Born: March 1892
Died: Aug. 21, 1990 (98 years old)
At the age of 71 years old master machinist Bill Newcomer started making clocks in the small basement of his home on Lincoln Ave., Waynesboro, Pa.
Bill made 103 numbered tall case clocks from 1963-1984.
These clocks were made to the customer’s orders. Bill actually made the entire clock movement including cutting the brass gears. Nothing in the movement was made by anyone else but Bill. All completed from raw stock material. These clocks are a work of art and all the movements keep precise time. The movements are all 8 day time and strike.
His son’s, Fred and Barr (both deceased) would sometimes help their father. Fred told me he would deliver many of the clocks to their new owners in his station wagon. Christmas of one year he said he delivered his own from his father’s home to his…..much to Fred’s surprise.
The clock cases were made of hardwood cherry, walnut and mahogany. Most of these cases were made by Tom Rickrode Sr. (deceased) of Chambersburg, Pa. Rickrode was a master cabinetmaker. His Chippendale ogee style foot clock cases featured a broken arch bonnet in the early 1800’s Chambersburg style. They had a distinctive long pediment and carved rosettes. The bonnet featured hand dovetailed joinery and a floating front panel in the bottom of the case. This kept the panel from cracking with the change in humidity.
Bill did sell some of his movement’s to other cabinetmakers who put the movement in their own style of tallcase clock.
All of Bill’s clock movements are numbered and signed with his name in the order of manufacture. The early clock movements are signed and numbered on the back of the movement. The early Newcomer clock’s came with a winding key that featured the name of the new owner stamped into the winding key shaft.
The dials were handpainted by Mrs. Gladys Martin, Greencastle, Pa. If you look close she signed her name on the dial. Mrs. Helen Hankins, Wheaton, Md. also painted some of the Newcomer clock dials. All of the dials feature the Newcomer – Waynesboro, Pa. name painted just below the center of the dial.
A lot of Newcomer clocks have migrated out of the Waynesboro area. Fred Newcomer used to keep a ledger and track the clocks and their new owners. That task became too difficult as the new owners simply did not report the change in ownership. These clocks are true heirlooms.
****I am interested in buying W. G. Newcomer clocks. Please call me if have a lead on one.