3.04 – Clockmaking in Great-Britain

Last Update: 08-09-2022 @ 07:32

Clockmaking in Great-Britain

This section is a work in progress. From time to time, I will enrich it to add more information. Stay tuned!

Famous English Clockmakers

George Graham portrait.
Portrait of George Graham by an unknown author
An Image in the Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
John Harrison portrait.
Portrait of John Harrison by Thomas King
from the London Science Museum
An Image in the Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

ARNOLD, John (1736-1799)

John Arnold is the inventor of the helical balance spring for chronometers (Patent No. 1113, Dec. 1775) and the chronometer detent escapement (Patent No. 1328, May 1782). He had a chronometer factory in Essex and was the primary producer of his era.

BAIN, Alexander (1811-1877)

Alexander Bain from Edinburg is credited with demonstrating several of his electric clocks at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. He also experimented on transmission, synchronizing two clocks, one in Edinburgh and the other in Glasgow. He invented the electro-chemical printing telegraph.

BARKER, William (?-1786)

William Barker’s most masterful work is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London: a very complex clock that rings shifts and hours on seven bells, in a mahogany case, nine feet high, gives amplitude and variation of the sun, the phases of the moon and high tides in Bristol, Hull, London and Dover, an equation of the weather indicator, a calendar and the signs of the Zodiac, etc.

BARLOW, Edward Booth (1639-1716)

Edward Booth Barlow, a catholic priest, born in Warrington in 1639, had a great talent for languages and technique. He was credited with improving the rack striking (c. 1672-1676), a mechanism that allowed repeated clock bells to ring at the hour, and a watch escapement patented in 1695. He has also written and published some treatises on meteorology and tides.

CLEMENT, William (1638-1704)

Some historians credited him with the invention of a recoil escapement because he made a clock that had it in 1671 for The King’s College in Cambridge (click Science Museum of London). He was the first to use a steel spring to hang a pendulum in 1670. In 1694, he became Master of the Clockmakers’ Company.

COLE, James Ferguson (1798-1880)

James Furguson Cole has often been compared to Breguet, who made clocks in the same style. He also manufactured different forms of escapements. He was credited with the first English carriage clock in 1823. In 1858 he was appointed vice-president of the British Horological Institute, a position he held until 1863, refusing a renewal following a disagreement over the management of the Institute.

COLE, Thomas (1800-1864)

Thomas Cole was born in 1800 in Nether Stowey, Somerset. Around 1813 he worked as an apprentice watchmaker in London on New Bond Street, then from 1821 to 1829 as a partner of his brother James Ferguson. After that, he worked for James McCabe around 1829-1830, then alone on Upper King Street around 1838, then Upper Vernon, from 1845 until he died in 1864.

CONGREVE, Sir William (1772-1828)

Sir William Congreve, son of a British general, lawyer, inventor, and artificer, developed a rocket that he improved over the years following its use in real battles (1807, 1817, 1821), which made him famous. He also had many inventions to his credit, especially in the military field, but not only because he was responsible for the perpetual motion machine, a color printing process (1821), a new form of the steam engine (1819), as well as a clock where the pendulum was replaced by balls rolling on an inclined plane, for which he obtained a patent in 1808.

CUMMING, Alexander (c. 1732-1814)

Alexander Cumming was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and made his apprenticeship with a watchmaker in his hometown. In the 1750s, he worked as an organ builder and a watchmaker in Inverary, Scotland. Then he moved to England, where he held a workshop on Bond Street in London. He developed several clocks, including a barometric clock for King George III and several others, including instruments that Captain Phipps used during his Arctic Circle trip. He wrote a clockmaking treatise, Elements of Clock and Watch Work Adapted to Practice, published in 1766. It is also interesting to know that he obtained a patent for a toilet flush in 1775 and that he introduced the S-shaped trap that allows water to be retained in the sewer pipe, thus preventing odors from rising.

DENISON. E. B. (1816-1905)

This lawyer was asked in 1851 to draw, in collaboration with the Royal Astronomer, a gigantic clock to be installed on the Parliament Tower at Westminster, then under construction.

DERHAM, William (1657-1735)

William Derham is a churchman and author of The Artificial Clockmaker.

EARNSHAW, Thomas (1749-1829)

Thomas Earnshaw is the inventor of the trigger escapement, widely used in marine clocks. He built several portable marine chronometers and a very accurate clock for the Armagh Observatory in North Ireland. The observatory also has the second clock of Earnshaw that works on sidereal rate and is used in conjunction with Edward Troughton’s Equatorial Telescope. Earnshaw published a treatise in 1808: Longitude, An Appeal to the Public.

ELLICOTT, John (1706-1772)

John Ellicott developed a compensated pendulum described in an article for the Royal Society of England. But his invention didn’t hold up next to Graham’s mercury pendulum.

FERGUSON, James (1710-1776)

Astronomer and mathematician of London, Ferguson was famous for having designed complicated clocks such as orreries, equations, and tidal.

FINNEY, Joseph (c. 1708-1772)

Joseph Finney was a great clockmaker; he made several floor clocks before 1760. In the following years, he developed two very complex musical astronomical clocks. He also produces quality barometers and pyrometers for King George III.

