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John Esterle (also spelled Esterlie) (1778-?) was born in Klingerstown, PA. He was the son of Jacob and Rosina (Ried) Esterle. He began his clock making career in Lebanon where he married Magdalena Merck.
It is estimated that Esterle built around 200 clocks during his career. He moved to Maytown, Lancaster County where in 1813 he was listed on the tax rolls. In 1818 he moved to New Holland, PA where there are several known clocks attributed to him including one eight day tall case clock that is signed on the dial ‘John Esterle, New Holland’ (this particular clock’s movement is signed ‘J.E Bagnall.’) Some of his later clocks are known to have movements signed ‘Wm. Vale\Lichfield’. He entered into a partnership with the watchmaker William McConaghy in 1828.
An advertisement in the New Holland Anti-Masonic Herald on June 26, 1828 states, “John Esterle, Clockmaker, respectfully informs his friends and the public that he still continues to carry on the CLOCKMAKING Business at his old stand in the village of New Holland, where he has always on hand a handsome assortment of CLOCKS which he offers for sale at the following reduced prices, First Rate 8 Day Clocks with wild cherry cases, from $40 to $50; 30 hour Clocks without cases, $18.”
It is believed he retired to Hollidaysburg, PA sometime after 1835. The date of his death is unknown.
Solid walnut wood tall case clock featuring five carved finials and sunflower rosettes with a carved rosette on the center of the base – White dial has hand painted flower designs and is signed ‘John Esterle, Lebanon’ (circa 1805) - Above photos courtesy of the Lloyd family of Lebanon, PA.