Housed in a distinctively American case, this shelf clock illustrates the talents of Newburyport, Massachusetts clockmaker David Wood (1766-1855) and an unidentified cabinetmaker working in the region. Clocks with similar cases almost certainly made by the same craftsman include those with dials signed by Daniel Balch, Jr. (1761-1835), also of Newburyport, and William Fitz (1770-1827) of Portsmouth, New Hampshire (see Charles F. Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period (New York, 1966), p. 211, fig. 168; Philip Zea and Robert C. Cheney, Clock Making in New England, 1725-1825 (Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts, 1992), p. 89, pl. 20; Israel Sack, Inc., American Antiques from Israel Sack, Inc., vol. 8 (Washington D.C., 1986), p. 2363, P3487; Albert Sack, The Fine Points of Furniture, Early American (New York, 1950), p. 131).
One of the era's most prolific clockmakers, David Wood was born in Newburyport and is thought to have trained under Daniel Balch, Sr. (1735-1790) or possibly Jonathan Mulliken (1746-1782). First established in 1792, his shop was variously located in Market Square or on State Street until 1830, when his shop moved to a rented lot on Merrimack Street. Wood remained in Newburyport until 1848 when, two years after his wife's death, he moved to live with his son in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he died in 1855 (see Martha H. Willoughby, "Biographies of Clockmakers," in Timeless: American Masterpiece Brass Dial Clocks, Frank L. Hohmann III, ed. (New York, 2009), p. 364; Paul J. Foley, Willard's Patent Time Pieces: A History of the Weight-Driven Banjo Clock 1800-1900 (Norwell, Massachusetts, 2002), pp. 337-338; Zea and Cheney, pp. 97-98).