Unsigned Shelf Banjo - daleandtamra

Unsigned Shelf Banjo

These are called banjo clocks because of the shape of the case. Almost all are wall hanging but this was a shelf clock. A rare find.

Mahogany case is a lyre design with round head, front wood carvings, and a bottom box. Holes on each side covered with fabric for sound. Throat panel is wood and easily removed. Lower door is wood with inlay and groves, held shut with a large brass hook. Glass opening showing the pendulum. Sprung metal catch for holding the top brass door shut is missing. Top brass finial with metal peg fits snugly into a hole at the top of the case. 37 3/8" high to top of finial. Normally the case bottom is destroyed by the weights, but not this time. 

Early 8-day time and strike movement powered by two weights. Bell mounted inside and above the movement. Heavy painted metal dial. Brass pendulum bob on a steel rod.

Unable to find a makers mark, signature or label anywhere. Faint writing (maybe wax) on the inside of the lower door, "RPK 071 4/4/82".

We usually look for clocks that are all original and complete. But we made an exception for this one as we may never see another one. A sister clock is documented in the "American Banjo Clocks" reference book by Petrucelli & Sposato, figure 207. They don't say who the maker was, but it is circa 1830 and made in NY.

What is not right? The wood above the dial was repaired at some point and is unimpressive compared to the book clock. I plan to get it restored properly. Crudely made hands are newer. And someone added a wall hanging hook, I don't mind as it was well done.

Additional photos below.

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