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Pillar-and-scroll clock

Plymouth, Connecticut



Seth Thomas (1785-1859)


30 in x 17-1/4 in x 4-3/8 in (including finials)


Mahogany* (case), maple (veneers); red oak* (middle backboard), tulip poplar (backboards and interior fit-out), white pine* (glue blocks), cherry (movement), brass (finials, some movement parts), glass

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, The David Wilson Mansion, Inc.

Accession Number



“Patent Clocks, / Made and sold by / SETH THOMAS; / And warranted if well used. / DIRECTIONS / For setting up and regulating said clocks. [detailed directions] / Plymouth, Connecticut.” is printed on a paper label pasted onto the inside of the backboard.

Condition Notes

The reverse-painting-on-glass in the lower panel of the case door is delaminating in many places.  The scrolled end of the left pediment scroll split along a grain line and has been glued.


Bequest of Dr. and Mrs. J. Newberry Reynolds to The David Wilson Mansion, Inc. in 1942.


Pillar-and-scroll shelf clocks, so named for the scrolled pediment and colonnettes at each front corner of the case, were inexpensive, accurate, and stylish.  This example features figured maple veneers, book-matched and figured mahogany boards in the pediment, an ivory key escutcheon, a chime, and a reverse-painting-on-glass scene of an exotic Chinese temple landscape. 

The thirty-hour wood movement (cherry wheels and a single brass escape wheel) was patented by Eli Terry (1772-1852) in 1816 and licensed to Seth Thomas in 1818.  Thomas had worked for Terry since 1807.  Part of the redesign of these early clock movements included a short (9.8 inch, half-second) off-center pendulum; the pendulum bob may be seen through the off-center aperture in the painted glass panel.