FRODSHAM, Charles (1810-1871)

Trained by his father, Charles Frodsham worked on chronometers at a very young age and produced two of them, which he submitted to competition; he received the 2nd Prize from the Admiralty in 1831. In 1837, he opened a shop in London and was very successful with his chronometers. He bought J. R. Arnold in 1843 and developed the company successfully. In 1849 he published On the laws of the Isochronism of Balance Spring. His business has survived to the present day.

FROMANTEEL, Ahasuerus I (1607-1692)

Ahasuerus Fromanteel I produced the first pendulum clocks after his son John studied the principle at The Hague in the Netherlands.

FROMANTEEL, Ahasuerus II (1640-1703)

Son of Fromanteel I, Ahasuerus II, is said to have married Anne Brown in London in 1672 and gone to Amsterdam with his brother John around 1680. He settled there. He announced himself as the “English clockmaker on the Dam.” He built stunning long-case clocks with bronze dials coated with velvet. (A. Smith, 1988)

FROMANTEEL, John (1638-c.1682)

John Fromanteel was one of the sons of Fromanteel I. He was born in London. He went to study clockmaking in The Hague, Netherlands, with Solomon Coster in 1657-1658, where he was introduced to Huygens pendulum clocks. Then he returned to London, where he built the first English pendulum clocks with his father. Around 1680 he returned to Amsterdam with his brother Ahasuerus II. He ended his days there around 1682.

GENT, Jean Thomas (c. 1840-?)

Jean Thomas Gent established an electrical engineering company in Leicester in 1872 and manufactured electrical light and bell systems compatible with a couple of master-receiver clocks. He developed a Pull-syn-etic system and produced a “waiting train” technology on many “Turret” clocks.

GRAHAM, George (1673-1751)

He improved the cylinder escapement that Tompion had patented. He invented the deadbeat escapement and the mercury pendulum.

GRIMTHORPE, Edmund Beckett Denison, Lord (1816-190)

Lawyer and clockmaker, he promoted the “Turret” clocks and developed the gravity escapement. He participated in developing the “Big Ben” of the Parliament Tower in London.

HARDY, William (?-?)

He invented a compensation balance and several variants.

HARRISON, John (1693-1776)

The English government commissioned John Harrison, James’ brother, to develop a chronometer to determine longitude with an accuracy of half a degree. His chronometer is at the Greenwich Observatory.

HARTNUP, John (?-?)

John Hartnup invented a compensated balance.

HEWITT, Thomas (1799-1867)

Thomas Hewitt, a chronometer manufacturer, developed offset balances.

HINDLEY, Henry (1701-1771)

He invented the machine to carve clock wheels and made clocks in York, England.

HOOKE, Robert (1635-1703)

He invented the spiral spring for watches around 1660 and later the anchor escapement for clocks.

HOPE-JONES, Frank (1867-1950)

He designed the synchronome electric clock, of which it manufactured multiple copies.

KENDALL, Larcum (1721-1795)

In 1771, he was asked to create a copy of Harrison’s chronometer, and in doing so, he improved it.

KULLBERG, Victor (Visby, Sweden, 1824-1890, London, England)

Victor Kullberg moved to London in 1851. He manufactured superior quality chronometers and watches. His chronometer No. 4066 received mention as the best chronometer rated by the Royal Astronomer.

LIGHTFOOT, Peter (14th c.)

Peter Lightfoot is a monk from the Glastonbury Abbey reputed to have built a famous astronomical clock for his abbey.

LISTER, Thomas (1745-1814)

He made complex eight-day floor clocks capable of giving the time, the date, holidays, lunar phases, etc.

MASSEY, Edward (1770-1852)

Edward Massey invented a “crank roller” lever escapement and a keyless winding mechanism for watches (Patent No. 3854, Nov. 1814).

MUDGE, Thomas (1715-1794)

Born in Exeter, Thomas Mudge apprenticed with the famous George Graham. Mudge is the inventor of the anchor escapement that he applied to pocket watches. But he seemed to lose interest in his invention, focusing his efforts on marine chronometers after examining Harrison’s No. 4 chronometer. He wanted to perfect it. He then moved to Plymouth, where he developed a constant-force escapement chronometer so complex that it did not justify the effort to make them in quantity. His lawyer son realized their exorbitant manufacturing costs when he wanted to have them produced at his father’s death.

MURDAY, Thomas John (?-?)

QUARE, Daniel (1647-1724)

RAMSAY, David (?-1653)

REID, Thomas (1750-1834)

Thomas Reid published A Treatise on Clock and Watchmaking.

RICHARD OF WALLINGFORD (1292-1336)

RITCHIE, James (?-?)

RUDD, R. J. (1844-1930)

A clockmaker from Croydon, Surrey, R. J. Rudd designed and built the first free pendulum clock. The pendulum swings for a whole minute without the control of the escapement. A secondary clock gives an impulse to the pendulum once every minute.

SCOTT, Herbert (1865-1943)

SHORTT, William Hamilton (1881-1971)

A railway engineer by profession, William Shortt worked for the London and South Western Railway from 1902. He met watchmaker Frank Hope-Jones in 1910, with whom he collaborated in developing a master clock from 1912 when he became a shareholder and director of the Synchronome Company. His experiments led him in 1920 to create a clock inspired by Rudd’s free pendulum, which Hope-jones favored. Every thirty seconds, a mechanism attached to a secondary clock unlocks the pulse to be given to the free pendulum, which is corrected by a synchronized pulse of the master clock containing the free pendulum. This so-called Shortt-synchronome clock is of great precision, so much so that many world observatories adopted it as the standard time until the appearance of quartz. He was honored by the British Horological Institute in 1931, the Franklin Institute in 1935, and the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1954, for which he served as Master in 1950.

