Clocks, specialized luxury items in an era when the keeping of time was tied to the agricultural and then the industrial life of the community, typically required the work of several artisans: the mechanic who made the clockworks required for the clock to keep time; the cabinetmaker who crafted the case to house the clockworks; and the artist who painted the face.
The Willards were among the premier clockmakers in eighteenth and nineteenth century America and employed a host of specialized workers who collaborated on each timepiece. The family farm and clock business was located in Grafton, Massachusetts, where Simon and his brothers were born and learned the craft and business of clockmaking. Around 1780, Simon moved to Boston, where he set up a workshop and began to specialize in producing tall case - also called long case – clocks like the one in MAG’s collection. The accuracy and beauty of his clocks continue to attract collectors and connoisseurs.