is in working order but not fully tested or guaranteed.
Aaron Willard Jr, 1783-1864, was apprenticed to his father Aaron Willard, before forming a partnership with his brother-in-law, Spencer Nolan, between 1804 and 1806, specialising in producing painted or decorated dials. Shortly thereafter, he took over his father’s business producing precision regulators and decorative clocks. He was the first to design the American-type ‘lyre’ clocks and was the last to use mahogany ‘banjo’ type cases, of which our clock is a perfect example. He continued to be listed in Boston city directories as a clockmaker working at 815 Washington Street until 1848/9 and retired in 1850.
AUCTION COMPARABLE: See Sotheby’s, New York, 17 January 2004, lot 1129 for a banjo-cased wall clock with verre eglomise decoration by Aaron Willard, sold for $51,000.
MUSEUM COMPARABLE: A banjo clock by Aaron Willard, Jr. with an églomisé panel depicting Aurora is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
RELATED LITERATURE:; Chris Bailey, ‘Two Hundred Years of American Clocks and Watches’, Prentice-Hall, 1975.