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  1. #1
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Early Single Table Roller Escapements (By: Allan C. Purcell)

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    I love this thread, I have spent parts of the last two days reading through it. There´s humour, Drama, pathos, and I am waiting for the blood on the carpet. Just to keep you people awake take a look at the watch above The signature has I.Iohnsone Liverpool in capital letters. So what you might ask? The capital (I) in those days (Many will know) was used as a J. What we have here is J.Johnstone Liverpool. In Loomes 21st.Century page 427 "Johnstone James Liverpool (Lancs) 1789. Nothing else.He is the only Johnstone working in Liverpool at this date. The above watch is hallmarked for London 1835/36. So was James Johnstone stlll alive in 1835. I would say no. Why? The case is hallmarked in London, why not Chester, if you look at Slow-Fast scale there are no liverpool arrows, this would indicate a Coventry made watch. The balnce wheel though is the important piece, this type of balance wheel seems to turn up after the single table roller started to take over the field after the long run of the Massey escapement. So an estimate after 1825, though I feel later. Having said that the above has a Single Table Roller, but with a Massey Five Roller. Does this have anything to do with this thread? I think it does,in that it shows how the watch trade in the UK was moving.
    It would be nice to know what you think.
    Thank you for the fun,
    Allan.
    Last edited by MartyR; 08-06-2016 at 08:32 AM. Reason: Added link to thread from which this thread was split

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    I can see no reason why Allan's watch should not be precisely what it professes to be: a respectable and well-finished, albeit only seven-jewel, early lever movement largely typical of the Liverpool industry. The large regulator-scale and the domed cock-screw both look a little archaic for 1835, but it is always possible that the movement was not perfectly new when it was cased. The bimetallic balance, uncut and without adjustment screws, is a type found principally on movements made for export to North America. The Massey V escapement is uncommon. There is no connection with Joseph Johnson or his successors.

    For some thoughts on the significance or lack of significance of 'Coventry' features, see this recent thread: http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?1...r-another-myth

    Oliver Mundy.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    Quote Originally Posted by Allan C. Purcell View Post
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    The above watch is hallmarked for London 1835/36. So was James Johnstone stlll alive in 1835. I would say no. Why? The case is hallmarked in London, why not Chester, if you look at Slow-Fast scale there are no liverpool arrows, this would indicate a Coventry made watch.
    The hallmark date is for 1832/3, the casemaker is Thomas Greves of Clerkenwell, the mark registerered in 1829.

    There are many reasons why a Liverpool maker might use a London casemaker - quality, availabilty and cost are just some of those. I agree that the movement doesn't have the usual Liverpool characteristics, but none of those are absolutes. The regulator scale also lacks a Coventry star, so there is no reason to believe that it was made in Coventry any more than that it was made in Liverpool.

    My source acknowledgess the Loomes entry with a date of 1789, and also has a "sighting" of a watch by Johnstone, serial number 8655, hallmark dated to 1818. What is the serial number of your watch? It is also noted that Johnstone does not appear in the 1824 edition of the Liverpool Trade Directory.

    Allan, what do you mean by a "Massey Five Roller"? I'm intrigued.

  4. #4
    Registered User gmorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    Hi Martin,

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyR View Post
    ...Allan, what do you mean by a "Massey Five Roller"? I'm intrigued.
    A Massey type V as defined by Alan Treherne; a small roller table with the impulse jewel planted in it, and the safety roller just behind it.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  5. #5

    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: gmorse)

    Quote Originally Posted by gmorse View Post
    Hi Martin,

    A Massey type V as defined by Alan Treherne; a small roller table with the impulse jewel planted in it, and the safety roller just behind it.

    Regards,

    Graham
    Oh, I must have been misunderstanding what Allan was saying ... I thought he was differentiating between a "Massey 5 escapement" and a "Massey 5 roller"

    That makes the watch pretty rare, then

  6. #6
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: MartyR)

    First, thanks to Oliver,MartyR, and Graham. Its nice to know there is so much interest in these old watches. Llike a million others have tried to find out who made the first SINGLE TABLE ROLLER. Over the last thirty years or so I have managed to get hold of only six made before 1830, that are still in their oringinal cases. The remark by David Glasgow in his book "Watch and Clockmaking " 1885 " quote These difficulties brought about various modifications until the introduction, by another Liverpool man, of what is now called the table roller. You would think he could have given us the name, he was then on frendly terms with Robert Roskell Jr. Its here we come to names like Jos.Johnson, Roskell, Moncas, Blundell, the Hornby´s, or many others working in Liverpool before 1820. Its a dead end folks-Robert Kemp went down this road too, and he found for each Liverpool watch with a STR there was one from London. I too have found this to be true. From my thoughts on this I have come to the conclusion the STR was made by one man who had good contacts with both the Liverpool and London trade. Anthony G. Randall and Richard Good in their book "Watches" in the BM Vol.IV. say they think the STR was a further developement of the Massey escapement-I agree, and why not Massey himself-there are good reasions to believe this is possable. Massey was short of money c1820-22 and sold his watch patents to Roskell, it could be Massey could not afford to patent Massey six I will write more later, I have to go and pick blackberries with the wife-till later,

    Allan.

