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11 Willard Street
North Grafton MA 01536


The Willard House & Clock Museum is a historic place with festive roots, right in the heart of Massachusetts. Come visit us for a guided tour of our museum.

Fakes, Forgeries and Marriages: The Pitfalls of Collecting Willard’s Patent Timepiece

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Fakes, Forgeries and Marriages: The Pitfalls of Collecting Willard’s Patent Timepiece

  • Willard House and Clock Museum 11 Willard Street North Grafton, MA, 01536 United States (map)

An illustrated lecture by Robert C. Cheney, Director and Curator of the Willard House and Clock Museum

The Patent Timepiece or “Banjo Clock” has been in continual production since 1802 when Simon Willard received a patent for this newly designed wall timepiece. In fact, the banjo clock is probably the most faked American clock found today. Simon and Aaron Willard appear to be alive and well as the banjo clock continues to arrive in the marketplace with period-looking signatures, artificially-aged glasses, and mahogany cases with the finish still wet! Robert Cheney will open the faker’s handbook to show the tricks of the faker’s trade and how to determine the authentic from the fraudulent examples.


Robert C. Cheney is a third-generation clockmaker, dealer and consultant to over 35 museums. After a thirty-year career in private practice, he served for a decade as the Director of the Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments Department at Skinner Inc., Boston where he held two international specialty auctions a year and appeared regularly on Antiques Roadshow. Today he is Executive Director and Curator at the Willard House and Clock Museum, North Grafton, Massachusetts.