SULLY, Henry (1680-1728 in France)

Henry Sully was the author of Artificial Rule of Time.

VULLIAMY FAMILY

WHEATSTONE, Charles (1802-1875)

WHITEHURST, John (1713-1788)

JOSEPH WILLIAMSON (?-1725)

He acted as a clockmaker from 1693 to 1725. He worked closely with Daniel Quare, and in 1719, he claimed to have built for Quare a 400-day clock. He specialized in long-case clocks, which give and strike the solar time. In a paper presented to the Royal Society, he pretended to have invented the equation mechanism because he said that he built all equation clocks in England at the time.


Major Clocks Manufacturers in Great-Britain

NOTE: in the following list, when the company’s name begins with “The,” it was put between parenthesis before the name and was classified according to the primary name. The alphabetical classification is always based on the family name. Each time a family is involved or a famous company with several iterations, these are attached to that name to be able to understand the evolution.

ADIE BROTHERS, L.T.D.

Birmingham (1929-1934): The company had in its catalog mainly watches, clocks and chronometers manufactured according to patents and trademarks registered in the United States.

ALCOTT HILL (?)

ALL BRITISH ESCAPEMENT CO. L.T.D. (A.B. E.C., L.T.D.)

The company was founded in London (1926-1931) and manufactured escapements for S. Smith and Son Ltd., a company that produced 100,000 clocks per year for automobiles that before purchased its escapements from abroad. In 1926, A.B. E.C., LTD. was created to produce the escapements for its automobile clocks in England.

(RICHARD) AMES

Holburne

ANDREW AND CO.

Ingersoll, Ltd purchased this importer of watches and clocks in 1964.

ANGLO-AMERICAN CLOCK CO.

The Anglo-American Clock Co. had a factory in Birmingham in the 1880s. From 1886 to 1888, it housed the British United Clock Company.

ANGLO-CELTIC (THE) WATCH CO., L.T.D.

(JOSEPH) ANTRAM (London, 1691-1723)

APPLETON & BIRCHALL – Henry Appleton 1862 -> W. E. CRIBB

(JOHN) ARNOLD & S.O.N. (?)

ASHFORD AND DAVIES, LTD. – Stratford East (1908-1910)

BARWISE AND SONS – Londres (1820)

(P. AND A.) BATEMAN – Londres (1800-1818)

BAUME & COMPANY (1844-1852) -> BAUME AND LEZARD (1852-1872) -> BAUME AND CO. Ltd. (1950-1964) -> TIME PRODUCT LTD

Pierre Joseph Célestin Baume (1819-1894), owner with his brother Louis Victor (?-1887) of Baume & Frères, Les Bois, Switzerland, a watches manufacturer, established a Swiss watch import company in London in 1844, Baume & Company, as an English agency for the Swiss Baume brothers. It also traded Swiss Longines watches, as the exclusive importers in Britain from 1876 to the mid-1960s, and Swiss and English chronometers. Celestin Baume came to London, eventually married an English woman, and became a British citizen. Joseph Lezard (1811-?), born in Europe, and also became a British subject, joined Baume as a partner in 1852. The company took the name Baume and Lezard. The partnership ended in 1872, but it was not until much later, in 1950, that it changed its name to Baume & Co Ltd. In 1876, Célestin’s nephew took over the company, which continued its activities until 1964 with other Baume of subsequent generations. Eventually, Time Products Ltd, which had acquired other English watch businesses, became the owner of Baume & Co. Ltd but ceased to use the name in the mid-1960s. Note: Baume & Co. and Baume and Mercier are two separate entities with no links at all. For more information on the history of Baume & Co., click on Vintage Watch Straps.

(GEORGE AND RICHARD) BEESLEY

Liverpool (1825-1861): manufacturers of watches and chronometers.

(J. W.) BENSON

Cornhill, London (1840-1998 – Chopard)

(THE) BENTIMA CO., L.T.D.

Bentima marketed Perivale clocks in London from 1937 to 1998. In 1970, his clocks had Hermle movements. Bentima was part of Walter S. Strauss Ltd.

(P. A.) BENTLY -> BENTLY ENGINEERING CO.

Percival A. Bently did his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer at Slater & Oakes, a manufacturer of electrical equipment, including telephones for railways. Slater & Oakes had a close relationship with the Smiths of Derby, then making railway clocks. It is where Bently develops his interest in clocks. Around 1900, he worked as a foreman at the Automatic Telephone Company (A.T.C.). He developed in 1902 an electric skeleton clock, for which he was awarded the Lord Derby Medal. He opened a watchmaker-jeweler shop in Burton-on-Trent and manufactured his first earth battery clocks. He obtained a first patent (No. 19,044) in 1910, describing his system for manufacturing electric clocks with earth batteries. Unknowingly, he reinvented Bain’s clock 70 years later, with the difference that he used wheels for the make-break system while Bain used metal plates. Beginning in 1912, he began manufacturing earthen battery clocks in his own company, the Bently Engineering Company, of which he remained chairman until about 1955. His clocks have been very successful around the world.

