This grandfather clock is destined to be here! Since it first arrived here 195 years ago, this clock has been owned by 5 generations of 3 different families! It’s been sold twice and later returned to the house both times.
Whose Clock Is It Anyway?
This lovely tall case clock originally belonged to the Johnson family (family that built this house and lived here until 1941). The clock was made in 1824 in Ireland, and we believe the Johnsons were its original owners.
The last member of the Johnson family to own the house, Dr. William Norton Johnson, had major money troubles during the 1920s and 1930s. He sold off some of his possessions to close friends to help bring in some cash.
According to an informational packet provided to former museum tour guides, Dr. Johnson sold his tall case clock to Dr. Horace James Williams, who also lived in Germantown.
When Dr. Williams passed away, his son inherited the clock. When the son passed away, he left the clock to The Upsala Foundation in memory of his father. The clock was placed in the first floor hallway, and was mentioned in museum tours.
After the museum closed to the public, the clock remained in the house with the rest of the collection while Cliveden and the National Trust for Historic Preservation debated what to do with the property. Sometime prior to the sale of the house, the entire collection was brought to Cliveden.
Cliveden was tasked with the extraordinarily tedious task of determining the origin of every single item in the collection. The items that met certain eligibility criteria were officially deaccessioned and sent to auction at the beginning of 2018.
We attended these auctions and purchased as many items as possible! One of the items we were able to purchase was this clock! So, in January 2018, the clock returned once again to Upsala.
We weren’t sure if the clock worked when we purchased it, so when we got it home, we were so pleased to find out that it does! It works perfectly! Unfortunately, it is super loud, so we never wind it.
We posted about the clock on Instagram a while back, and one of our followers pointed out some inconsistencies between the design of the case (where the pendulums are) and the hood (the wood/glass piece around the clock face). Due to the intricacy of the carvings and the type of feet, we believe the case was replaced at some point in the early 1900s. The hood appears to be original, and the design is consistent with the age of the clock.
Check out the rest of the pictures/videos below!
Show Me the Clock!
What’s your favorite part of the clock? Let us know in the comments section below!