Daniel Oyster, Reading
The “high style” of the American Federal Period took many forms throughout the craft centers of the Northeast. It might surprise you to learn that some of the most interesting and magnificent forms emerged from the workshops of Reading PA. This particular example is often referred to as the “Sunburst Pediment” tall case clock and it is a product unique to Reading and from the skilled hands of Henry Quast and Daniel Rhein. The attribution is based upon the example signed & dated 1809 by Daniel Rhein/Henry Quast now in the Berks County Historical Society and formerly in the collection of John J. Snyder. It is documened on page 71 of Machmer’s “Berks County Tall Case Clocks 1750 – 1850.” The case stands at a monumental 109 1/2 inches tall and with a maximum width of 18 inches and a depth of 10 3/4 inches. The painted dial is imported from the Owen foundry in England and likely sourced from the jobbers in Philadelphia. Overall the dial measures 13 X 18 inches with a 10 1/2 inch time track and 1 1/4 inch numerals. The dial is unrestored and retains a wonderful original signature by Daniel Oyster. Oyster was a prolific clockmaker at work in Reading C. 1792 – 1805. He married Catherina Rose in 1792 and was the son-in-law of Reading’s most famous clockmaker Daniel Rose. This is a wonderful example of a rare form executed in Walnut with satinwood, tiger maple and Mahogany inlay. Note the photo that documents the undisturbed base ! Hard to imagine a 200 year old tall clock where the weights have not gone through the bottom board.