BIRCH & GAYDON LTD

London, 1760-1927

BIRKETT AND HALL

Strafford East (1908-1910)

(JOHN THOMAS) BLACKWOOD (1821-1860) -> BLACKWOOD AND SONS (1841-1847) -> WILLIAM – JOHN THOMAS BLACKWOOD (1847-1864 ) -> JOHN THOMAS BLACKWOOD (1864-?)

William Blackwood was born in Perth, Scotland. He established a workshop in North Shields in the early 1820s. Then his sons joined him, and the workshop took the name Blackwood and Sons around 1841. Around 1847, the sons took over the business under William and John Thomas Blackwood. Around 1850, they opened another business place in South Shields. Then William Jr. left the company, which became John Thomas Blackwood, around 1864.

BLOOM AND CO.

Leyton, England, 1908

BRAVINGTONS LTD

Colchester, Essex, and London – St. Albans, Hertfordshire (c. 1800): jewelry and watchmaking that no longer seems to be in business in the 2000s.

BRECKLAND CLOCKS OF ENGLAND

Breckland Clocks was Metamec’s export division from 1980 to December 1984. It was purchased in January 1985 by F.K.I. of Halifax, England.

BRITISH HOROLOGICAL INSTITUTE

BRITISH (THE) UNITED CLOCK CO. L.T.D. ( 1885-1909)

It is the oldest clock manufacturer in Great Britain.

BROCKBANKS (1781-1810) -> BROCKBANK AND GROVE (1810-1814) -> BROCKBANK & CO. (1815) -> BROCKBANK & ATKINS (1815-1840) -> BROCKBANK, ATKINS & SON (1840-1842) -> BROCKBANK & ATKINS (1842-1885) -> BROCKBANK, ATKINS & MOORE (1885-1898) -> BROCKBANK & ATKINS (1885-1933)

London –

CAMERER, ROPP AND CO. (1788-1799) -> CAMARER, LAWRENCE AND CO. (1799-1815) -> ANDREW CAMERER AND CO. -> CAMERER AND FULLER & CO. (1826-1844) -> CAMERER KUSS AND CO. (1844-1869) -> CAMERER KUSS, TRITSCHLER & CO. (1869-c. 1900) -> CAMERER CUSS AND CO. (c. 1900…)

Andrew Kamerer was an importer of German black forest clocks installed in London upon his arrival from Germany (he changed the K from his name to a C) in 1788. In 1799, the name changed to Camerer, Lawrence, and Co. In 1815, Kamerer’s son, Andrew, acted as Andrew Camerer and Co., etc.

CAMERON AND SON

Kilmarnock, Scotland

(HENRI) CAPT

Henri Daniel Capt was associated in Switzerland with Daniel Piguet. In 1837, Henri Capt and Adolphe Nicole opened a workshop in London. Later, in 1843, Jules Capt took over, and in 1844 he entrusted the company’s management to his son. The company also had stores in Paris in the mid-19th century (1850-1880) and London from 1880 to 1893. Around 1911, the company was sold to E. Gallopin and Co.

CARTIER LONDON

Cartier, a French company, opened a branch in London in 1902. In 1972, Jospeh Kanoui and other financiers acquired Cartier from London.

CATTANEO – C.O.

Leeds, 19th century

CHANCELLOR AND SONS

Dublin, Irlande.

CHOPARD GB L.T.D.

London

CITY CLOCK CO.

City Clock Co. was a London manufacturer of fusee-movement clocks and wooden veneer boxes.

(JAMES) CLARK

James Clark manufactured tower clocks in 1791 in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1804 he opened a workshop, completed his apprenticeship in 1808, and announced that he was making tower clocks that would be sold across Scotland the following year.

CLOCKMAKERS CO.

London, 1631-???

(B.) COLE AND SON

Planetarium factory in 1750.

COLIBRI LIGHTERS LTD

Colibri produced watches and clock parts in London from 1954 to 1964.

(BENJAMIN) COLLYER – London

COMETTI OF LONDON – Londres (1845)

(G. – F.) COPE AND COMPANY

Nottingham, England: Brothers Georges and Francis Cope took over Reuben Bosworth’s bell tower clock company from 1845 until 1899. William Cope owned it from 1899 until 1922. Then it will be William W. Cope and Richard and David Cope. The company was incorporated into the Smith of Derby Group in 1984

COPE AND MOLYNEUX

Robert Molyneux, a London expert in marine chronometers, joined Thomas Earnshaw’s chronometer expert Charles John Cope in 1820, who eventually developed his chronometers in 1823. The company also produced most of the sidereal clocks exported to America. In 1857, the company was sold to Henry Appleton of Appleton & Birchall, who sold it in 1862 to W. E. Cribb.

COURT AND CO.

Leytonstone (1910)

(C. H.) COX (c. 1816-?) -> C. H. COX AND SON (1864-1881)

Charles Humphrey Cox, a jeweler, created C. H. COX in Leamington from 1840 to 1860 and moved to Coventry from 1860 to 1864. His son joined Charles in 1864, and the company’s name changed to C. H. Cox and Son. It closed its doors in 1881.

CUMBRIA (THE) CLOCK CO.

Established in Cumbria in 1990, this company specialized in maintaining and restoring tower clocks of all kinds and movements. It also installed master clock systems connected to Rugby’s atomic clock via radio waves.

CUTHBERT AND BRERETON

Cuthbert and Brereton manufactured regulator clocks in 1868.

