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Samuel Meily (also spelled Miley and Meyli) (1739-1802) was a known clockmaker who conducted business in the Market Square area of Lebanon (South 9th Street.) He married Amelia Catherine on April 26, 1763 in Lebanon, PA. Their son, Emanuel, also became a Lebanon County clockmaker. The Lebanon County tax list of 1759 lists him as a Freeman, and as owning 6 acres of land.
Samuel Meily made various styles of clocks including shelf and tall case (with brass and white dials and 30-hour and 8-day movements.)
An excellent example of an early (circa 1770) bracket clock with a small spring-driven brass and steel 30-hour movement and a once-on-the-hour strike and verge escapement built by Samuel Meily is in a private collection in Mechanicsburg, PA. The brass dial is signed with the initials ‘S.M.’ This particular clock displays exceptional Germanic cabinetry work, and has three turned finials and hood design almost identical to the Jacob Graf tall case clock that is housed in the Winterthur Museum.
A fine example of one of his white dial tall case clocks is in the possession of the Reynolds family of Fort Meyers, Florida. This tall case clock has been in their family for several generations and was originally purchased by a family member in the 1930s in Elmira, New York. This circa 1790 tall case clock is made of solid cherry wood and stands 96 inches tall. The tall case cabinetry work is typical of 18th century clock making with Germanic influences with the exception of the shield design on the front of the base (a regional design used on many Lebanon County tall clock cases). The hand painted white dial is signed ‘Samuel Miley, Lebanon’ and includes two birds and gold leafed spandrels. The clock has an 18th century brass English bell movement. The false plate is signed ‘Osborne of Birmingham’, which means the false plate and white dial are of English origin. (Most American tall case clocks with white dials prior to 1800 had English false plates and dials).
Samuel Meily died in Lebanon, PA on July 26, 1802.
Meily, Samuel (1739-1802) - (also spelled Miley and Meyli)
Solid Cherry tall case clock (96 inches tall) – featuring a swans neck pediment with three turned finials – white dial signed ‘Samuel Miley, Lebanon’ in an off-centered configuration - (circa 1790) - Photos courtesy of Jack Reynolds of Fort Meyers, Florida.
Information on a Miniature 30-Hour Bracket Clock (circa 1770) by Samuel Meily - from the book: ‘Pennsylvania Shelf and Bracket Clocks 1750-1850’ by Edward F. LaFond Jr. And J. Carter Harris: