American Banjo Clock Signed Thos Taber Sept 1856

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Scarborough Hollow, Feb 6, 2020.

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  1. Scarborough Hollow

    Scarborough Hollow Registered User
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    Oct 13, 2006
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    A customer brought in a patent timepiece style wall clock last week. I didn't have time to look inside until yesterday. The dial and tablets are not signed. The lower part of the movement appears to be inscribed "Thos. Taber Sept. 1856". Most of my research does not mention anyone Taber with Thos. Brooks Palmer The Book Of American Clocks lists Thomas: 1797-1778, as the son and successor of Elnathan, with no known clocks. Robert W.D. Ball American Shelf And Wall Clocks lists a single working date of 1854, and that he continued his father's (Elnathan) business.

    Here are some initial pictures. The case is a bit dusty from storage. Not sure if the tablets are original. The glass is old and there is a little paint loss. Both have wooden backer boards, not putty or wooden strips along the edges to hold them in place. The eagle finial may be a replacement. Most other Taber family clocks have a turned wooden finial.

    I'm wondering if there are other examples of Thomas Taber clocks known.

    Regards,
    Paul Fournier

    Taber Timepiece Recd.jpg Taber Timepiece 2.JPG Taber Movement.JPG Signature Enhanced 2.JPG
     
  2. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    See Foley's "Willard's Patent Timepieces", page 318. There's a blurb about Thomas Taber, son of Elnathan. According to this he was a clock maker, merchant and hardware maker.

    See this Bulletin article:

    https://docs.nawcc.org/Bulletins/1980/articles/1988/252/252_77.pdf

    Scroll down to page 79. Unfortunately, no pix. Reported therein is another Thomas Taber banjo.

    As the banjo looks older than 1856, I suspect that was scratched onto the plate when he repaired the clock rather than as its maker.

    RM
     
  3. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Have to agree with RM on this clock. It has all the apparent earmarks of a mid-period timepiece, say 1815-1825. And the scratched signature is most likely a repair date, as I see it. I would be quite surprised if it turns out any later than that, irrespective of what is said in the bulletin article referenced. Brooks Palmer did a lot for us clock collectors, but not all that he thought and published, has proven to be accurate as further research and analysis has been done.

    It is, of course, possible this clock was made later, out of parts left on the shelf from prior production by the Taber family. It has happened. Simon Willard is still building clocks or so I hear. But, the case, the movement, the sundry parts we can see, the hands, the method of mounting the movement, the coloration of the woods, all speak to the 1815-1825 period.
     
  4. Scarborough Hollow

    Scarborough Hollow Registered User
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    RM and Jim,

    Thanks for your feedback. Do you think this could be a Taber family product?

    Regards,
    Paul
     
  5. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Given the interrelationships between the various makers and sellers of timepieces/banjos, it is difficult to say who made this clock. Slightly earlier work of Elnathan Taber is very much like that of the various earlier Willards. It is thought that E. Taber was a frequent provider of movements for the Willard shop, for years, and he did apprentice with Simon Willard originally. He bought Simon Willard's tools when Willard retired in 1839. So, there is some possibility the subject clock was made later on by one Taber or another. That said, I don't see a single trait that we could credit (only) to E. Taber, or his son, in the subject clock. Not only did movements move from shop to shop for sale, but so did cases. Signed dials tend to be the best identifier, but even that only tells us who may have sold the clock, not necessarily who made it.

    But, back to the timepiece you have, everything I see suggests the mid-period production. By 1856 banjos were significantly different in a number of ways from this clock. But nothing says specifically, Taber. Sorry.
     
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    I thought I read somewhere that Thomas Taber had a proclivity for scratching his name and date on movements. I have one as well.

    My picture doesn't show the scratchings clearly.

    Ralph

    Taber0003.jpg
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I think that was daddy, Elnathan.

    RM
     
  8. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Elnathan liked to scratch his name on everything he touched. From the number of inscriptions on movements seen today, he was a prolific repairman. This poor little movement had his name and repair dates scratched on it 5 times. And unfortunately, thanks to my bad photography, you can't see any of them. But, not much real estate for 5 sets of scratches. None of them were neatly done, he was not a fine engraver nor had penmanship skills to speak of.

    IMG_0790.JPG IMG_0783.JPG
     
  9. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    It is difficult to identify who made a variety of these improved timepiece movements, because they became so generic looking after 1820. The real differences were how the movement was attached to case and that provides information where it manufactured.

    Earliest examples from Roxbury had long screws from front plate into the case (upper right and lower left)
    Beginning about 1820 in Boston - single bolt from back of the case into the movement was used - Howard & Davis and E. Howard companies used this method
    John Sawin in Boston - 2 brass ears attached to the movement back plate (upper right and lower left)
    North Attleboro - holes in back plate upper right and lower left screws into the case

    Andy Dervan
     
  10. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #10 Ralph, Feb 9, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
    The proclivity or the signature on my movement? ;)

    Elnathan signed this weight with the owners name. The owner was the (tax?) collector in York Township, Dupage County, Il.

    A sidenote, I thought it was interesting the way the pendulum lock down was stored. I can't remember if there were any scratchings on the movement.




    Thanks, Ralph

    Taber dial_(1600_x_1200).jpg Taber hold down 2_(1600_x_1200).jpg Taber weight signature4x6_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_4929_(1600_x_1200).jpg Taber head dial removed8x10_(1600_x_1200).jpg
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks!

    Very nice clock.

    A while ago, I posted an early E.C. Brewster detached fusee beehive where the original or at least an early owner, a Mr. Cropsey, a NYC haberdasher, scratched his name and the date on the back of the pendulum bob.

    I find the various stampings/inscriptions found in and on clocks a fascinating part of the history of their history.

    RM
     

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