(E. J.) DENT (1826-1830) -> ARNOLD – DENT (1830-1840) -> EDWARD J. DENT (1840-1853) -> FREDERICK DENT (1853-1860) -> RICHARD EDWARD DENT (1853-1856) -> M. F. DENT (1856-1920) -> E. DENT AND CO. (1864-1897) -> E. DENT – CO. LTD (1897…)

In 1840, Edward John Dent (1790-1853) established his first company in London in 1826. In 1830, he joined forces with John Roger Arnold. After a 10-year partnership with Arnold, he opened a business independently. He was given the contract to make the clock for the Westminster Tower after Denison’s model; it had to be accurate within one minute per week. Edward died in 1853. His sons-in-law, Frederick William Dent, and Richard Edward, took over the business, but the name would have to remain the same. In 1856, Richard Edward died, and his wife took over the business as M. F. Dent, a company that would co-exist until 1920, when it merged with E. Dent & Co. Ltd. Frederick, the other son, died in 1860, and his mother, Elizabeth Dent (Rippon by his maiden name), continued the affair. In 1864, the company adopted the name E. Dent and Co. until the late 19th century and E. Dent & Co. Ltd from 1897 to the present day. (Source: Dent London).

(THOMAS) DOBBIE -> W. AND G. DOBBIE

Founded in Glasgow, Scotland, by watchmaker Thomas Dobbie of Falkirk, Scotland, the company manufactured watches and clocks from 1820 to 1860. On that date, the name was changed to W. and G. Dobbie and was in business at the beginning of the 20th century.

(WILLIAM AND WALTER) DRYSDALE

This Edinburgh, Scotland company manufactured long-case clocks and bracket clocks from 1786 to 1825.

(ALFRED) DUNHILL, L.T.D. – London (1943-1968)

DUTCH CLOCKWORKS (1984-?)

(W.) DUTTON AND SONS -> MATTHEW DUTTON AND SON -> DUTTON AND CO.

William Dutton of London was apprenticed to George Graham from 1738 to 1746 when he joined the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in London. Dutton became the partner of Thomas Mudge of London in the 1750s. In 1771 he bought Mudge’s company when Mudge moved to Plymouth. Together with his sons Matthew and Thomas, he created W. Dutton and Sons in 1775. Matthew Dutton apprenticed with his father and Thomas Mudge from 1771 to 1779. He joined the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1785, where he rose through the ranks to become its Master from 1800 until 1825. From 1794 to 1842, he worked with his brother Thomas in the London trade. From 1810 until 1822, Matthew teamed up with his son Matthew in Matthew Dutton and Son. Around 1868, the company became Dutton and Co. under the direction of Robert William Dutton, William’s great-grandson and Matthew’s grandson.

EIFFE, James Sweetman (1800-1880)

James Sweetman Eiffe is a London chronometer manufacturer concerned about errors caused by temperature variations. He has developed auxiliary clearing springs.

ELLIOTT OF LONDON

Croydon, 1882-1923

(F.W.) ELLIOTT

Britain, 1923…

ENGLISH CLOCK AND WATCH MANUFACTURERS LTD.

Coventry, 1930-1932, acquired by SMITHS.

ENFIELD CLOCK COMPANY (LONDON) LTD (1929-1933) -> SMITHS ENGLISH CLOCKS LTD (1933-1953)

Enfield was founded in London in 1929 by Carl Schatz, J. W. Roles, Charles Baxter Sr., and F. H. Chisholm. The idea was to create a company on the model of the German clock factories. Schatz already owned a clock factory in Germany, the Badische Uhrenfabrik in Guttenbach. He then imported machinery and personnel from Germany (ten men and four women) and parts to quickly initiate the production of the first clocks on the market in 1932. The company has also implemented automated manufacturing techniques on the American chain production model. The clocks produced were initially intended for wholesale and export. Enfield also sold movements to stores that put them in their cases or made elsewhere. The gongs were supplied by Wagner of Whitechapel and the dials by Beta Manufacturers. In 1932, Enfield made the bezels herself. It had acquired the equipment to chrome them. By 1933, the competition had become too strong, as Enfield could not compete with the prices of its German competitors. It then sold its name and Pretoria Road Edmonton factory to Smiths English Clocks Ltd in 1933. But production continued, as did sales under its name until 1953. They even marketed new lines of products, like the “Royal.” During the war, Enfield continued the production of clocks but had to participate mainly in the war effort, its German workers set aside. After the war, Smiths decided to move the production of movements at Cricklewood and Wales. Smiths had a new factory in Wales in 1949, where most of the Enfield strike clocks were made with Smiths-Enfield engraved on the movement backplate, and in 1953, the chime clocks. So the Edmonton factory was definitively closed, and the Wales one was considered the Enfield Factory. Nevertheless, Enfield lived its last days as a trademark.

ENGLISH CLOCK AND WATCH MANUFACTURERS LTD

Coventry, 1930-1932, acquired par Smiths English Clocks Ltd.

EUREKA CLOCK CO. Ltd (London, 1906-1914)

FKI

FKI (Halifax, West Yorkshire, 1920….)

METAMEC

Dereham, Norfolk, 1941-1984; sold to F.K.I. in 1985.

