Word of the Week: Mora

A Swedish polychromed tall case clock, mid 19th century, the circular face enameled and marked "A.A.L. Mora", the center section lyriform and raised on a shaped and paneled base to bracket feet.

The Mora clock originated in the town of Mora, a small village in Sweden that is just on the southern edge of the Scandinavian Mountains. The clocks are a style of tall-case clock with an eight-day movement and often with a bombe midsection. (The cases share a great deal stylistically with French clocks of the period.) They were produced for roughly a century, from the late 1700s to the late 1800s, as part of a cottage industry in the town of Mora, where families worked together to manufacture and assemble them with each household assuming responsibility for a particular part. The families actually just made the clock movements this way, with buyers commissioning cases from locals on an individual basis, which explains the consistency among movements yet the diversity among cases. It is estimated that the citizens of Mora and the surrounding area made more than 50,000 movements, as many as 1,000 per year during the heyday of manufacturing, but the glut of inexpensive clocks from manufacturing centers in Germany as well as in America killed production of clocks in Mora before the close of the 19th century.

Krang Anders Andersson (1727 to 1799) is considered the first clockmaker in the region with a 1792 dated clock movement bearing his initials and many Mora clocks are marked with those initials – A.A.S. Mora.