A Piece of History out of the E. Howard Factory when it closed

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by Jim DuBois, Dec 30, 2017.

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  1. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    This was in one of the tool cupboards from the E. Howard tower clock portion of the factory when it closed. I am not certain what a watchmaker has to do with tower clocks, but we are just reporting what was found.

    Anton Weiss, watchmaker, with Charles May, 386 Washington St., residence 18 Truro St. Boston. I have not successfully deciphered any of the handwriting on the card, but the card was proudly tacked up in the tool cupboard for a hundred + years I suspect. I know where the card and the cupboard have been since the factory closed down, so that covers nearly 60 years on its own....

    I have not found anymore information on Weiss or May in the usual places but I have not looked under every available rock either.

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  2. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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  3. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    That is some great sleuthing.... from your sourced paper, "Charles May and Son Company, which was located at 373 Washington St.", Boston, Mass., while his business with Anton Weiss was at 386 Washington St. Looks like when he and Weiss separated he moved across the street for a partnership with his son.
     
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  4. Eric Ryback

    Eric Ryback Registered User
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    Jim, I am curious where you obtained your information regarding the statement " E. Howard tower clock portion of the factory". One would assume that Howard assembled the tower clocks and street clocks from the factory located in Roxbury. I am currently researching if Howard was capable of casting all the iron parts for the Tower and Street Clocks at the Roxbury factory or did they contract with one of the numerous foundries to make the cast iron parts which were then assembled at there factory? If you have any in formation or can direct me to potential sources I would greatly appreciate.
     
  5. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #5 Jim DuBois, Jan 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
    Eric, I came across a large lot of NOS E. Howard tower clock parts a few years ago. Included in those parts were a number of patterns used in making the parts. Chuck Roeser now has those patterns. There were also a number of tools for stamping out smaller parts, as well as a large lot of indexing plates. The tooling went to Frank Del Greco with it intended for the NAWCC following a clean up and documentation by Frank. Most of the parts also went to Chuck. I can send you a series of photos of what I got of the original factory stuff. It came via Dana Blackwell to a Texas party many years ago, immediately following the final closure of the factory back in the 60's. Some of the Rose engines and so forth languished in a field for years but were ultimately saved. I have made a lot of this information available to the tower clock group, of which we are both members, but have not seen anything done with what I had or the information I still have.

    Don Bugh now owns the E Howard period photos that came out of this lot.

    So, as to your original question, I don't have a direct answer but since Howard had the patterns that would suggest to me they did some of their own castings. My experience with casting of parts the patterns usually stay with the foundry. Of course that is an assumption and opinion on my part in the case of Howard. More than happy to share with you photos and details of this lot of stuff if you want.

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  6. Eric Ryback

    Eric Ryback Registered User
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    Jim, I thank you for sharing this information and photos of the E.Howard patterns. I would agree with you regarding the foundries keeping the patterns. I do a lot of pattern making and casting working for street clocks with a local foundry and I store all patterns at the foundry, however, when I do not think I will be casting that pattern again I bring it home. I would think Howard would collect all there patterns if they new they were going out of business. If Howard did castings, it would probably have been for small parts and in a separate building away from the watch and clock making as heat and wood do not agree. When it involves casting the large 2 and 4 dial post clocks I cannot imagine Howard would have a foundry large enough but I do not have any proof they did not. With the significant overabundance of iron and brass foundries in the Boston and Roxbury area I would think Howard would use these foundries, instead of making the capital costs to build there own. Again, I have not found any evidence they did and am still researching this. If anyone has evidence either way I would greatly appreciate sharing. Thanks again Jim!
     
  7. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Eric,

    You make a convincing argument that many of the larger parts would require one extremely large facility and there were certainly many places casting iron bronze brass in the area. And I agree that casting of major parts would be better left to those with the facilities, the experience, and proper materials. The casting of parts is not a natural for a machine shop and factory I would think.
     
  8. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Jim,
    386 Washington St is right across the street from the Howard's Boston office throughout the 1890"s.
    Paul
     
  9. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Paul, thanks for that location. I had not even considered the Howard location.....across the street is both interesting and a bit informative. The history of Charles May is also interesting in that he was working with Anton Weiss at that location and it appears it was his business address, not Weiss. Thanks to the work of Dick C. in the above response we have the following and much more in the 2 links he provides....

    Headstone of Charles May, b. Siegfried Carl MAYER, December 1844 in Giessen, in the Hessen(Germany), emigrated to London, UK in March of 1853 with father Ferdinand MAY(ER), mother, Kettchen MAY(ER) nee LANDAUER and seven siblings. Then emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in May of 1865 at age twenty. Listed as a watchmaker in 1866 Boston city directory. Married Amelia J. LASTER in 1873. Father of Julia May, who married P.A. Otto VON HORN, William Harwood May, who married Harriet CAMPBELL, and Elinor Beatrice May, who married Frederick B. Jenkins. Founder of Charles May and Son Company, wholesale jewelry, at 373 Washington St., Boston. His brother, George May, was also a jeweler and dealer in precious stones in London, UK. Charles May was the grandson of Isaak Wilhelm MAYER, a Jewish musician in Mannheim, Germany, who became a trader and the great grandson of Abraham MAYER, a.k.a., known as Abraham KREBSIG, KREPZIG or KREBSINGER of Mannheim and Frankfurt, Germany. Before the Hessen the MAYER Family was in Krakow till ca. 1690.
     