FRODSHAM

  • CHARLES FRODSHAM (1810-1871)
  • CHARLES FRODSHAM  (Londres, 1837-1843)
  • CHARLES FRODSHAM (Londres, bought J. R. Arnold – 1837-1871)
  • CHARLES FRODSHAM  & CO. (Londres, 1871…)

(JOSEPH) GALLIMORE (Salford?)

GENT & CO. L.T.D.

Jean Thomas Gent (c.1840-?) founded an electrical engineering company in Leicester in 1872. He manufactured electric light and bell systems compatible with the master-receiver clocks. He developed a system called “Pull-syn-etic” and a technology called “waiting train” in use on many “Turret” clocks.

GILLETT, William (?-?)

William Gillett opened a shop in London where Charles Bland joined him. Gillett and Bland made clocks for towers. In 1877, another partner was added, and the company became Gillett-Johnston. With the expansion, the latter began to make bells and supply whole chimes.

  • GILLETT & BLAND (Croydon, Surrey, 1844-1877)
  • GILLETT & JOHNSON LTD (1877-1950; 1965…)
  • GILLETT & JOHNSON LTD, DIV. OF PORTLAND GROUP (1950-1965)

GRIMSHAW, BAXTER AND J. ELLIOTT LTD

(JOHN) HARDWOOD, 1893-1964 (Bolton, Lancashire) WIKI

(GEORGE) HANSEN, late 18th c.

(JOHN) HARIMAN

Workington?

HOWELL

  • HOWELL-JAMES – CO. (London, 1819-1838)
  • HOWELL JAMES & CO. (London, 1838-1884)
  • HOWELL-JAMES LTD (London, 1884-1911)

(A.) JOHANNSEN AND COMPANY

London (1856-1937): Founded by the Danish Asmus Johannsen, this company, in the 1870s, manufactured and sold chronometers for the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy of England, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the Government of India. C. C. Lorenson, a Johannsen cousin, entered the company in 1862 and later became a partner. At Asmus’s death in 1920, Lorenson took over until he died in 1935, and L. H. C. Lorenson took over until the closedown in 1937.

(J. B.) JOYCE and Co. (1690-1965)

William Joyce and his brother founded a company in Shropshire, the J. B. Joyce and Co., in 1690, which competed with the Twaites-Read Co., the world’s oldest clock manufacturer. It manufactured high-quality “Turret Clocks.” It was sold to John Smith and Sons in 1965. It closed in 2012.

(SAMUEL) KEER BARKER

Framlingham, U.K., 1823-1864

(CHARLES) KLEYSER AND CO.

London (1849-1864).

KNIBB, Joseph (1640-1711)

He apprenticed with his cousin Samuel Knibb in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. He moved to Oxford in 1662, where he opened a workshop. There he experimented with separate cross-beat escapements applied to two different pendulums. After the death of his cousin, he moved to London in 1670. He was granted the freedom to practice as a watchmaker by the Clockmakers’ Company of London. He made all kinds of clocks. He would have been the first to use the tic-tac escapement.

LIBERTY of LONDON

London, UK, 1874-?

(R. B.) LOWNE -> LOWNE ELECTRIC CLOCK CO.

Robert Man Lowne (1840-1924) developed a device to make dust-resistant watches. He was interested in master electric clocks and set up a company, Lowne Electric Clock Co., to make them. He registered 24 patents in his lifetime.

(W. C.) MANN LTD -> ALEX MANN LTD

Gloucester (1835-2004) – William Mann was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1831 as a Freeman. In 1835, he took over the shop of his deceased Master. His son William Charles, a clockmaker, jeweler, and goldsmith, joined the company in 1874, which became W.C. Mann Ltd of Gloucester, a manufacturer of chronometers and watches. The latter will manufacture most of the watches and chronometers that bear the name of Mann. The shop will change location several times over the years. It was known as Alex Mann Ltd in 2004.

MAUD, Benjamin, London

London, c. 1780

MAUD, Edward

London, c. 1780

(THOMAS) MERCER & S.O.N. (1858…)

Founded in London by Thomas Mercer (1822-1900) in 1858, it manufactured marine chronometers and pocket chronometers. Thomas Mercer & Son is still in operation today.

(ALEXANDER) MITCHELL AND SON

Glasgow, Scotland (1764-1837)

NEWGATE CO.

Oswestry, Shropshire, 1991

PARKINSON & FRODSHAM (1801-1947)

PEARSON, PAGE & JEWSBURY

Birmingham, 20th c.entury.

PERIVALE CLOCK MANUFACTURING CO. L.T.D.

Greenford, Middx, 1934-?

(WILLIAM) POTTS

William Pots’ company from Leeds was sold to John Smith and Sons in 1937.

(JOHN) PRIOR

Nestfield,?

REASON MANUFACTURING CO.

(E. A.) RICHARD & CO. L.T.D.

(C. A.) RICHARD & CO. L.T.D.

London (1857-1903) division of the Parisian company.

RICHARD & TUCKER NUNN LTD (RTN)

(JAMES) RITCHIE & S.O.N.

Edinburgh, 1809…

(A.B.) SAVORY – SONS

The London firm manufactured a skeleton clock from 1815 to 1855.

SHELTON, John (1717-1777)

John Shelton was a former assistant to George Graham. He is known to have built at least five regulators for astronomical and gravitational experiments. Captain James Cook brought one with him during his expedition to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus in 1769.

