This “triple decker” 8-day mantel clock was made by Birge, Gilbert & Co. in Bristol, Connecticut around 1837.  It belonged originally to Lloyd and Hannah Fawcett Green of Colesville, and descended through their daughter Lydia Green Davis to Lydia’s daughter, the donor, Julia Victoria Davis Shaw McCeney (born 1887, in Colesville).   

The clock has a wood face, black glass in the middle and lower sections (possibly later replacements), and a paper label inside proclaiming its manufacture by Birge, Gilbert & Co.  John Birge joined the firm in 1837.  The company started by William Lewis Gilbert in 1828 had a variety of partners over the years, many of whom appeared in the company name, so the “Birge, Gilbert” label gives this clock a pretty solid date of 1837 or shortly thereafter.  Triple deckers are substantial clocks, and this one has the added decorative touches of animal feet, an eagle crest, and some gilt touches on the face and on the mahogany case.  It was donated in 1949, and according to the  description in the Society’s monthly meeting minutes it was being “restored” – this leads me to wonder if the black glass, so very plain, is a mid 20th century replacement for original reverse-painted glass, which is what one commonly finds in these clocks.  Oh well.   We have several other clocks with reverse-painting to make me happy.

Mrs. McCeney provided a thorough history of her family, and the Colesville neighborhood they lived in, along with the clock.  She concluded by noting that her mother, she herself, and her son all learned to tell time with this clock.  I like this touch; many of our donors (and, to be fair, the Society itself) in the early years were far more concerned with their artifacts’ association with national themes and personages (e.g., “Governor Carroll used this dish” from last week) than with the personal, local story.

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