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American Decorative Arts
Maker: Eli Terry, American, 1772–1852

Shelf Clock


Mahogany, yellow poplar, cherry, and white oak

28 7/8 × 16 7/8 × 4 1/8 in. (73.3 × 42.9 × 10.5 cm) other (Dial): 11 1/4 × 13 in.(28.6 × 33 cm) other (Movement): 6 1/4 × 7 1/2 × 1 13/16 in.(15.9 × 19 × 4.6 cm)
Bequest of Olive Louise Dann
Eli Terry revolutionized the clockmaking industry, beginning in 1816 when he acquired a patent for a shelf clock with a wooden movement. These small clocks, the manufacture of which was adapted to techniques of mass production, opened a lucrative new era in the clock industry.
Made in Plymouth, Connecticut
On view
19th century

Paul N. and Olive L. Dann, New Haven, Conn. Gift in 1962 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Edwin A. Battison and Patricia E. Kane, The American Clock, 1725–1865: The Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1973), 186–189, no. 43, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 93, ill.

Rita Quinton, “Jagged Lines,” Letting Go: Living without a Net 11 (2004): 118–122, ill.

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 258, no. 148, ill.

David Jaffee, A New Nation of Goods: The Material Culture of Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 148, fig. 48.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.