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Banjo Clock

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Maison Auction Gallery
Antiques and the Arts Online, CT - Mar 7, 2007
... Thomas crystal reg brass & glass clock w/painter; deal; great Sevres French china clock w/Boston jeweler name on face; New Haven miniature banjo clock; ...

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The banjo clock, or more properly the banjo timepiece, is an American wall clock with a banjo-shaped case. It was invented by Simon Willard, originally of Grafton, Massachusetts, later of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and patented in 1802. The banjo timepiece is so named because it normally lacks a striking mechanism, an essential feature of a true clock, and indicates time only by its hands and dial.

The banjo style of wooden case usually features a round opening for a painted dial, a long-waisted throat, and a rectangular pendulum box with hinged door. Both the throat and door are ornamented with reverse-painted (verre églomisé) glass panels, and the case is usually flanked by curved and pierced brass frets. A finial mounted atop the case usually takes the form of a cast-brass eagle or a turned, giltwood acorn.

Only 4,000 authentic Simond Willard banjo clocks were made. The style was widely copied by other members of the Willard family of clockmakers and many others clockmakers, both craftsmen and industrial manufacturers. Variants of the banjo-style clock made by others include examples with square or diamond-shaped dials, and the extremely opulent, heavily gilt "girandole" style.

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