Boardman Mirror Clock, earlier groaner movement

Jim DuBois

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Very recently I came across an interesting mirror clock. Most mirror clocks are of the New Hampshire persuasion, but not always. There are very few period mirror clocks made with woodworks. There was a fantastic one in Chris Brown's collection years ago. They seem to be generally of a Boardman origination, and a couple are seatboard groaners, movement by Boardman, not Ives and Lewis, etc. This clock is not quite in the same condition as Chris's clock, but it is what I got. Clearly labeled Boardman. While it is pretty grungey, it is rare IMO, and that gives it value to me. It has something I have not previously seen, namely rectangular tin can weights with wood tops. It is a traditional groaner movement, perhaps of the second version of the movement, offered to the market a bit before the much more famous bronze-looking glass clock by Jerome. So, this clock might date as early as 1822 or up to about 1824. It is interesting that the mirror extends up above the edge of the case. Since all clues suggest all parts are original to each other it would seem the clock was made in this fashion to hide the bell and strike hammer from causal view. Later groaners have a splat to do the same. All the dirt (patina) lines and shadows all correspond properly, so there is no need to become over-concerned with additional mirror height.

The tin can weights are certainly of interest to me, never have I seen quite this approach to groaner weights. It appears as if they are original to the clock. There are only a very few of these groaner mirror clocks, maybe 3 or 4 others out and about in the last 25 or more years can be found in photos from all the usual sources. The only real repair has been the repositioning of the hinges. How can one chisel out new pockets for the hinges but not have toothpicks and glue to repair the screw holes in the original locations?

I am most pleased with this beast. to grab this one up.

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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Very recently I came across an interesting mirror clock. Most mirror clocks are of the New Hampshire persuasion, but not always. There are very few period mirror clocks made with woodworks. There was a fantastic one in Chris Brown's collection years ago. They seem to be generally of a Boardman origination, and a couple are seatboard groaners, movement by Boardman, not Ives and Lewis, etc. This clock is not quite in the same condition as Chris's clock, but it is what I got. Clearly labeled Boardman. While it is pretty grungey, it is rare IMO, and that gives it value to me. It has something I have not previously seen, namely rectangular tin can weights with wood tops. It is a traditional groaner movement, perhaps of the second version of the movement, offered to the market a bit before the much more famous bronze-looking glass clock by Jerome. So, this clock might date as early as 1822 or up to about 1824. It is interesting that the mirror extends up above the edge of the case. Since all clues suggest all parts are original to each other it would seem the clock was made in this fashion to hide the bell and strike hammer from causal view. Later groaners have a splat to do the same. All the dirt (patina) lines and shadows all correspond properly, so there is no need to become over-concerned with additional mirror height.

The tin can weights are certainly of interest to me, never have I seen quite this approach to groaner weights. It appears as if they are original to the clock. There are only a very few of these groaner mirror clocks, maybe 3 or 4 others out and about in the last 25 or more years can be found in photos from all the usual sources. The only real repair has been the repositioning of the hinges. How can one chisel out new pockets for the hinges but not have toothpicks and glue to repair the screw holes in the original locations?

I am most pleased with this beast. to grab this one up.

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What a fabulous find!!

Looks like the chrome yellow (over gesso?) on the back of the door continues on the outside of the beveled (?) door as well.

Viva la grunge!

RM
 
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David 62

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Nice clock.The hinge repair may have been done by the same person that morticed in square wooden bushings in the plate of a wooden works clock that I saw pictured on the Cog Counter FB group page.
 

