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Sawin and Dyar Banjo

Raymond Rice

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Feb 14, 2011
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I acquired another clock at last weeks auction, a Sawin and Dyar banjo. I hadn't intended to buy this one, but when the auctioneer ran out of bids, I couldn't resist.
It appears to be mostly original, with the exception of the missing sidearms. (Personally, I prefer it without the sidearms.) The painted iron dial is held in place with "hooks" rather than screws and is labeled "Sawin and Dyar, Boston". I'm not sure about the originality of the throat glass or the tablet, but they have been in place for a long time. The door latch for the tablet appears to be intended to operate with the winding crank, rather than a simple knob. The case is mahogany and unfortunately someone touched up the gilding with gold paint. When I was cleaning the works I noticed what appear to be extraneous holes in the backplate. The iron weight has a lead "keystone" to attach the hook for the pulley. When I reassembled the clock, the reason for the holes became obvious -there are tiny alignment pins imbedded in the case to align the movement. It seems to be a very strong runner. Now the question of where to hang it?
My wife is out of town at the moment, therefore, I'm empowered to make command decisions regarding placement / replacement of clocks on the premises. If, upon her return, she notices anything amiss, I'll just say "Oh thats been hanging there for years."
Ray Rice

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George Nelson

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Oct 5, 2007
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Hi, Raymond,

Well, what a WONDERFUL clock! I am currently in a "wood movement phase" right now, but have wanted a genuine old banjo for years now. They have such a history!

I had a very good laugh at your comment "Oh, that's been hanging there for years." More than once, I've tried that, but sadly, with little success. When bringing a new clock into the house, I do not let it chime or strike for a while in order not to bring too much attention to it. When my wife does finally notice the new addition, I have, as I said, used the "hanging forever" attempt. I always get the dreaded 'face' that all husbands know much too well. I also will get the occasional comment about the place being like a clock museum. Actually, my wife is a genuine treasure, and she puts up with my 1000 clocks as graciously as can be expected.;)

Best to all,

George Nelson
 

Andy Dervan

Gibbs Literary Award
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Oct 23, 2002
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Hello George,

Sawin & Dyar were in business 1822 - 1827.. I believe the dial signature is original based upon example from Paul A. Foley's book; the ear mount for movement are a typical signature for John Sawin's shop.

The throat tablet appears original, however the tablet glass is a later replacement as its white background color does not match the throat; tablet glass are more easily broken so it not unusual to have original throat glass and replaced tablet glass.

It is a nice acquisition and good Improved Timepiece example.

Andy Dervan
 

George Nelson

NAWCC Member
Deceased
Oct 5, 2007
931
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18
Tennessee
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Region
Andy,

Thanks for the additional information. It is indeed a wonderful clock, and it is great to have an original dial signature! Although the tablet glass replacement is not an exact match due to color, it is still a spectacular job. I'm glad you were able to add it to your collection. :clap:

Best,

George Nelson
 

Raymond Rice

NAWCC Member
Feb 14, 2011
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Hi, Andy, thank you for your comments. I agree with you on the tablets -- the lower tablet is old, but certainly not original. This morning I ordered Foley's book (from the Willard house museum--they seem to have the best price). Books are another of my many vices.
Ray Rice
 

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