SILENT ELECTRIC CLOCK CO.

London, 1912-1915

SMEATON (London)

(JOHN) SMITH (1856) -> JOHN SMITH & SONS, MIDLAND CLOCK WORKS, DERBY LTD. -> SMITH OF DERBY (1985-….)

John Smith (1813-1886) apprenticed as a watchmaker with John Whitehurst in 1827 and started his company in Derby in 1856. It became John Smith and Sons, Midland Clock Works, Derby Ltd. In 1866, John Smith installed his trade on Queen Street in Derby as John Smith, Watch & Clock Manufacturer, until 1998 when the firm moved to a larger manufacture on Alfreton Road, Derby. When John died in 1886, his two sons, Frank (1852-1913) and John (1907-1983), took over. Among other things, they built the clock at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1893. Frank died in 1913. When his son Alan was old enough to run the business, he took over from the employees who had been in charge of the interim. After Alan, his son Howard (1907-1983) took over, then Nicholas Smith (1935-…). During the 20th century, the company made acquisitions:

  • in 1933: WILLIAM POTTS & SONS, Leeds (1833-1933)
  • in 1967: J. B. JOYCE & CO. TURRET CLOCK MANUFACTURERS, Whitchurch, 1690-1967
  • in 1982: G. & F. COPE (1845-1982)
  • in 1985: B & H (Derby)

In 1985, John Smith and Sons and all the acquired companies became Smith of Derby Group. In 2012, Smith of Derby acquired James Ritchie & Son (1809-2012), chronometer, watch, and clockmakers – house, railway & turret clock manufacturers.

SMITHS

1) SMITH, Samuel (?-1875) -> S. SMITH & SON LTD. (1899-1944) S. SMITH & SON (MOTOR ACCESSORIES) LTD. (1914-1930) – ALL BRITISH ESCAPEMENTS CO. LTD (1928-1945)

In 1851, Samuel Smith (?-1875) opened a clockmaker shop in London on Newington Causeway, where he built clocks, watches, and precision instruments like barometers. He had such success because of his excellent services that he opened a second shop in 1871. His son, also a Samuel, succeeded his father in 1875 at 85 Strand, London. Samuel Jr. was also so popular that he opened three other shops in London, on 9 Strand, on Trafalgar Square, on 68 Picadilly. In 1899, the business became S. Smith & Son Ltd. Samuel’s son, Allan Gordon, had studied for two years at Bern’s watchmaker school in Switzerland. In 1903, he was the manager of the 9 Strand shop. He began to diversify the trade in the growing automotive instruments business. He developed the famous Smith odometer and the speedometer. In 1908, he sold 100 speedometers a week. In 1914, he decided to regroup the automobile instruments under another company, the S. Smith & Son (Motor Accessories) Ltd, the first company continuing the trade of watches, clocks, and jewels until about 1930, when the building was apparently sold to Bravingtons Jewellers of London. The Motor Accessories business grew with the construction of a factory at Cricklewood, the acquisition in 1919 of Trier & Martin, a small lighting manufacturer, and the participation in the shares of M. L. Magneto Syndicate Ltd. At the end of 1927, Smiths bought K.L.G. Sparking Plugs Ltd and 75% of Ed. Jaeger (London) Ltd (became British Jaeger Instruments Ltd in 1931), makers of clocks, speedometers, and other instruments for automobile and aviation. Smiths and Jaeger produced almost 100 000 car clocks each year. But they were importing for these the platform escapements. So Allan Gordon Smith decided in 1928 to create a platform escapement manufacturing company, the All British Escapements Co. Ltd. (ABEC), with the minority French and Swiss shareholders in British Jaeger. The production started in 1932. In 1930, Smith sold to Joseph Lucas Ltd his Lighting, Starting and Ignition Division and M. L. Magneto Syndicate Ltd. Smith and Lucas agreed to not compete in each other fields of interest.

2) SMITHS ENGLISH CLOCKS LTD, DIVISION OF S. SMITH & SONS (Motor Accessories) LTD (1931-1955) + SYNCHRONOUS ELECTRIC CLOCKS, DIV. OF SMITHS ENGLISH CLOCKS LTD (1932-1955)

In 1931, Smith saw an opportunity to enter domestic clocks manufacturing and created the Smiths English Clocks Ltd, Division of S. Smith & Sons (Motor Accessories) Ltd. So his first product to appear on the market was an electric clock with a synchronous movement under the brands Smith Electric (1931-1936), Smith Sectric (1937-1950), and Smiths Sectric (after 1950). He even created in 1932 a subsidiary company called Synchronous Electric Clocks Ltd. He also bought English Clock and Watch Manufacturers Ltd of Coventry that year, with two trademarks, Astral and Empire, that will be very useful to Smiths. In 1934, Smiths bought Enfield Clock Co. Enfield manufactured and sold clocks under his name and Smith-Enfield until about 1953. During Second World War, Smiths added many products to its lines due to the war effort demand, like instruments and clocks for aviation and marine.

