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Photo: Courtesy The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich., 30.20.14
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Shelf clock

Object number



Clockmaker David Williams, 1769–1823
Casemaker Unknown


39 1/2 12 1/2 6 in. (100.33 31.75 15.24 cm)



Current location

The Henry Ford


Made in Newport, Rhode Island, Made in Massachusetts
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); pine (secondary)


"David Williams / Newport," painted on dial


“Cap Peter / Portland / [?],” in chalk, on exterior of face plate; “Shorten the Pendulum to go Faster / Lengthen [to go?] Slower,” written on label affixed to interior back board of case; "GERMANY," stamped, on back of pendulum bob


Charles Woolsey Lyon (1872–1945), New York; sold to Henry Ford (1863–1947), Dearborn, Michigan, 1930; The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan

Associated names

Charles Woolsey Lyon


The removable hood has a single-board ?show-top? cove-molded at the front and side edges and joined to a ?sub-top,? forming a rabbet below. This assembly is probably half-blind dovetailed (or half-lapped) to the tops of the single-board hood sides, also rabbeted at their back edges. The ?show-top? is also secured to its ?sub-top? with brads. Fixed to the top and secured with chamfered glue blocks are three rectangular plinths ? the central one taller ? each with fluted front and simple caps supporting brass finials; the central one includes a cast bird. Set into grooves in the plinths? sides and secured with horizontal glue blocks are two single-piece sections of scrolling open fretwork. Chamfered glue blocks reinforce the joints between the top and sides and the back of the four-piece dial mat. The hood door?s line-inlaid and veneered front centers a glazed portal with a beaded edge. Outside the bottom of the hood is a cove molding, mitered at the front corners and glued to the hood front and sides. At the bottom of the hood?s inside faces are beveled longitudinal blocking strips which fit over the oppositely beveled tops of blocks nailed with brads into the transverse brads of the top of the case below. These case?s beveled blocks are also nailed into the side of trapezoidal brackets attached to the case by two screws each through its back, which support the saddleboard upon which sits the brass movement. The platform atop the case below which supports the hood consists of two transverse boards, tenoned without wood pins to a horizontal board in front. The front and sides of the case below are half-lapped to these boards. The front of the case ? crossbanded, line-inlaid and veneered ? is half-lapped to the single-board case sides, which are continuous with the side-facing portions of the feet. The case back is a single board (augmented by a vertical strip at the proper right) glued into rabbets in the case sides. The single-board case bottom fits into grooves in the case sides, and is further secured to the front skirt (continuous with the front of the case) and side skirt (separate from the case side above) by multiple chamfered glue blocks. Behind each foot is a tapered block, attached directly to the case bottom, with accompanying glue blocks. The backs of the rear feet are straight-profiled diagonal brackets set into grooves in the back of the side brackets. Within the case are multiple glue blocks, some chamfered, some square. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, August 5, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 113n48.