Rundlet-May House

Girandole Wall Clock

In 1802, Simon Willard was granted a patent for “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces,” and the Roxbury, Massachusetts clock maker soon influenced others, such as Lemuel Curtis who opened his clock shop in Concord, Massachusetts. Lemuel Curtis made this gilded clock, or time piece, c. 1816, named “girandole” for the convex glass at the base. An eagle perched on the top of the timepiece is meant to underscore the new American identity. The clock not only tells the time, but also has a thermometer that reads the temperature from “Extra Cold” to “Water Boils.” Reverse-painted glass decoration highlights the base with a nationalistic historical-meets-mythological scene depicting the goddess Minerva, to symbolize wisdom and the arts. During the Federal era America sought to define an “American-ness” to art and architecture in the period after the Revolution and well into the nineteenth century.