TALL CASE CLOCK
New Garden, Pennsylvania
Brass dial 8-day time and strike movement, minute and second hands, calendar dial
A fine tall case clock by one of Chester County’s premier clockmakers. The brass dial is inscribed: “Isc. Jackson Newgar”. Isaac Jackson is known for his excellent craftsmanship with many of his movements still keeping accurate time today. The inventory of his tools at the time of his death suggests he made his own movements and is remembered by his grandson as: “exceedingly skillful and ingenious, as an artisan, and made himself, the greater part of his tools and implements he needed.” In addition, he was also the case maker for his clocks, using walnut to construct cases of a design with little ornamentation that reflected the simple Quaker aesthetic of himself and his clients. His cabinet work as a whole presents a great degree of uniformity, with a fine sense of balance and proportion.
Jackson began his career as an apprentice to John Wood, Sr. of Philadelphia and served as a journeyman under Benjamin Chandlee, Jr. of Nottingham in the early 1750’s. In 1757 he returned home to London Grove and continued clockmaking there and after receiving a 200 acre farm in New Garden by his father in 1762. Between 1774 and 1778 clockmaker Elisha Kirk apprenticed under and became a partner to Isaac Jackson.
Most Jackson faces have the motto Time Passeth Swiftly Away engraved on disks located in the spandrels. One, in the Chester County Historical Society collection has a Bible verse engraved on the dial.
In addition to clockmaking and farming, as a Quaker, Isaac Jackson was an active abolitionist. Living as he did near the Maryland state line, he was often called upon when free African Americans were captured on false pretenses. His efforts in many cases were effective, and many secured their freedom. His home was, for many years, a refuge for those who were escaping from slavery. He labored to convince the Yearly Meeting of Friends in Philadelphia to take steps for the emancipation of all slaves held by members of the Society and personally visited the owners of more than eleven hundred slaves.
Condition: Sarcophagus and finials replaced. Escutcheon replaced. Dial resilvered. Original hinges repaired.