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Jim,
Nice discovery. I'm curious about a couple of things. One of your photos (oblique view from above) appears to show a small wood block between the door and the case. What's that? And the backboard is fascinating. The larger of the two pieces looks to have saw marks from a large crosscut saw? Also, the backboard doesn't seem to have very many nails securing it (two on each side?). I would have expected more.
Mike
 

Jim DuBois

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Jim,
Nice discovery. I'm curious about a couple of things. One of your photos (oblique view from above) appears to show a small wood block between the door and the case. What's that? And the backboard is fascinating. The larger of the two pieces looks to have saw marks from a large crosscut saw? Also, the backboard doesn't seem to have very many nails securing it (two on each side?). I would have expected more.
Mike
Mike, good to hear from you. The little block is to keep the door glass from hitting the movement center shaft. The case side has shrunk up just enough to allow the glass to hit the center shaft, or vice versa? You are correct, there are 4 nails holding on the back. And it remains tight and in place. But, it also has 4 glue blocks, two at the top and two at the bottom. They appear original.

The backboard is interesting. The marks in the case back appear to be unfinished pit saw blade marks. The one closer photo shows the remaining fuzz from then the blade direction reversed. I have never seen a backboard quite a crude as this one. And there are nail holes for a sheet metal shield over the hammer and hammer slot, like the groaner seatboard reeded pictured with the shield. But, it missing now.

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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Mike, good to hear from you. The little block is to keep the door glass from hitting the movement center shaft. The case side has shrunk up just enough to allow the glass to hit the center shaft, or vice versa? You are correct, there are 4 nails holding on the back. And it remains tight and in place. But, it also has 4 glue blocks, two at the top and two at the bottom. They appear original.

The backboard is interesting. The marks in the case back appear to be unfinished pit saw blade marks. The one closer photo shows the remaining fuzz from then the blade direction reversed. I have never seen a backboard quite a crude as this one. And there are nail holes for a sheet metal shield over the hammer and hammer slot, like the groaner seatboard reeded pictured with the shield. But, it missing now.

View attachment 643813 View attachment 643816 View attachment 643817 View attachment 643819 View attachment 643821 View attachment 643824 View attachment 643825
There are a # of atypical features and techniques used in the construction of the case..

I really believe that it reflects that these were not made in large #'s. As such, they were made one at a time largely by hand?

It would be interesting to compare the cases of the known examples of these clocks. I would venture to say no 2 are quite alike.

Those weights remind me of the ones used by the ww ogee that Chris Brown had. See "Good for a Time", page140.

Chris' "mirror" was a Dutton with a Terry type movement. See the same reference, page 141 Being a NH maker, must have been aware of the NH mirror clocks.

Just freely associating and maybe a baseless comparison. Dutton made a ww ogee with alarm. The bell and hammer are "hidden" by extending the ogee molded front up. See this posting to see what I mean:

David Dutton, NH OG | NAWCC Forums

RM
 
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Jim DuBois

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Funny you should mention Dutton. Here is one of his products done up the same way. By the way, I had overlooked your ogee from 2011. I really like it too. Thanks for the link. I always learn from what you share!

The fancy gold leaf version is perhaps the rarest of the rare, it is of course a seatboard groaner of Boardman ilk I think. There are very few of those to be found out and about. I have 4 or 5 of the Ives seatboard groaners and none of the Boardman making. So, the subject clock in this thread is perhaps slightly later than this fancy gold leaf version. I will go out on a limb and suggest they didn't descend in the same house? I underbid the gold leaf clock some years ago and have not forgiven myself on that point. The last photo is that of the Ives version seatboard groaner, with roller pinions. Included for purposes of comparison. And just to keep us all confused there are at least 4 versions of those.

And RM, complete agreement on the case of the subject clock being quite atypical. The boss says it is too grungy to come in the house, but I will sneak it in anyhow. And I will leave it as is.

016.jpg 016dl.jpg Image 14.jpg Image 15.jpg IMG_0334.jpg Movement.jpg
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Funny you should mention Dutton. Here is one of his products done up the same way. By the way, I had overlooked your ogee from 2011. I really like it too. Thanks for the link. I always learn from what you share!

The fancy gold leaf version is perhaps the rarest of the rare, it is of course a seatboard groaner of Boardman ilk I think. There are very few of those to be found out and about. I have 4 or 5 of the Ives seatboard groaners and none of the Boardman making. So, the subject clock in this thread is perhaps slightly later than this fancy gold leaf version. I will go out on a limb and suggest they didn't descend in the same house? I underbid the gold leaf clock some years ago and have not forgiven myself on that point. The last photo is that of the Ives version seatboard groaner, with roller pinions. Included for purposes of comparison. And just to keep us all confused there are at least 4 versions of those.