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  10. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Note the following from the Jeweler's Circular link:

    Charles May & Son, watch materials,
    are arranging to move from their present
    quarters on Bromfield St, to the Marl-
    borough building, 403 Washington St.,
    where they have rented a room from the
    E. Howard Clock Co.

    Full text of "Jeweler’s Circular and Horological Review, 1901, Vol. 42 (Part 1)" 1901, Vol 42

    And from an earlier Jewelers Circular link:

    Charles May, 386 Washington St., has
    taken a lease of larger and more conve-
    nient quarters at 22 Bromfield St., to which
    he will remove about March 1. The rooms
    are on the second floor, and are the same
    that were occupied about 20 years ago by
    Harwood Eros., when Mr. May was an em-
    ploye of that house. He will add to his
    business in his new location by increasing
    his line of x\merican and high-grade Swiss
    watches, retaining his watch material trade
    as the principal feature, however, and will
    carry a stock of French traveling clocks.

    Full text of "Jeweler’s Circular and Horological Review, 1897, Vol. 34 (Part 1)" 1897, Vol 34
     
  11. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Boston Directories for 1892 and 1894 show Charles May, Watch Materials, Tools, etc. at 386 Washington St.

    Cannot find any mention of Anton Weiss
     
  12. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Boston DIrectory for 1887 shows Anton Weiss, Watchmaker, 143 Dartmouth rms.18 AND Charles May, Watch Materials, Tools, etc. 386 Washington St.
     
  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Business card at top of thread shows them both at the 386 Washington St. address. So, at whatever time the card was printed.....I appreciate all the digging Dick C. it gives us a bit more information of the time. And from what you have found it appears as if the link to Charles May and Anton Weiss is more one of geographics/shared address more than anything pertaining to tower clocks.....
     
  14. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Perhaps the cabinet in question was moved to the Howard location when Charles May rented a room in the facility?

    More history...and perhaps the end of the story...unless someone can find where Anton Weiss went....if it is important?

    All of these are from the Boston Directory with the year noted:

    1878 - Charles May, Watchmaker, 386 Washington - No Mention of Anton Weiss
    1879 - Charles May, Watchmaker, 386 Washington House Cedar Avenue, J.P. - No Mention of Anton Weiss

    1886 - Charles May, Watchmaker, 386 Washington - No Mention of Anton Weiss
    1887 - Charles May, Watch Materials, Tools, Etc. 386 Washington - Anton Weiss, Watchmaker 143 Dartmouth
    1888 - Charles May, Watch Materials, Tools, Etc. 386 Washington - No Mention of Anton Weiss
    1889 - Charles May, Watch Materials, Tools, Etc. 386 Washington - No Mention of Anton Weiss - The following Advertisement was on Page 1917 of the Directory:

    Charles May Boston Directory 1889.jpg
     
  15. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Since Charles May was originally a Mayer, and Joseph Mayer was a dealer of E Howard clocks as well as made his own street clocks very much like Howards, the family Mayer name has some interest to tower clock folks. I doubt there is any connection at all but just gives us something else to investigate? The cupboard, shown in the photos in the #5 reply is definitely for something other than a watchmaker or jeweler would need. I use it for clock sized lathe accessories.

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  16. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Thanks for sharing all of this information. I, too, wondered if there was a Mayer clock connection. Looking forward to hearing any additional findings!
     
  17. Eric Ryback

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    Jim and Pat,
    Paul Middents is the go to for anything Mayer related. He would know if there was any connection. Jim, how cool to use the same cupboard that was in the Howard factory!
     
  18. Eric Ryback

    Eric Ryback Registered User
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    Dick, this is a recently found and restored 1904 Boston office photo of the E Howard Clock Co. You will notice the office next store!

    Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 4.38.32 PM.png
     
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  19. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Nice find Eric. Great to see them side by side. It looks like Charles May was a player in the industry be it only jewelry but perhaps more...
     
  20. pmiddents

    pmiddents Registered User
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    Charles May (Mayer) b. 1844 Giessen, in the Hessen region. Joseph Mayer b. 1868 in the Rhineland region Nieder-Flörsheim, near the city of Worms. Geissen is about 70 km north of Frankfort and Joseph Mayer's birthplace an equal distance south of Frankfort. Joseph Mayer's father, Simon, was also a wine merchant . Joseph, the eldest of nine children, emigrated to the US at age 13. He arrived in Seattle in 1884. I think Joseph must have apprenticed either as a silversmith and/or watchmaker in Germany. Joseph and his family were practicing Jews, probably in the Reform tradition. He was an early member of Temple de Hirsch in Seattle. Mayer started doing business with Howard in 1905 and visited Boston on several occasions.
     
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  21. Richard May

    Richard May New Member

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    Hello,

    Thank you for the image of Charles May & Son company
    on 368 (?) Washington St., Boston, Mass. in 1904!
    I'm Charles May's great grandson, Richard May,
    and had never seen a photo of the location.

    Best regards, Richard May
     
  22. Richard May

    Richard May New Member

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    I've tried to upload a refurbished image of Charles May & Son. Don't know if it worked.

    Phojoe did the work.

    Richard May

    May Richard5bbb.jpg
     

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