Riley Whiting was an established clock maker in the early 1800s in Winchester, CT. He made tall case clocks using wooden gears under his own name starting in 1819. Because most clock mechanisms were delivered to the customer by a salesman on horseback, the buyer got only the face and works and was expected to have a local carpenter make the case for the clock. Many did what you see here; that is, make a case to keep dust and dirt out of the works, but make a shelf to hang the clock on the wall rather than built a long case that includes the pendulum too. These were called “wag-on-wall” clocks.

We have mounted the clock case above the clock so visitors can look from either side and see the wooden gears in action. This weight-driven pendulum clock needs winding daily, as it is a “30-hour” clock. A second weight powers the chime mechanism that rings a brass bell on the hour or at shorter intervals. Despite its age, the face of this clock still features the original hand painting, which is in very good condition. There are no broken teeth on the cherry wood gears, and the clock functions properly when mounted perfectly level.

Exhibit added: April 6, 2011 - Last modified: May 26, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship