American J.H. Bellamy & Co.

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Oct 26, 2019.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    To reiterate a bit.

    John Haley Bellamy was a carver from Kittery, ME. He started doing carvings, e.g., figure heads, stern boards, etc. for ships. When that trade declined, he made a variety of other carved objects. He is best know for his eagles, frames and brackets (wall shelves).

    Bellamy in partnership with Titcomb in Charlestown, MA, also produced shelf clocks with carved fronts. The fronts bear carvings most often of Masonic symbols, but those with symbols of the Knights Templar and Odd Fellows are known too. The clocks were labeled (when it is present) by E.N. Welch and have Welch works.

    Examples of the Masonic clocks may be found on the MB. See:

    Bellamy Carved Masonic Timepiece?

    and

    More Americana from John Haley Bellamy...

    These threads mention additional reading about Bellamy. The refences cited include more examples of his Masonic and Odd Fellow clocks and a link to an on-line Masonic museum with additional examples.

    One reference is Craig, "American Eagle: The Bold and Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy". See pages 53-61 and the figures therein.

    According to Craig, Bellamy set up another business separate from Titcomb. It was a short lived venture in Boston called J.H. Bellamy and Co. On page 61, the author states that other offerings included were clocks bearing the carved iconography from other fraternal organizations. Craig also reports what he calls an "intriguing" creation that may have come from that firm, the,

    "'Papal Clock,' a design that was encrusted with emblems and heraldic devices of the Catholic Papacy..Designed to court the interest of America's growing Catholic populace..."

    This would have been especially the case in the Boston area where many Irish Catholics settled after the mid-19th Century (like one family, the Kennedy's) and would rise to prominence.

    Craig also states that "no examples of this clock are known to have survived, leaving nothing more than a handbill to gain an idea of their appearance".

    See the cited page in that reference for text of said handbill with the clock's description.

    Well, I am happy to report what I believe is so far the sole reported surviving example of a Bellamy Papal Clock. This clock does not exactly match the description of the carvings in the handbill but is close.

    bellamy papal 4.JPG

    Like Bellamy's Masonic clocks, it is walnut. Carvings are similar.

    bellamy papal 3.JPG

    A detail described in the description.

    The back of the Papal Crown shows the remains of a paper label with 2 printed letters remaining:

    bellamy papal 2.JPG

    Probably for J.H. Bellamy and Co?

    Here's the back board and movement:

    bellamy papal 8.JPG

    A brass steel spring 30 hour time and strike movement signed by E.N. Welch with an 1870 patent date. The label is a light yellow.

    SO, I believe one still exists.

    Something superfluous but related. I'm a bit stumped by it and I hope that folks might give me more info. It's a lodge or fraternal order ballot box:

    acadian ballot 1.JPG acadnian ballot 3.JPG acadian ballot 5.JPG

    Great surface and wonderful hand painted decorations and pin striping. Has a felt lined draw to retrieve the balls.

    What intrigued me were the well painted flags.
    acadian ballot 2.JPG

    Clearly a 40 star (c. 1886?) American flag. The other is the Canadian Acadian flag which was adopted by Acadian Canadians in 1884. I'm not going to go into the whole history, but there are many Acadians in America, from ME, NH, throughout the Midwest and of course, Louisiana. I assume the box was used by some Acadian American fraternal or benevolent society?? I don't know if the star well rendered in paint on the sides of the box is the Star of Mary OR given it's orientation, the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star, an appendant group of the Masons and thus from one of their Acadian American lodges?

    Info appreciated!

    RM
     
  2. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    One little tidbit I forgot to post.

    The bottom board of the clock has a graphite sketch of a detail from another piece:

    bellamy papal 1.JPG

    Again according to Craig, Bellamy is known to have done this sort of thing. In his book (don't have it handy so cannot provide page right now), he shows a back board from one of his frames with similar. And, waste not, want not?

    RM
     
  3. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    That Papal clock is a fantastic find RM!

    Don't you love it when a Unicorn shows up and says "hey take me home"? Wherever did you stumble on it? Bob
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thank you.

    Love them unicorns!

    It was offered very publicly on eBay (the source of my 2 Bellamy Masonic clocks as well).

    Knowledge is power. I knew what I was looking.

    There are still opportunities out there.

    RM
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Was doing a bit more research. The Farnsworth Museum in ME has a collection of Bellamy's paper patterns including this one:

    Papal Clock pattern

    Here's the money shot:

    papal clock pattern.PNG

    No, not identical to my clock, but it does include many of the same motifs. There were different versions of the Masonic clock. I suggest that different versions of the Papal clock might have been contemplated or even produced.

    Also sort of contradicts the assertion in Craig that these clocks were known only from a handbill. That said, it undeniably shares a number of details described in the reported handbill. Though some of the detail is a bit hard to discern in the photo of the pattern, to my eye it also deviates from those described in the handbill.

    RM
     
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  6. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    RM,

    I don't know much of anything about these clocks but find this thread very interesting. Any idea how large of an operation Bellamy ran? I always find production numbers and survivability interesting. Bob
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks.

    Don't know the exact numbers.

    Bellamy was pretty prolific. But to borrow the line about the Willards, of the hundreds of eagles and other carvings Bellamy created, thousands survive:rolleyes:

    The Titcomb and Bellamy collaboration must have been pretty prolific, too. Attributable frames, wall brackets (shelves) and so on seem to be encountered with some regularity though I guess I would consider them far from common. Of the clocks, the most often encountered are the Masonic ones, with fewer of the Odd Fellows, Knights Templar. They all have E.N. Welch movements and labels so they must have been made for them. It would be interesting to see if there are any old surviving Welch records to suggest #'s. By the way, there is a faked small Masonic clock out there with a too late Welch movement and a back made from old tin (which once lined draws of an old stand so perfect patina). The front was real. Sold for big $$$ at a major August NH antiques show some years ago. Caveat emptor.

    J.H. Bellamy and Co. I suspect had a rather small output. According to Craig's book, it was rather short lived.

    RM
     
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