And RM, complete agreement on the case of the subject clock being quite atypical. The boss says it is too grungy to come in the house, but I will sneak it in anyhow. And I will leave it as is.

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What wonderful stuff. Basically, the finest the country maker had to offer!

When the modern collector thinks of country furniture, meaning made outside of a major population center, they think of it as somewhat crude in flawed paint (unfortunately, often done on purpose to look that way to the buyer). Much of it was very utilitarian. But much of the furniture, clocks, etc., could be quite elegant and pleasing.

Note how the mirror door of the Dutton in this post is of the same basic configuration and extends up past the top to conceal the bell and hammer, in that case, for the alarm. Same idea as your clock.

RM
 

Jerome collector

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The backboard is interesting. The marks in the case back appear to be unfinished pit saw blade marks. The one closer photo shows the remaining fuzz from then the blade direction reversed. I have never seen a backboard quite a crude as this one. And there are nail holes for a sheet metal shield over the hammer and hammer slot, like the groaner seatboard reeded pictured with the shield. But, it missing now.
Jim,

As I was writing my original reply earlier this week, I was sitting here trying to come up with name of the saw. What I was looking for was rip or pit saw (as you've pointed out), but for the life of me the only thing that would come to mind was "crosscut". Sigh... Somedays the neurons in my brain don't fire as quickly as others.

I agree that the backboard is uncharacteristically crude. Do we know whether Boardman made his own cases, or did he get them in trade for his movements? As prolific as he was at supplying the trade with movements, it would seem he could have gotten all of the cases he needed as payment for his movements.

Mike
 

Jim DuBois

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Mike,
I have looked at a lot of clocks from about 1814-1835, always in search of a case builder. The name Jerome comes up on several occasions.

Here is what Mr. Roberts offers on the subject, at least in part;
The same size and style of cases, having scroll tops and reeded columns with a carved
acanthus at the top of each side of the door frame, are also extant with various labels of firms in
which Chauncey Jerome was a partner, as well as Orrin Hart and George Mitchell. The earliest of
these, c.1824, were offered with a "groaner" wooden movement, probably made by Chauncey
Boardman. The design of this shelf clock movement, initially mounted on a seat board, was a
modification by Boardman of his thirty -hour pull-up tall clock movement. This type of
movement, with overhead striking, is shown in Fig. 15. However, the earliest of these clocks had
a printed label "Jerome, Darrow & Co., " while the clock in Fig. 15, made c.1 827, has the label
"Jerome, Thompson & Co." The last of these Jerome clocks had a similar movement with the
label "Jeromes & Darrow," c.1828. All of these "groaner" movements used by these three Jerome
firms had the escapement and verge between the plates, thus differing considerably from the
Terry patent. It is possible that all of these cases used by these Jerome firms, as well as those for
Merriman, Birge & Co. and Ives & Lewis, were made by Chauncey Jerome. Chauncey Jerome came to Bristol in 1821."

Nobel Jerome was working for Joseph Ives in 1816, but we don't know precisely what he was doing that early.

In 1823 he (Elisha Manross) was assessed as a wheelwright. That year Thomas Barnes, Jr. (proprietor of the late Joseph Ives
& Co.), Chauncey Boardman, and Ives & Lewis (Chauncey Ives and Sheldon Lewis) were the only
clockmakers on this listing, Chauncey Jerome being assessed as a cabinetmaker.

It is interesting to note that the same cases bearing the names of Ives and Lewis, Merriman and Lewis, Ives and Merriman, and one with a Birge and Merriman (IIRC) all have roller pinion seatboard groaner movements by Joseph Ives. The cases all came from the same hands and it seems as if Roberts links to the work of Chauncy Jerome is likely.

Regards the backboard, I don't recall ever seeing any completely un-plane(ed)like this one is. Also, the chamfered edges are not common for backboards circa 1820-1830 in my experience. From the marks left on the board from the saw, it looks like the cut was advancing 5/8"+ per stroke of the saw. I would guess that to be a water-powered pit saw as I am not certain a team of two men could power a saw to cut that depth of cut in a log of 20"+/- in width. Having watched the saw at Sturbridge in years past it could certainly do such a cut I think.

water_updown_saw.jpg ianab_kauri_museum_sawmill.jpg
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Mike,
I have looked at a lot of clocks from about 1814-1835, always in search of a case builder. The name Jerome comes up on several occasions.

Here is what Mr. Roberts offers on the subject, at least in part;
The same size and style of cases, having scroll tops and reeded columns with a carved
acanthus at the top of each side of the door frame, are also extant with various labels of firms in
which Chauncey Jerome was a partner, as well as Orrin Hart and George Mitchell. The earliest of
these, c.1824, were offered with a "groaner" wooden movement, probably made by Chauncey
Boardman. The design of this shelf clock movement, initially mounted on a seat board, was a
modification by Boardman of his thirty -hour pull-up tall clock movement. This type of
movement, with overhead striking, is shown in Fig. 15. However, the earliest of these clocks had
a printed label "Jerome, Darrow & Co., " while the clock in Fig. 15, made c.1 827, has the label
"Jerome, Thompson & Co." The last of these Jerome clocks had a similar movement with the
label "Jeromes & Darrow," c.1828. All of these "groaner" movements used by these three Jerome
firms had the escapement and verge between the plates, thus differing considerably from the
Terry patent. It is possible that all of these cases used by these Jerome firms, as well as those for
Merriman, Birge & Co. and Ives & Lewis, were made by Chauncey Jerome. Chauncey Jerome came to Bristol in 1821."

Nobel Jerome was working for Joseph Ives in 1816, but we don't know precisely what he was doing that early.

In 1823 he (Elisha Manross) was assessed as a wheelwright. That year Thomas Barnes, Jr. (proprietor of the late Joseph Ives
& Co.), Chauncey Boardman, and Ives & Lewis (Chauncey Ives and Sheldon Lewis) were the only
clockmakers on this listing, Chauncey Jerome being assessed as a cabinetmaker.

It is interesting to note that the same cases bearing the names of Ives and Lewis, Merriman and Lewis, Ives and Merriman, and one with a Birge and Merriman (IIRC) all have roller pinion seatboard groaner movements by Joseph Ives. The cases all came from the same hands and it seems as if Roberts links to the work of Chauncy Jerome is likely.

Regards the backboard, I don't recall ever seeing any completely un-plane(ed)like this one is. Also, the chamfered edges are not common for backboards circa 1820-1830 in my experience. From the marks left on the board from the saw, it looks like the cut was advancing 5/8"+ per stroke of the saw. I would guess that to be a water-powered pit saw as I am not certain a team of two men could power a saw to cut that depth of cut in a log of 20"+/- in width. Having watched the saw at Sturbridge in years past it could certainly do such a cut I think.

View attachment 644885 View attachment 644886
My Simeon Crittendon P&S has a very crude backboard but it is hand planed.

I have to admit I haven't seen a back board that crude even on country furniture. I have seen chamfered panels and back boards on some country furniture, but most times, there was some effort made to hand plane out the roughness.

That said, most cabinet makers in those days, especially if they were busy and struggling to keep up with orders, spent time only on what the customer would see. This is true not just of country makers, but the big city shops as well. The classic example cited is the wonderful fully carved ball and claw feet on the front of a case piece with a much more rudimentary one for the back. Furthermore, the carver would omit the talon from the side of the back foot that abutted the baseboard or wall! Why bother, no one was going to see it. Some of the interior work on those pieces is sufficient and workman like with the time spent on the exterior, what the customer saw.

Well, this clock was going to hang on a wall. No one was going to see the back. Maybe someone just took a short cut to fit up the back by chamfering and well, skip the planning?

RM
 

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