Eight-Day Tall Case Clock with Musical Movement

Movement by Daniel Burnap American
Case possible by the workshop of Eliphalet Chapin American
or case by Simeon Loomis

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 723

This tall clock by Daniel Burnap possesses a musical that plays one of six tunes every three hours after the hour is struck on a large chime bell. The brass clock dial is expertly engraved with rococo style script, scrolls, and raffles. The case maintains period features such as neoclassical pilasters, a pagoda pediment with a pierced fret, and gold-painted flame finials indicative of popular eighteenth century tastes in the Connecticut River Valley. Daniel Burnap operated as a clockmaker, watch repairer, instrument maker, silversmith, and brass founder near Bissell’s Tavern in East Windsor, Connecticut. The musical brass movement bears Burnap’s signature traits, most notably the count-wheel strike system and dead-beat escapement. These features may be linked to Burnap’s time working under English-trained, master clockmaker Thomas Harland (1735–1807) who migrated from London in 1773 and introduced English traditions of clock production to the Connecticut River Valley. By the time the clock was made, most clockmakers had moved away from using the count-wheel system of striking in favor of a rack and snail system however Harland and Burnap continued to employ them. Burnap trained at least eleven apprentices including Eli Terry who developed the popular shelf clock with a wooden movement that dominated the American consumer market in the nineteenth century.

Eight-Day Tall Case Clock with Musical Movement, Movement by Daniel Burnap (American, 1759–1838), Cherry, pine, brass, glass, American

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Image courtesy Gary R. Sullivan Antiques