Edward L. Grueby Presentation Banjo
Height 42”, ca. 1834-1846.
Edward L. Grueby was born in Portland, Maine and likely learned the clockmaking craft in the area. He started making clocks around 1834 and his shop was on Court Street. He moved to the Boston area in 1850. Little is known about Edward Grueby during the Portland years as he did not do much advertising, but he was known to make fine quality wooden case banjo and lyre clocks.
This is a beautiful example of a presentation banjo clock. The term “banjo” generally refers to the overall shape of the case, and “presentation” banjos are more ornate and finely finished. This clock has gold gilding on the front, beaded trim decorations, a 5” brass finial at top, and brass side decorations. The fancy gold gilded base is old but not original to the clock.
The 7 3/4” painted dial has roman numerals and is signed “Edward L Grueby, Portland”. Signed dials are very rare on early banjo clocks, and this one appears to be original. The two original reverse painted glass tablets are spectacular; with matching geometric and paisley patterns, dark green and rose shading, and gold leaf detailing.
The 8-day time-only piano-shaped movement is very unusual and rare, likely made by Samuel Abbot. A plain brass pendulum hangs from a metal rod, and a curved hand-made brass beat scale is mounted on a metal panel between the pendulum and the hanging weight.
Per NAWCC Supplement #17, four of his clocks are known to exist.