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Clock, Tall Case
by Thomas Voigt (clock movement purchased from John Child)
Wood, mahogany veneer, metal, glass, paint, 1816
Overall measurement
      Height: 132 inches  (335.28 cm)
      Width:  38.25 inches  (97.16 cm)
      Depth: 13.25 inches  (33.65 cm)
Inscription (on front of clock face, hand painted in black): THO.s VOIGT. / PHILADELPHIA; (maker's mark stamped on brass movement part) J.CHILD. [left] / PHILA. [right]; and (engraved on brass movement part) 1816 / Matthews 1816 Maker
Cat. no. 54.00001.000
 
 
 
 
 

On December 27, 1815, Senator David Daggett (CT) wrote to Philadelphia clockmaker Thomas Voigt to order a tall case clock for the Senate Chamber. "It is impossible that I should describe technically the clock which we wish. It is designed to place it over the chair of the President [of the Senate] or on the gallery in front and of course it should be of the kind you mention. The dial to be about two feet in diameter, an hour, minute and second hand, a Spread Eagle on the top and the United States arms at foot. We wish it good and handsome and expect to pay accordingly."[1]

The Capitol was then under construction, following its burning by the British during the War of 1812. When the clock arrived at the Port of Georgetown in 1817, it was transferred to the temporary "Old Brick Capitol," where it kept time until it was moved to the newly restored Senate Chamber in 1819. It has been a working Senate timepiece ever since. When the Senate moved to the Capitol extension in 1859, the clock was placed in its current location facing the main entrance to the new chamber. Here it has remained, keeping excellent time and serving as a landmark for the Senate.


1. Original letter in the Collection of the U.S. Senate Commission on Art, catalogue no. 11.00007.

 
 
 
  

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