1830s NYC verge, Mott's / Pearl St.

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by jboger, May 9, 2020.

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  1. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    I was looking for a set of collets when I found this interesting pocket watch. Mott's was a major retailer of fancy goods in the earlier part of the 19th C. I see a Brooklyn watch paper in the case. I think there may be others.

    John B

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  2. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    John M: There is a letter D stamped on the underside of the cap.

    One thing of interest about the case, one can clearly tell that the case was assayed before the movement was fitted.
     
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  3. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    A Coventry movement and case by Vale & Rotherham, assayed Chester, 1845/6. Winding holes through hallmark punches aren't that unusual. This appears to be one of those examples of the complete, cased watch being exported to a dealer in the US.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  4. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    That late? I hadn't looked. Anchor . . .

    Just checked. Birmingham, 1830.
     
  5. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    John I agree Birmingham 1830

    {V·R} - Vale & Rotherham (not Rotheram - as is often quoted and used in Priestley). This mark, with this oval cartouche, registered a number of times in Birmingham 6/2/1822, 18/8/1824 and finally 7/7/1830. V&R working dates 1819-41.

    Lots of Motts in New York, I guess in 1830 most likely ...

    upload_2020-5-9_17-46-32.png

    {D} on the cap - is a known mark to me of that period on Coventry finished watches. Not assigned to a maker and as it is a single letter, unlikely to be 'inferred', unless records are found. Another problem is that unfinished movements, sometimes at the beginning of their manufacture, are found with tightly fitting caps - so this means the cap maker could be Lancastrian. Finally, caps with {D} are often found on movements with Massey III escapements.

    John
     
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  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John & John,

    Yes indeed, should have gone to Specsavers, of course it's Birmingham! Comes of trying to do too many things at once . . .

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  7. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    Thanks to both of you.

    Mott's is also known to coin and token collectors, as the firm issued a well-known token in the 1830s. The token had occasioned confusion for many years because it is dated 1789 and early collectors thought this was the date of minting. The eagle is a copy of the type found on US coins of the 1830s.

    What makes this a characteristically Coventry watch? Shape of balance cock?

    I will gently remove the watch papers later today and photograph them. They tend to be fragile and I don't like to handle them.

    John

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  8. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    And the watch papers. All from Brooklyn. I'd say the original owner was from Brooklyn and bought his watch across the East River. No bridge in those days. He had to take one of the many ferries.

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  9. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    For fun. The map dates from 1870; the watch 35-40 years earlier.

    1870 Map of Manhattan with John Marshall addresses.jpeg
     
  10. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    John

    My experience of trying to identify where an C19th English watch was made ... 5 year ago, when I started, it was a complete mystery, I had no idea. After 18 months or so, my confidence grew and I thought, Liverpool, Coventry, London no problem. Now, not completely back to where I started, but I am becoming far more cautious. For certain, you cannot rely on any one feature, and in many cases, even if you take all the characteristics of a watch into account, there is likely to be an element of doubt.

    In the case of this V&R watch, to the best of my knowledge they only made/sponsored cases for their own watches - someone may come along and prove me wrong. So in this instance I looked for any features that shouted out Liverpool or London finishing and I don't see any.

    Regarding the watch papers you have just posted, Cure is listed in the 1832 New York directory, but I was unable to find Campbell in the C19th directories I have access to.

    John
     
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  11. watchbob

    watchbob Registered User
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    Love the piece of the story that the papers tell about the watch's history - really happy the papers stayed in the watch all these years - to many being separated from watches - Are the papers dated or have notes on the back ?
    Bob
     
  12. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    Bob: only a bit of writing, such as the number 75 and a partial date for July. No names.

    I was looking at the map of Manhattan. One can enlarge it and see Castle Garden on the south end of Manhattan in The Battery, or what is now called Battery Park. Castle Garden still stands. It's a round fort originally called Fort Clinton if memory serves. Thanks to landfills over the years, Castle Garden is now on the island of Manhattan. But back in the 1830s and earlier, one had to walk over a causeway maybe 30 40 feet to get to Castle Garden because it was built on a small island in New York harbor.

    I mention this because years ago on eBay someone listed an 1830s English fusee that had been cased in New York in a very fine gold case. Engraved thereon was a picture of Castle Garden with the causeway. The seller misidentified the location. I contacted him and informed him that the engraving was of Castle Garden. He changed his listing. The watch sold. Several years later I think I saw it for sale in a UK auction, this time correctly identified. Having lived in New York, and having been to Battery Park and walked around the old fort many times, I found the watch interesting. I sometimes wonder where that watch is now.

