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Joshua Wilder [1786-1860] was an important and innovative clockmaker working in the southeastern Massachusetts town of Hingham. Wilder apprenticed to John Bailey II and became a leading member of the renowned and influential group of Quaker clockmakers from the Hingham and Hanover area.
Wilder produced tall clocks, banjo clocks and shelf clocks, but is most famous for his rare dwarf clocks. These scaled down versions of a tall case clock were an affordable alternative that was popularized in this region.
The bulk of American dwarf clocks were produced in Plymouth County by the Bailey family of clockmakers or by the apprentices they trained like Wilder. Our research indicates that Wilder is responsible for the greatest share of these, producing approximately two thirds of all known examples. The dwarf clock cases from Wilder appear in basically three forms and were mostly produced by Weymouth cabinetmaker Abiel White. Wilder and White enjoyed a lengthy and successful relationship through the first quarter of the 19th century. These rare clocks are now prized by serious collectors.
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