3) S. SMITH & SONS LTD -> S. SMITH & SONS (ENGLAND) LTD: SMITHS MOTOR ACCESSORIES LTD, SMITHS INDUSTRIAL INSTRUMENTS LTD, SMITHS AIRCRAFT INSTRUMENTS LTD, SMITHS ENGLISH CLOCKS LTD

At the end of the war, it seems that Smiths had a taste for reorganization and renamed the main company S. Smith & Sons Ltd to Smith & Sons (England) Ltd, under which four divisions: Smiths Motor Accessories Ltd, Smiths Industrial Instruments Ltd, Smith Aircrafts Instruments Ltd, and Smiths English Clocks Ltd. Under Smiths English Clocks Ltd were several companies created or acquired by Smiths: All British Escapements Co Ltd, Enfield Clock Co. (London) Ltd, English Clock Systems Ltd, British Precision Springs Ltd, J.E.V. Winterbourne Ltd, Pullars Instruments Ltd, United Kingdom Clock Co. Ltd, Clock Components Ltd, and the associated Anglo-Celtic Watch Co. Ltd.

4) SMITHS ENGLISH CLOCKS LTD -> SMITHS CLOCKS AND WATCHES LTD (1955-1966) -> SMITHS INDUSTRIES LTD (1966-1977) -> SMITHS INDUSTRIES CLOCKS CO. (1977-1979) + SMITHS INDUSTRIES WATCH CO. (1977-1979) -> SMITH ENGLISH CLOCKS, DIV. OF SMITHS GROUP (2000…)

In the mid-1950s, Smiths English Clocks Ltd became Smith Clocks and Watches Ltd. In 1956, Smiths introduced a floating balance movement to the market, designed by the German Hettich and licensed to Smiths.

(WALTER) STRAUSS, L.T.D.

THE SYNCHRONOME SYNDICATE LTD

London, 1897-1899.

TOMPION, Thomas (1639-1713)

(D. E.) TRAVERS

London, ??

(AYNSWORTH) THWAITES -> AYNSWORTH & JOHN THWAITES -> JOHN THWAITES -> THWAITES & REED CLOCKMAKERS, LTD. –

It would be the oldest clock company in the world. Historians found drawings of Thwaites clocks that date back to 1610. The company was founded in 1735 in Clerkenwell, East Sussex, by Aynsworth Thwaites and established itself in London in 1740.
John Thwaites succeeded Aynsworth from 1780 to 1816. In 1816 John joined forces with George Jeremiah Reed, and it was there that she became known as Thwaites and Reed. John continued to manage it until 1842.
In 1856, Reed’s widow sold the company to the Buggins family, who controlled it for four generations until 1945. Subsequently, it was a talented horologist who assumed ownership, Simon Mackay (Lord Tanlaw), while Geoffrey Buggins continued to manage it daily during his transfer to the National Enterprise Board, which, after a failed reorganization in the early 1970s, sold it in 1978 to F. W. Elliott, Ltd., which retained its name while integrating it. However, she moved to Hastings to custom-manufacture high-quality domestic clocks while making small clocks at Clerkenwell. F. W Elliott and Twaites-Reed were sold to the Lee family in 1991, which continued to manufacture both tower and domestic clocks.

VULLIAMY

London

(THOMAS) WAGSTAFFE

London, 1756-1793

(ROBERT) WARD

London, 18th c.

(CHAS) WALLARD (1895-1927) -> (CHAS) WALLARD AND SON (1927-1970)

Charles Wallard opened a jewelry store in Southend-on-Sea in 1895. Charles’s son, Frederick John, became a partner in 1921, but the name did not become Chas. Waller and Son only in 1927. The firm closed in the early 1970s.

WESTCLOX SCOTLAND

This European branch of the American Westclox will produce more than 50 million clocks from 1948 to 1988, exported to more than 110 countries worldwide.

(H.) WILLIAMSON LTD (1871-1920) -> GRIMSHAW AND BAXTER (1920-1930) -> ENGLISH CLOCK AND WATCH MANUFACTURERS (1930-1932) -> SMITHS ENGLISH CLOCK (1932-1955)

A wholesaler and retailer founded by Henry Williamson in 1871, he acquired in 1895 the Charles Hutton Errington from Coventry in 1895, what remained of this English watch company, and the Swiss brand Buren from Suter & Co. in 1899. Williamson mainly manufactured pocket watches and a few wristwatches. The company supplied military-grade luminescent pocket watches to the British government at the beginning of the First World War, and so-called bridge watches to the Royal Navy. On January 29, 1924, the Buren trademark was registered with the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office. Astral and Empire were also trademarks used by the company in 1928.

JOSEPH WINDMILLS (c. 1640-1724)

Windwills, an eminent watchmaker of London in 1699, was elected the youngest Guardian of the Clockmakers’ Company and its Master in 1702. He made several lantern clocks, brackets, floor clocks, and pocket watches. His son Thomas was his apprentice and took over the company at his father’s death. He became Master of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1718. At his death in 1737, having no survivors, the company closed.

(ALFRED) WOOD AND SON – Ilford (1899-1902) -> ALFRED WOOD (1902-1908)

WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF CLOCKMAKERS

Created on 22 August 1631 to control the quality of clockmakers and clockmaking and watches and watchmakers in London. It did so until the 19th century, when its mission became more educational and promotional. It opened a Museum and a library in 1813. For more details, see the site of the Company.

(THOMAS) YOAKLEY

(MICHAEL) ZAHRINGER AND CO. -> AUGUSTINE ZAHRINGER AND CO. –

Manufactured clocks and watches in Birmingham from 1860 to 1878.


Sources: Loomes (2006), Kochmann (2007), Smith, A. (1996), Wikipedia.

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