Simplicity was everything in this early period, in terms of both clock and case, because it kept the price down to such as rural customers were willing to pay, and kept the height down to fit within the ceiling of the less grand homes the clock was aimed at.
Some oak clocks however were left with the wood almost a bright yellow colour in order that the dark brown mahogany crossbanding would contrast all the more - demonstrating again that the crossbanding was by now more for show. An eight-day clock in oak made about 1765 by John Scholfield of Barnsley, still in cottage style but with a much more sophisticated treatment of fluted pillars and swan-neck pediment. An eight-day clock in oak made about 1750 by John Watson of Kirkby Moorside, Yorkshire, with rolling moon.But so much had crossbanded decoration become the norm, that it is in fact unusual to find an oak clock after about 1770 without crossbanding.Generally speaking we would expect cheaper clocks to have cheaper cases, so that a simple thirty-hour clock would have a less grand case, even in oak, than an ordinary eight-day, and even more so than a costly eight-day such as one with a rolling moon. Put an expensive case onto a cheap clock and it priced itself out of the cheaper end of the market it aimed at.This type of case is often called today a 'cottage' clock or perhaps a 'farmhouse' clock, these being modern terms we have coined to describe that small, homely type of clock, with which we feel comfortable and which does not stand pompously looking down at us in the way a mahogany 'Chippendale' clock might.So oak cases, initially almost always of oak alone with no other woods added as trimming, began in an atmosphere of simplicity and many rural examples retained that simplicity of form and construction for about a century, until the brass dial faded from popularity in favour of the white dial about 1790. An eight-day clock of about 1750 in oak, made by the celebrated Thomas Ogden of Halifax, whose work was often housed in unusual cases.This oak case is crossbanded, most unusually, in oak and also has crossgrained oak veneer around the hood door. An eight-day clock of about 1770 by Thomas Hartley of Snaith, Yorkshire, being a clock with a rolling moon yet still having a simple cottage style of case with no crossbanding, the only decoration being dentil moulds to the hood. But not all oak clocks were restricted to this simple, early style.There were provincial customers who wanted oak but wanted a bit more of a flourish, perhaps greater stature, perhaps more showy cabinetworking skills, and the country casemaker could certainly accommodate such requests.A pine case, usually sold originally with a painted surface, cost about half the price of oak, at ten shillings (£0.50).Against these costs a London eight-day clock in its case of fine walnut veneers (very different in cost from solid walnut) might cost thirty pounds.At the exceptional end of the scale oak cases are occasionally found in 'Chippendale' style, with masses of crossbanding, blind fretwork, and all the showy embellishments we would usually associate with high-fashion mahogany cases.However, when we think of oak, we think essentially of simplicity of styling epitomised by the time-worn patina of a cottage clock.. An eight-day clock with rolling moon made about 1780 by Thomas Birchall of Nantwich, in an oak case of much more sophisticated type.