This unusual timepiece, dubbed a banjo clock because of its resemblance to the instrument, evolved from earlier English clocks of a similar form. Famous clockmaker Simon Willard of Grafton, Mass., first developed this distinctive clock in 1802, calling it his “Improved Patent Timepiece.” It became so popular that other clockmakers imitated the style after Willard’s patents ran out. Many versions of the style, ranging from very plain to highly ornate, were made.
C.A. Lockwood of Providence, R.I., made this elaborate model about 1825. The case features carved and gilt ornamentation, reverse-painted glass panels and a stylized American eagle at the top. The lower, more modern replacement panel depicts a scene of Mount Vernon. The clock is a gift of the Rhode Island State Society.
Volume 145, Number 1, January/February 2011, Page 16
Photography by Scott Braman