    John
     
  13. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    #13 Les harland, May 10, 2020
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
    I can read the second watchpaper
    Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World lists:-
    Campbell Alexander Brooklyn USA c1840- 1850

    I had trouble with the first
    Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World lists:-
    Cure Louis (Lewis) Philadelphia 1811-19 then Brooklyn (USA) 1830s



     
  14. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Looks like Fulton St was just a couple of blocks north of Maiden Lane, so definitely in the jewelry/watch/clock area. I'm guessing the Fulton Ferry would have made the crossing convenient.
     
  15. Rich Newman

    Rich Newman Chair
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    John, I did a bit of research on this retailer and it would be good one to further investigate.
    Jordan Mott was listed in New York City in 1796 and in the clock & watchmaking partnership, Mitchell & Mott, located at 247 Pearl Street in 1797 – 1801. He was also listed alone in 1798 at 104 Gold Street and from 1802-03 at 39 Frankfort Street. He joined the cabinet maker Jacob Morrell in 1804 until Morrell's death in 1808. Then alone again until joined by his son, James Stryker Mott in 1831. In 1835, the firm was renamed to J & Jordan Mott, Jr. (Source: Angel Pietri). Assuming the bio information is correct, your watch (and the one I'm posting) was likely retailed by Jordan and son James sometime between 1831-35.

    Your watch is #643. Below also retailed by Motts #560. It has a Massey 3 escapement. Cased in a very nice 18K consular case that is marked on both covers "Mott's Manufacturers, Gold 18 Carrat" with an image of a winged eagle and serial number 560. Likely first owner inscribed on the case "G. Blair, Bridgewater, Oneida Co, NY." No idea who he was (any help appreciated). Wonderful gold dial. The letters located within the inner most ring took me a long time to read but spells out "Mott's New York".

    I bought this watch at the National Convention in 2017 in Arlington, Texas thanks to my friend Ken Rockwell who I was walking around the show with at the time and talked me into buying it. The plates were missing a couple of pins and slightly apart so no telling what problems were within. But otherwise, the watch was in very nice shape and I couldn't pass up the great American made case, and one of the nicest dials I've ever seen.

    Motts 1.jpg Motts 2.jpg Motts 3.jpg Motts 4.jpg Motts 5.jpg Motts 6.jpg Motts 7.jpg
     
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  16. Rich Newman

    Rich Newman Chair
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    Posting pictures of two watch papers from this family. Many great watchmakers were located on Pearl Street, close to the docks.

    Jordan Mott late of the firm of Mott & Morrell, Clock & Watchmaker, 247 Pearl Street, between Beekman and Burling Slips, New York. Warranted Clocks & Watches, Gold and Silver work on the lowest terms.

    James S. Mott, Son of Jordan Mott, Clock & Watch Maker, 266 Pearl Street, Corner of Fulton Str., New York. Imports Levers & English Watches Direct from the Liverpool & London Factories. Patent Lever's & English Watches, Jewelry & Silver Ware. The same guaranteed.

    James Mott.jpg Jordan Mott.jpg
     
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  17. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    #17 jboger, May 13, 2020
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
    Rich: Beautiful watch. Very interesting to see a pair. Our serial numbers are not too distant from each other. And low relative to many other watches. Perhaps these are Mott's numbers and refer to how many clocks and watches this retailer sold. Northern NY, is still farming country, and Bridgewater is just south of Utica. It is not heavily populated today, and less so back in the 1830s. I doubt G. Blair was a farmer, more likely a merchant. Such an ornate watch. We need access to the 1820 or 1830 NYS census. And/or a Utica city directory from the same period. This fellow is identifiable. He just needs to be outed.

    A bit later: On Find-a-Grave, I found a marker for Willard Gaylord Blair in Bridgewater. Died at the age of 6 mos in 1839, son of Gaylord Blair. There are other Blairs in Bridgewater.

    I will keep looking . . .
     
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  18. jboger

    jboger Registered User

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    Some further notes:

    Find-A-Grave has wrong information. That site has Maria's spouse as Willard Gaylord Blair. That's her son. She was married to Gaylord. She died in childbirth giving birth to Willard, who subsequently died about 4 months later.

    The correct information can be found on the website of the Oneida Historical Society:

    Blair, Maria, wife of Gaylord Blair & dau. of Levi & Nancy Bostwick, d. Sept. 14, 1838 ae. 22 yrs. 5 mos. 10 days
    Blair, Willard Gaylord, son of Gaylord & Maria Blair, d. Jan. 22, 1839 ae. 6 mos.

    We still don't know if this is the correct G. Blair whose name is engraved on Rich's watch. But it's a start.
     
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  19. Rich Newman

    Rich Newman Chair
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    Thanks John, it is a good start. Whether sold out of necessity, no descendants, or descendants that don't care, it still breaks my heart that a watch like this is no longer in the family and treasured as a family heirloom.
     
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