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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    The distinguished dealer and horologist David Penney attributes the single table roller escapement to the Hornbys, specialist escapement-makers of Liverpool (whom Allan has mentioned), with a date of 1819-20. However, there is a Parkinson & Frodsham watch, datable by its serial number to 1816, which shows almost all the features of the later 'English lever', differing only in that it has two rollers (impulse-pins) rather than one; an inscription on the cock suggests that there was some special innovation in this movement, and this can only have been the escapement. For details, see http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?1...movement/page2, especially the very last posting (a summary by MartyR of Graham's investigation).

    Somebody should draw up a timeline of the development of the detached-lever escapement from 1758, when Thomas Mudge built the first example, to its standardisation (side-lever in Britain and the U.S.A., straight-line 'anchor' in Switzerland) in the second half of the nineteenth century. I may have a go myself. Obviously it will need a thread of its own.

    Oliver Mundy.
    Last edited by Lychnobius; 08-05-2016 at 05:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User gmorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Lychnobius)

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Lychnobius View Post
    ... differing only in that it has two rollers (impulse-pins) rather than one; ...
    Before anyone asks; no, it wasn't a Savage!

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  9. #9
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: gmorse)

    It would appear I have hit a saw point, Oliver if you want to write a book on the Lever escapement I will support you till my last breath. You do know of course there have been some very good efforts Randall and Good just to start the list. Chamberlain, Gazely, Sabrier, Camerer Cuss, father and Son, Clutton and Daniels,Abler, Hans von Bertele. I will stop here a it would take a week to complete the list of those who have tried. I have read them all and on on the question of who made the STR, they skip over it, or don´t know, or they write from A to Z and not mention it. Remember Clutton and Daniels book "Watches" They too claimed Richard Hornby could have been the first to make the STR. The owners of that watch say its a Massey. I wrote to George Daniels about it and he agreed it could have been a Massey. (I still have his letter) I am always a bit dubious of claims for the STR before 1823. There were of course other attempts to make lever watches at this time, Samual Smith of Coventry 1818 there two in the BM.

    ( Going back a bit the number on the Johnstone watch for MartyR 9023 see pic one above-sorry marty at my age you forget things quick)

    I think I will now go away and photograph my STR´s before 1830 and you can have a look at them.

    One last point Oliver could I sujest the Lever Escapement 1800-1850.

    Thanks again to all,

    Till later,
    Allan.

  10. #10
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

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    Quick reply. No name watch London hallmark 1826. Number 1968. Take a look at the banking pin Rare styl. STR. Got to go.Do the rest tomorrow.
    Allan.

    Allan.

  11. #11
    Registered User gmorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    Hi Allan,

    I have seen some Savage escapements with this forked lever tail arrangement, and a few others with a hole in the lever tail banking on a single pin, (in fact I have one like the latter dated 1832 on the bench for an overhaul now). In these early stages of the evolution of the lever, it seems that all sorts of variations were tried, although this can't have been in order to avoid patent infringement, since although frequently marked as such, neither the single table nor the Savage were ever patented.

    Looking forward to some more interesting watches!

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  12. #12
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: gmorse)

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  13. #13
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    Hi Graham,
    I agree with all you said above. I think it went around by word of mouth, and like I said from someone you had good conections in both London and Liverpool.
    This one is by James Watson London 2954 Hallmarked London 1822/23. This is the earliest of the ones I have. I always look for these wide band watch cases,
    your never disapointed there is likely a cylinder, a Duplex, or a Lever, and if you are lucky a Savage two. The only Savage I have is a Barwise but the son c1832.
    Just to makle things even the next one is a cracker from Liverpool.

  14. #14
    Registered User Allan C. Purcell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

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    You will notice I like the case on this one. You get the feeling you just bought out of Ferrier´s shop. Ferrier was a jeweller and goldsmith, and must have ordered this watch from liverpool for a good customer. The customer was a Mr. Durry a Hull businessman involved in local politics. Another thing I look for in Liverpool watches the pie crust edge to the cock, always a sign of early Liverpool pieces. The case is by John Helsbey & Co. That says it all about cases. This watch though looks and feels like it was put away and forgotten foe 180 years. In June this year I was at the BM and Paul Buck gave us a talk on watches from first to 1880´s great fun,
    One thing he said made me think-he had a watch in his hands then snaped it shut, then said to us I think the maker heard that same sound. So when I snap this watch watch shut I think that too. (I live in Germany by the way, anf took a group of DGC members over for a week, we were lucky enough to be able to visit BIG BEN and stand in the bell tower as it struck 12. ) So all for today, will post more if you like tomorrow.

    Allan.

  15. #15
    Registered User gmorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Josh Johnson (By: Allan C. Purcell)

    Hi Allan,

    I do like that case! Is this an English lever or a Massey? Do you believe that seconds hand to be original? Have you looked under the dial for any frame maker's mark?

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

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