Aaron Willard was a primary member of the most famous family of early American clockmakers. Born in Grafton, Massachusetts in 1757, he trained as a clockmaker under his older brother’s Benjamin and Simon Willard. Aaron and Simon, journeyed to Boston to participate in the Revolution and returned after the war to establish their business. Aaron enjoyed a prolific career producing a variety of fine clocks until his death at 87 in 1844.
The enterprising Aaron Willard established a bustling workshop, which at its height employed each of the artisans required to produce a clock. Within his shop or compound worked clockmakers, cabinetmakers, ornamental painters and ironmongers to cast metal. The result was a large volume of the finest clocks in the region.
The quality and style of his tall clock cases were so superior, that they came to define a form, “The Roxbury Case”. Recognized by collectors then and now for their high level of craftsmanship and fine proportions, they became the measure of the form.
His shop also produced many Massachusetts shelf clocks with both wooden fronts and kidney shaped dials, as well as a dish dial clocks with reverse painted glass panels. Aaron also produced a great many of his brother’s patent timepieces or banjo clocks. Aaron Willard and his brother Simon Willard are synonymous with the finest early American antique clocks.
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